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Blood Songs

Wyndreth Berginsdottir            

in progress

One: Autobiography
© 7/16/2009 k.l. kahan

In my heart have I woven
wet red weeds, warped and wefted
of gut and gore; skull-strung
bone-beamed; war-weighted with
fey foemen’s fixed fates

Gnashing teeth, I gnawed
splintered shield-edge;
beat with bright blade
my bare bloody breast.

Wailed I woe-songs;
waiting while warlords
weeping wound-dew
wavered, went with
swan-clad sword-maids.

Watched I wave-steeds
wend the whale-way
burning bright as Baldr.
Each einherjar ascending
this woman witnessed.

With my heart have I named
you, Northmen, my bold brothers;
you smiling swains, ruthless and red
as my own blood.

Two: Soliloquy
© 2009-11-19 k.l. kahan

“I remember the stories. I remember the songs. I remember our time, Son of Odin, Sea-wolf, Battle-tree. I remember the full moon on the ice and the snow unbroken on the land and how the coldest wind from the north drove men mad with its wailing in the dark.”

“I remember the sweet burn of the mead and the great hall fires and the skalds singing; I remember the creak of the strakes bending to the waves and the songs of the rigging under full sail and a fast wind.”

“I remember the feuds and the blood and the sea’s salt and the cry of the wolf and the weeping of widows and the raven‘s exultation. I remember the eagle banners and the war drums and how the smoke from the war-fires darkened the skies like nightfall at midday, and the sweet song of steel on bone.”

“I remember. I remember. Northman, you are not alone.”

Three: For Norway
(Utøya 7/22/2011)
© 7/22/2011 k.l. kahan

My blood
says I am still
your bastard daughter
across the century
separating the steps
my grandmothers made
from your shores
to this great grassland;
illicit sister to siblings
whose names
I do not know--
your sovereign sons
and daughters dear,
still and scattered,
their fair hair,
whose hue I share,
rough and running red.

brothers, blood
sisters, these
pale hands
rise and reach,
hating the space
between us.
But this heart,
heavy with exile,
falls a moment still,
knowing no
sleek-hulled ship
sails swiftly
to bring us

Four: Floodgate, Fieldstone
(My thanks to Heri Joensen for letting me use his title.)
© 2/14/2014 k.l. kahan

O my dear ones
dreaming of death.
My bold blood-brothers
bearing handfuls of harm,
burning bright with
brave deeds; wear like
war-weeds this
red friend, Fury,
close to your skin.

Be the bloodtide
battering bleak beaches
bare, the war-wave
no floodgate
can constrain,
casting bones like
runes, read and red.
Heap the helm-hosts
high, piled deep
as fieldstones,
picked clean,
left and forgotten
by better men.

This is who you are.

Five: Song of the Spear
© 2013 k.l. kahan

flying fatemaker
winged wyrd-worker
harsh harridan
fierce fey-maker
long right arm
flensing finger

Sing with me
In my hands
We make fate

Thread cutter
Hel’s handmaid
hail-hard and hungry
greedy gashing gull
long-tailed warhawk
gleaming eagle
hunting hearts

Sing with me
In my hands
We make fate

ruthless redhead
fair foe-feller
breast breacher
bane of bones

Sing with me
Sing with me
In my hands
We make fate

2013 klk

Six: Hymn For the Thundergod
© 6/28/2014 k.l. kahan

Thor Odinsson,
this night sky
belongs to you.

Your storm roars
across Ymir's dark
dead vault, shaking
all I stand on.

Its harsh brash
brightness burns
across the sky.

I avert my eyes,
made modest
by the sound
of your voice,
but never subtle.

So shove me
to my knees
with your wild
wind, whip
me with my own
soaked hair, until
I am wet with you

Wash it off,
this stink of captivity;
the perfumed stench
of madness,
decay; the dirt
of graves and
the pyre's ashes
bound to my skin.

Wash it off.

Wash it off until
I am clean of
I have ever been
against my will.

Make me
how I hold
nothing in
my hands.
How I hold
nothing in my
hands, but you.

Make me again
who I was
who I am
wet beneath
your weight
your torrid skies
swollen with
powerful portents
and skalded by
striking death.

Make me remember
raising my voice
above wailing
wind and thunder
to cry out
your name.
How I was
not afraid of
my hottest blood,
how it beat,
in my veins.

Or strike
down my
defiant heart
still howling
curses beneath
my breast.
It does not
know how to
be silent
and lie down,
our eyes open
to the sky,
full of rain
and light.

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