• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 05
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Huddled in sheepskins,
I listen to the bruised silence
of the empty hillside.
In the fictitious light of dawn,
I see wraiths of armies,
swelling and retreating
like tides of the estuary,
scouring my land.

The sound of clashing swords
hangs upon memory like leaves
upon the trees above me.
We were myriad as pine needles,
now only I remain. I wait.
The lake is still now, no war canoes
to plough that grey tranquility.
How long? I wonder. How long?

My wound is deep but narrow,
I bleed but little. It is time.
A reluctant sun shoulders clouds
aside in fractured brilliance,
reveals the other-world beauty
of a frozen sky. Translucent portico;
a luminous carriageway of ice;
the gateway to Paradise,



I strain to hear approaching hooves;
imagine Odin’s handmaidens
lifting me across their horses,
wines of Valhalla to ease my pain.
Rooks cough in the treetops;
an incurious beetle crawls
across my legs. Winds grows cold.
I wait, impatient, for my Valkyrie.

The sky is closing. I am left behind.
I am not among the chosen.