When the Tall Man Speaks
At errantry in Faerie, up from the mortal coast,
I spent the night at Bifrost's foot, in sight of Heimdahl's post.
I met a one-eyed traveler who told me an odd tale,
And the words he spoke that morning set my face against the gale.
Oh, there's glory in the offing when the Ravenlord says, "Go!",
But the chance you'll come safe home again is heartbreakingly low.
From Niffleheim to Midgard I have wandered on my quest,
With but small hope of succeeding, and precious little rest,
For you really can't malinger when the Stormbringer says, "Now!";
Though you shirk and dodge and waffle, you'll be going anyhow.
I've fought trolls and dealt with dragons, vanquished giants on my way;
Lost too many stout companions to the hazards of the fray;
Yes, there's bound to be a slaughter when the Gallows Lord says, "Here!"
And the surest way of dying is to hold your life too dear.
Ah, well... When the game is over, whether I have won or lost,
I'm sure of my safe passage home; I've long since paid that cost:
A redhead on a winged horse will pull me on behind;
We'll take the long way coming home, and nobody will mind.
Yes, you're bound for a big finish when the All Father says, "You!"
But as Hero, or as Villain? That, my friend, is up to you.
I had the first couplet of this one for a while, and had no idea where it was going. I also had no real handle on Lughnasdh. Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that Lugnasdh was on the opposite side of the wheel from Imbolc, and since one of my fraternities had stolen the show for Imbolc, it was time to give something to the other, so I needed a warrior poem. It fell together quickly at that point.
This poem was the point where I pretty much had to admit I really was a pagan, and in fact felt Odin looking over my shoulder as I was writing. He had put in quiet appearances in both "Year's End" and "Equinox", but he took this one over. I am rather tickled by the fact that he is referred to five times in this poem, plus the title, and yet the name "Odin" doesn't come up.