Vanaheim: ‘ Magic & Wonder’ 2/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

5 Jan

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences


Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Vanaheim


Richard Biddle, Shirley Golden, Eleanor Perry

and Tom Murphy



by Richard Biddle


I’m Blackjack, the splintering demon
I’m Crumble-Crunch, the shattering spirit
I’m Master-Batterer, the god spike
I’m The Convincer

I’m Bludgeon, the thump engine
I’m Bear-Down, the clobber bomb
I’m Nightstick, the pulveriser
I’m The Divine Beater

I’m Conk-Buster, the thrash contraption
I’m Fragmentize, the king of knock
I’m Quarterstaff, the wallop machine
I’m The Creator-Of-Dust

I’m Lord Cudgel, the blunt
I’m Boomerang, the whomper
I’m Father Pummel, the bang shape
I’m The Almighty Contraption

I’m Billy Battle, the whack gadget
I’m Cosh, the form persuader
I’m Finish-The-Job, the power pestle
I’m The Appliance-Of-Pain

I’m Hickory Wallop, the trouncing baton
I’m Break-Up, the holy apparatus
I’m Crush, the truncheon of defeat
I’m The Deity Mace

I’m Smash Being, the hammerer of all
I’m Gizmo Hit, the machine of strike
I’m Pounding Device, the fashioner of atoms
I’m The Demigod of Battering-Rams

I’m Tap-Tap-Tap, the all-knowing utensil
I’m Murder Mallet, the totem of kill
I’m Head Swatter, the staff of non-compliance
I’m The Absolute Club

I’m Drive-It-Home, the homicidal implementing machine
I’m Whatchamacallit, the idol of heavy
I’m Prime Mover, the omnipotent weapon of means
I’m Total Annihilation

*Mjölnir is usually interpreted as meaning “That which smashes”, derived from the verb mölva “To smash” (cognate with English meal, mill); comparable derivations from the same root meaning “hammer” are Slavic molot and Latin malleus (whence English mallet).

An alternative suggestion compares the name to Russian молния (molniya) and the Welsh word mellt, both words are taken as meaning “lightning”. This second theory would make Mjölnir the weapon of the storm god identified with lightning, as in the lightning-bolt or vajra in other Indo-European mythologies.[4]

In the Old Norse texts, Mjölnir is identified as hamarr “a hammer”, a word that in Old Norse and some modern Norwegian dialects can mean “hammer” as well as “stone, rock, cliff”, ultimately derived from an Indo-European word for “stone, stone tool”, h₂éḱmō; as such it is cognate with Sanskrit aśman, meaning “stone, rock, stone tool; hammer” as well as “thunderbolt”.[5]

Mjøl in modern Norwegian (nynorsk) literally means “flour” or “powder”, so “Mjølner” (Norwegian spelling) can mean “Pulverizer” or “Grinder”.




The Music-Speak of Kvasir

by Shirley Golden


Born of Aesir and Vanir’s mouth-juices and truces, I am fashioned into this bone-cage, but no clothes quite fit. I’m sought far and wide, and I close my eyes and bear all burdens. I ponder predicaments, but only ever suggest and guide. For who am I to command another the best track to tread?

 The dwarfs invite me to their feast, and I accept in good faith. I sit at their tables of hammered gold. They mutter and lead me away from the merriment. They stab at my chest and heart; they collect three flagons of battle-sweat. They seal snug my mind-insight and take care not to brag of their prize. They stir in honey and make mead, creamy with music-speak, and they are so pleased with their hidden hoard. But such covetous pleasure is only ever short lived.

Now the giant, Suttung, keeps me, and his daughter, Gunnod, guards me. But she is seduced by Odin, and surrenders her secret stash. The wish-giver draws me into his food-cavern. And we take to the skies, soaring as an eagle over the mountains, and on to Asgard. Odin dives behind the stone-shield, but in his haste, a piece of me is expelled. He distributes my remains into assembled crocks.

The gods, aware of the spillage, deem it unworthy of retrieval: ‘the bad poets’ portion’ has no place in their realm. They discount the droplets as easily as a sprig of mistletoe, newly unfurled. They do not fret over the fate of the waste; for who would be foolish enough to use only the ill-conceived, unconsidered parts? But I yearn to draw the leakage back to my liquid heart.

It spreads, and stains, drips and trickles, flows and floods. With each age, it slops unchecked as ink spilled over page, print and screen. It streams into the lungs of new technologies where it is read, absorbed, given questionable gravitas. It seeps into the ether as dashed out titbits of text, words freely uploaded, dregs and haste; speak best not saved. The parts best served for poets’ growth. The parts best kept on the other side of the wall.





slick theory

by Eleanor Perry


wolfhusks mock the pines the
scaly parts ] scrape out their
grit and jewel ] and bleached
thread is all that the mineral
will sing tricks for ] still the
quotas of star and stone are
only known in metrics ] or in

they calculate the skin ] more
wolves and axes ] needles: this,
the latest speculation in reeling
particles ] til song or something
shudders from the pile ] to print
the value of each question ] oh
but there was so much heart

in the margins ] clay blue shells
worn and crashed like rubble
] in a lottery of constellation ]
wow, just look at how the carbon
scares ] plucked shimmering
from the balance sheet ] the
rockery ] to still the heart ] but
then, the heart is awkward.


MP3 to come



by Tom Murphy


inside the fence
as I hang
I remember I am my own little ghost

there is the wound
stitched up for now

there is the flagstone
beneath which lies molten rock
thick and limitless and orange

then there is the small empty thing
formless and light
and when certain words are spoken
I cough it up
but it leaves behind its emptiness
and the emptiness is a tiny speck of infinite burden
containing time and all the feelings of lost
as a reminder





You can read the overview of Vanaheim here , and see some Asgard poems here


Find out more about Richard, Shirley, Eleanor and Tom:

Richard Biddle

Shirley Golden

Eleanor Perry

Tom Murphy


As always, thank you for your interest.


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