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
Lenka Monk, James Knight and Joanna Lee
In the name of…
by Lenka Monk
(Inspired by the story of Freyja and Thorgerda)
In the hour of need, every second stretches like a steel spring.
Do the years flash by?
Or is it simple moment of repentance.
Does anyone really listen?
Absolution would taste so sweet.
Does it give you strength?
Does it fill you with hope?
Does the courage shine through one last time?
Do you upturn the alter to stop the requiem?
Or is it an offering of a blackened heart on the cold marble.
Whose name touches your lips?
Breathe it in; bathe in the way it sounds.
And it’s not just any name, it’s so much more.
It’s an antidote for poison.
It’s water caressing your dry lips.
It’s the scent of home deep within your lungs.
It’s an ecstasy tingling on your skin.
It touches forgotten places, revives senses,
And as blinded as you once were, you are no more.
For there’s no room for the transient madness,
When with each uttered syllable of the name,
The shade brightens.
The unexplained power that brought you north of that edge.
What once was in the haze has cleared.
Oh the view, the view is breathtaking.
Clarity, renewed, reshaped, reassembled,
Strums chords with sleight of hand.
And it resonates loudly in the name of your saviour.
*Freyja is a goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death.
*Thorgerda, is a woman who threatens to commit suicide in the Egils Saga.
by James Knight
Welcome to my pied-a-terre,
Careful where you sit;
Yesterday one of my guests
Mistook my cats for cushions
And nearly sat on them,
The silly bugger.
Glass of Scotch?
Mine’s a white wine and soda;
It goes further.
It’s deathly cold in here,
Don’t you think?
Bloody storage heaters
Are worse than useless.
I could weep,
I really could.
Do you like the photos on my mantelpiece?
That one’s Eric and that one’s Steven and that one’s John.
All dead now, of course.
So are Keith, Clive and Chris.
They died heroes’ deaths,
Every one of them.
When I look at them
I know they’re in a better place.
I keep Ben in this locket,
So he’s always near my heart.
Death isn’t sad, you know.
No worse than going for your flu jab.
Drink up, dear.
You look as if you need it.
You might die tomorrow,
So you might as well enjoy today.
That’s what Ben used to say.
After he lost his arm I had to drive him around everywhere,
He called my little Ford a chariot.
We used to laugh!
By the way,
A man wrote me,
My Monty Python falsetto.
Men can’t do women
Though they’d like to think they can.
Just look at The Waste Land:
That was written by a man
(If that’s the right word for a bookworm in specs)
And is full of unconvincing female voices.
I’m so cold I’m shivering, look!
Seeking Odhrærir at the corner coffeeshop
by Joanna Lee
a dragon sits in the sun, baking mythologies between his toenails.
eagle feathers drift on his nostril-ed breath.
he does not belong here among the cloud stria in almost-white,
the sky filled with the promise of emptiness, the wet-wool heavy.
behind the bar, Gunnlöð is humming to herself
with a song on the radio she hasn’t heard in years.
honey trickles over her dry lip, cracks on winter-sunned concrete.
hickory leaves flit dead across lanes of traffic.
some days it just won’t come,
no matter the spit and the blood.
i think i hear your name in the background,
and i almost turn. tendril-ed smoke
like tears down a dawn cheek that day
you woke wordless in darkness and left
curls along the floorboards just
enough to keep the pipes from freezing.
Gunnlöð looks up, wonders if she, too, could fly.
*Odhraerir/Óðrerir,refers either to one of the vessels that contains the mead of poetry
Find out more about Lenka, James and Joanna:
As always, thank you for your interest.