Helheim: ‘Death & Hollows’ 1/2 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

30 Apr

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The Nine Realms

9 months, 23 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 Helheim (The Realm through which men must pass to reach Nifelheim)


Nat Hall, Shirley Golden and Jim C. Mackintosh


The Sandglass

by Nat Hall


Don’t mistake time for gravity

Each sand grain slides
between two
you toss
when you feel
lost, the one Nanna
drowned in her
bridge of sand and
shells, the one
that never
driftwood –
the one shipbuilders
curse like hell, as
fingers erase
one too
aware of sunsets
swallowed by a wolf
known as Sköll.

At either end,
dead man fingers…

Now let fate
toss sand grains & glass,
Hel dreams of
ellipsis to Ragnarök.

© Nat Hall 2015



Strata and Strata of Faults Through Time

by Shirley Golden


The mud slows his progress. But he moves; his feet and arms rake the sludge. Around him explosions, bullets like hailstones, hammer from the sky.

Annie, safe at home with their boy, Victor, he hopes. Fourteen, an only son – late, unexpected blessing. When Victor talked of signing up, he forbade it. Victor called him an old man for that, said the king needed fit, young fighters. Those were his parting words.

He surveys the ground, strewn with half-submerged bodies. Explosions flare, illuminating the dark and signalling that their raid has been discovered. Blood of the fallen, thick in his nostrils taints the back of his throat.

He can see worm paths moulded by those who’d managed to slip in before him. The damp seeps through his coat and he’s never felt so cold. He finds the edge of the trench and checks it is safe to descend. He grips his trench knife and wades towards the boom of battle.

One of the fallen men stirs as if raised from the dead. The soldier charges him in a maelstrom of screams and bullets and panic, until a ring of silence suggests spent ammunition. He scans frantically, feeling for blood, expecting pain to rip through his chest. By some miracle he’s bullet-free. He snarls and thrusts the knife towards the enemy. It sinks past cloth and flesh. He stabs once, twice, three times. The soldier’s weight falls heavy on him, and they collapse in a misshapen embrace.

He catches a boy in his arms; perhaps no older than Victor. The boy struggles to speak, blood in his windpipe, and gargles out one word: “Väter.”

He shoves the body off and staggers forward. His own heartbeat aches in his ears. He thinks this winter of war will never end.

It’s cold all the time; the sun, ingested by vaporous jaws. The earth shudders. He’d seen trees tremble, their branches split and plummet. Men, covered in sores, and who shouldn’t be breathing, somehow clawed their way back from no man’s land and begged to be shot. They are all of them evil. Shooting and stabbing. And killing. Fathers and sons.

He drops to his knees. This place is a netherworld, bodies rotting beneath strata and strata of faults through time.

But beyond we see a future field, shrouding the nameless dead. And running free, a boy weaves through countless graves; he is blood and bones a part of the remains. Decay nurtured seeds, emerged from black soil, where flowers bloom from mud in ribbons of red and gold.



another one passes north

by Jim Mackintosh


interminable arteries /
…………bruising night hours

pumping ground /
…………..with molten choke

thunderous blows /
…………on galloping flights


[blood] [oxygen] [concrete]
[diesel] [tarmac] [death]

bones shake from the penetration
the hymn of the dark riders passing

……………………………..another one passes north

here am I, a sleepless soul
vulnerable to the consequence
of hours locked by the night

tell me how, tell me why /

among the distrustful hours
where cruel masks of light scar
the bulwarks of my existence

……………………………..another one passes north

weighed down with plunder
drenched in the urgent pound
of broken roads, brittle lives
the malignant sludge of profit

………………………………another one passes north

tell me where, tell me when /

beyond the demolish of sun
when we run out of days
when the dark riders stop
what then?

………………………..another one passes north

burning sulphur in the gallop
in the interminable hours
flattening the arteries
mile by mile
until /

……………………………north has died in the night




Find out more about Nat, Shirley and Jim here:

Nat Hall



Shirley Golden



Jim C. Mackintosh





As always, thank you for your interest.


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One Response to “Helheim: ‘Death & Hollows’ 1/2 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing”

  1. nordicblackbird April 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on nordicblackbird and commented:
    Hot from the somber Viking realm…

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