Search results for 'Nidavellir Poems'

Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 4/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

18 Mar

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 musicians, 1 Viking boat : a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Kate Garrett,  Mina Polen, Ross Beattie and Lydia Allison

 

Fenrir

by Kate Garrett

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give me your hand
he said,
jaws dripping with doubt
eyes sidelong
as they held out the bonds
no heavier than silk strands
 
and I knew my hand
was a small offering
as they wrapped him in chains
made of lost thoughts
made of movement and breath
made of the unseen
 
and all of these slipped
past his eyes, sidelong
and his jaws clenched
and my wrist ripped apart
and I knew this was a small gift
to the beast wrapped in chains.

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Fenrir

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Little they know

by Mina Polen 

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Petrol or spark
light or lime
…………little they know

sunshine and stone
magic and knowledge
…………little they know

work work work
………….little they know

hiding in the darkness
…………little they know

coming going knowing
………….little they know

creating binding transforming
………….little they know

now you see it, now you don’t
………….little they know

about all they know
………….little they know.

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What life is this?

by Ross Beattie

To become what I am I had to chew dead flesh from cold bone.
Only then was I strong enough to deserve a reason.
Below the ground I live my life in the dark.
Craving only the gold that is hidden beneath the surface.
This realm is mine but what life is this ?

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MP3 to come

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the dwarf

by Lydia Allison

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he’s the best
to ask. so much
more than people
think. imir knew him.

made an axe.
blade sharper than
people made. cut who made it.
Sliced space.
they made mistakes.
It shined like night
the lunar glow
none of them had seen.
they fell in love.

lightening cracked the lovely weapon’s face.
tarnished white shine. the dwarf obsessed.

hating the flashing of candles
heat of flames. he waited months
felt time swell.

climbed. saw dusty light.
creaked the last steps
cracks on hands glinting
silver. still and
sun-saturated as the moon.

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 You can read the overview of Nidavellir hereand read some Jotunheim poems here

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Find out more about Kate, Mina, Ross and Lydia:

Kate Garrett

kategarrettwrites.co.uk

https://twitter.com/kate_garrett

Mina Polen

lulu.com/shop/mina-pole…

https://twitter.com/minapolen

Ross Beattie

ackpoemblues.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

Lydia Allison 

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

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Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 3/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

11 Mar

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 musicians, 1 Viking boat : a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Eleanor Perry,  Lenka Monk and James Knight

 

4.
paste nuptial

by Eleanor Perry

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in bird circles, empty is called miracle |
buttonholes are swallowed in the form
of letters | shiver gneiss, black fatted
in the vein | both moon and human | but
this is where you wrap your bright bones
in seaweed | and grieve upwards from
the huckles | gathered in a silt of listless

elegy | where austerity is called vessel |
and the glum dead are not bored of their
telephones |but what tender spokes do
not grow bleach-soft under muck and error,
remembering their habit of upright cups |
each giant corpse is an instant body of water

and it’s not important that we drink tizer
chasers| or that the sun is called shard
in these lipscuffed, dainty wastes of time;
in the barren pulse of teeth | weather is
always the best exit, assuming you have
come loose, or are strung out over the
fallen drift worrying about your own call
habits.

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Bottled 

by Lenka Monk

(Inspired by story of Dvalin, his brothers and Freyja)

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The first sip a fleeting glance.
And the thirst grows with every look, every taste.
Unyielding temptations inviting, invading.
Screaming, tearing, and gnawing the insides.

No one is immune under the influence.
The sips so quickly become gulps.
And there it is! The grinning luring want.
It seduces, yearns the possession of something
Just out of reach.

Yet, so tantalisingly close.
Already nestled around the heart.
Whatever happened to boundaries?
There are none.
In that moment they dissolved in the bottle of greed.

So drink it all without a backwards glance,
Until only emptiness stares back.
The glass shatters, spills out and floods.
Drains the senses,
Burns through layers of dignity.

Shame stained dawn crawls into hiding.
Although the want is purring, satisfied for a while.
It binds its time, till its next venture,
leaving the broken pieces embedded more deeply than before.

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The Dwarfs

by James Knight

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Larval coils In wet earth Awaiting spring
Time’s tectonic pulse
The mourners wore bird masks And cackled as the coffin was lowered
A troubling thought A gleam In the darkness
Best not to think about it
Hahaha yes I suppose you’re right they do look a bit like maggots especially that one haha it’s a funny old world isn’t it
Croaking Crow King Dancing in your blood

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MP3 to come

 

 You can read the overview of Nidavellir hereand read some Jotunheim poems here

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Find out more about Eleanor, Lenka and James:

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

Lenka Monk

Contact ArtiPeeps. 

James Knight

thebirdking.com

 https://twitter.com/badbadpoet

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As always, thank you for your interest.

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Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 2/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

4 Mar

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 musicians, 1 Viking boat : a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Tom Murphy, Shirley Golden and Jim C. Mackintosh

 

Part 4

Niðavellir

by Tom Murphy

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the times when it’s darkest
bear the most precious things
they shine
wrought from stones
and jewels
and rarer minerals
each design unique
each with qualities, refined

guard them
don’t let them fade
reflect on them often
in case they’re forgot

 

MP3 to come

 

The Smile of Gold and Dust

by Shirley Golden

 

The first ray hits and he comprehends. It scatters the rich expressions that intoxicated and clouded his judgment. His skin, tightens, blackens and starts to flake like ash. Pain screams through skin and vein but Alvis can’t help smile at his opponent, even as his limbs crumble to dust. Cheshire-cat-like, it is the smile that remains when all else has collapsed.

It’s difficult to see what this clever, gold minor could find so amusing at such a moment. You’d need to be as wise as a dwarf, or as all-knowing as a god. Or possess a time machine and travel back to hear the words Alvis crowed as he strutted into Thor’s hall and demanded the hand of his daughter.

‘…there’s nothing I do not know…’ Perhaps it was that. Or, ‘…I don’t mean to hang around here any longer than I have to.’ But that must have stung a tad. Could such a remark really be the source of his amusement?

How did Thor start each question? Ah, yes, that was it: ‘Tell me, Alvis! You’re the dwarf who knows everything about our fates and fortunes…’

Turns out he couldn’t guess at his own.

It’d be easy to suppose that Thor delayed Alvis with his strength or even with a trick. But Alvis understands exactly why he stayed and time passed without his knowing. He can feel the rhythms and the pauses, heartbeat and breath. He can sense the rise and fall of meanings, pulsing through his veins like a rush of blood to the head. And there’s the beauty of piecing it all together, and how it bound him, tighter than Fenrir’s binding. And how he was compelled to reply and sustain the narrative that spun its potent mix of lyrical knowledge. Because Thor, with all his command, could not have held him captive until the sun broke through the dripping hall.

So, yes, he smiles because the god of thunder will boast of this victory for aeons to come. But Alvis knows it was not a god’s might that undone him.

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The Mock of Alvis

by Jim C. Mackintosh

What sort of man are you? Your pallor
Of death’s disregard, your slumbered
Bend lifted from the mortal slab of Gods.

You creep from the depths below
The growing one’s burdened weight.

Your shoulders soaked under
The vaulted ceiling of the dripping hall.

You dare to follow the shiner
To seek my unbound promise.

You shun Dvalin’s Deluder,
Its nibbled edge at your grubby heels.

You seek the folded comfort of the concealing helmet
To stand before Thor with the trickery of your wisdom.

Your fear, I sense, pushed on stormer’s edge
Whipped by Mjollnir’s Thunder will set you.

You dare to stir the essence of day
With your vain plans of matrimony.

You defy the endless depths of oceans
To drown me with your words.

You will suffer the lick of the hurrier
Catching your eyes, boiling your brains.

You betray the kinship of the dream goddess
To uncork your bottled, hopeless greed.

You should quaff your mead slowly, All-Wise
The last amber beads picked out in the sun.

You will crack and groan and stiffen.
I will laugh and mock and listen –

As your pale bones gather moss,
Your wisdom spent.
The sea of words will score
its drag marks
across you forever.

All the fates of men
Know this to be true.

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This poem is based on the Lay of Alvis in which the dwarf Alvis (All-Wise) engages with Thor in a wisdom contest to claim what he feels is his right, the hand of Thor’s daughter, Thrud in marriage. This is my interpretation of Thor’s response at the end of the fated challenge.

Thor is deliberately mocking Alvis by using the Dwarf phrases that Alvis would know –

The Growing One is Earth
The Dripping Hall is Sky
The Hastener is the Moon
Dvalin’s Deluder* is the Sun
The Concealing Helmet are the Clouds
The Stormer is the Wind
The Deep Ocean* is the Sea
The Hurrier is Fire
The Dream Goddess is Night
The Mead is Ale, Beer

*Dvalin was a dwarf who suffered the same fate overtaking Alvis.
*also referred to as Lagasta

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 You can read the overview of Nidavellir hereand read some Vanaheim poems here

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Find out more about Tom, Shirley and Jim:

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

Jim C. Mackintosh

bigbaffy.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

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Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 1/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

26 Feb

nine realms8

19 poets, 22 Artists, 3 musicians and a Viking Boat

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 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 Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Joanna Lee, John Mansell, Nat Hall

 

the secret and impalpable things of the world

by Joanna Lee

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strength has no purchase here,
in the dark places
where ribbons of the secret
and impalpable things of the world
are forged from stony,
sunless wrists
to catch a moon-
snatcher

by the heart, the chain.

he would slay the best of them,
she said, so slaver-
dripped fingers fish
for breath of cat moving,
the noise of mountain roots.
even a god will lose a hand
to feed a wolf
and bind him.

 

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Fenrir

 

 

Nidavellir

by John Mansell

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Sombre snarled in nascent clutch
the maggot-born unbound
from mire of decaying Ymir.

In sunless dwelling of slate hue wrath
Sindri’s bloodline wrought in nanistic voracity
the skilled gems and emblems of gods.

Moon-wane fields that emptied to the shuddering north.
The clout of smiths in melanic retreat,
to swirl to solid mist the aureate seal of their fame.

In red-gold sanctum magic Hreidmar wrecked in wealth
the family bonds to scream in shame his daughter’s names
as sanguine blade slept through his flesh.

Three chains that snapped, one in death,
unbridled Fafnir, serpent spawn slithered the morose realm.
His rancid pause of poison like lava.

And Regin fearful shied to shameless oblivion.
It is a dire place this home of dwarves,
this land of shade and patricide.

There had been valour here, the lofty battle flags unwrapped.
Their unfurling now a memory
of dust chastened in the quietening mines.

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Sindri

Hreidmar

Fafnir

Regin

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The Open One

by Nat Hall

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They wanted to tame prophecies,

the fen-dweller,
son of Loki,
fanged
beyond fears,
moon howler
Inside a troll’s skin;
feared by most gods,
shackled by silk
dwarves 
once
fashioned in
dark dwellings –
ribbon
woven
out of mere six impossibles:
a faint sound of feline footfall,
a woman’s beard,
a mountain’s roots,
a bear’s sinews,
breath of a fish 
and
bird’s spittle…

They say
Gleipnir, the open one,
will resist him.

© Nat Hall 2015

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Gleipnir

 

 You can read the overview of Jotunheim hereand read some Vanaheim poems here

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Find out more about Joanna, John and Nat:

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com

 https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

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Nifelheim: ‘Spaces and Pain 4/4’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

16 Apr

nine realms8

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 Nifelheim (The Realm of the Dead

Featuring:

Karin Heyer and John Mansell

Choices

by Karin Heyer

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In the mists of time,
Hel, goddess of the dead
was the moon that
drew good or evil
across the water.
Her gigantic power
should not fall to abuse,
for that was Hel’s hell.

She ruled over men
on this sea of wagons
with fierce piercing eyes.
She could protect or destroy
the apple-tree of strife
under the miraculous moon’s hall,
so that the brutal blood-snake
would strike
not in thoughtless revenge.

She was master of
the dream-assembly for
the sick and old,
could prevent the slaughter-dew from flowing
over the ruthless river-fire
in the lone battle of life.

 

The translations of the kennings:

Sea of Wagons = earth; Apple-tree of strife = warrior; Moon’s hall = sky; Blood-snake = sword; Dream-assembly = sleep; Slaughter-dew = blood; River-fire = gold

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Nifelheim

by John Mansell

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The night stifles with moon and star-fall.
The skald saunters through the throng.
Arms aloft like antlers he shuffles words
on his rhythmic tongue,
full of soot and cinders, to fall upon
the eager warriors gathered in stately enclave.
The night ignited by the sparks of his recital,
spreading the gloaming like bleeding flame.

“We are such as gather before the camp fires of lore.
We are those who thrust to that glorious death.
Yet betwixt and between there are those
who crave infirmity and age.
Look and you will glance their shifting eyes
behind the slatted windows of hovels,
fearful and stripped of dignity.
No feasting halls for them.
Nothing but sullen Nifelheim awaits.
The mist-home.
The clutch of ice and cold upon ancient flesh.
The dread of the Rime Giants or the Children of the Mist.
We are such as will never see those spectres.

“And lo I tell you, Nifelheim is older than the first star.
It was created before earth, and at its centre Hvergelmir,
the Roaring Kettle, from which nine rivers flow.
That hoary land where Odin sent
defiling Loki’s grotesque child Hel.
That cruel daughter;
half sable as night, half as you in stippled wipe of fire.
And there with those whose usefulness has diminished
go the evil doers, the molesters of dream.
Helgrind, the Gates of Hell, ne’er more apt,
that edifice entrance; that hall called Eljudnir.
She strewed the minds of ambling man.
Her dish was that of Hunger.
Her knife the famine before her table.
Her slave a slender wraith call Lazy
and Slothful her serving wench in harlot stance.
We are such as will not fall to her peril.

“We are such as will not see before the quivering sun,
as it shudders beneath the end of the earth,
the sail of her ship of death afloat from its mooring
in that place that traps and spits her name as if both are one.
We are such whose eyes will not stoop beneath
the lowest horizon before that Mistress of Death.
That Mistress of the pusillanimous hand.
Not lest you be as brave Hermod
whose ride to her foreboding hall entreats all glory.
To release sad Balder from its mortifying hold.
None must weep she said
to show that he was truly loved.
None at all she said.
How harsh her condition as that sole giantess
with eyes of granite frowned and found no tear.
We are such as Hermod.
We are such as defy the impossible.
No Nifelhein for us.
No falsifier of Death to retch our glories.
For we will find the perfect deaths to attend our only Master.”

The fires had burnt low.
The moon had travelled along the sky.
The gathered warriors gripped in thought the silent blades.
And the skald with no hint of farewell
departs as if he had never been.

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Hvergelmir

Hermod

Balder

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You can read the overview of Nifelheim  here , and see some Nidavellir poems here

.

Find out more about Karin and John here:

Karin Heyer

Contact ArtiPeeps

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

Nifelheim: ‘Spaces and Pain 3/4’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

9 Apr

nine realms8

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 Nifelheim (The Realm of the Dead

Featuring:

Ross Beattie and  Nat Hall

 .

Send Me to Hel

by Ross Beattie

,

Become for me what you became for that world.
My sister is also a serpent.
You protect the gates of your name and I need not pass you as my only wish is to die beside you.
Many gods cannot bear how you look, eyes turn in disgust, fear creeps through the hearts of greater men than I. But I’m entranced by your beauty, your one half rotting and other already dead, it’s exactly the same as mine, but only eyes that see past surfaces can tell this when they see me.
Can you see me ?
I have to imagine you from what I read, but it’s not enough, I can wait no longer.
I beg to gods that I’m forever unlikely to believe in “Send me to Hel”
And then I catch a glimpse of my hopeless self and laugh into the mist covered morning.

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“Misty”

by Nat Hall

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Feel ice claws in the northern
plains.

Out of dark North,
out of blue-tainted icicles,
out of the antlers of the stag,

where the living comes out & back,
where dragon gnaws at the ash tree,

Níðhöggr
protects Hvergelmir;

out of her womb,
mother of eleven
rivers,

Svöl,
Gunnthrá,
Fjörm,
Sylgr, Ylgr,
Slídr & Hríd,
Fimbulthul, Vid, Leiptr & Gjöll –

Élivágar turned ice to
life;

Frost Giants,
children of the mist…

The go-between
fire & ice.
L’antichambre même de la vie.

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© Nat Hall 2015

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MP3 to come

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You can read the overview of Nifelheim  here , and see some Nidavellir poems here

.

Find out more about Ross and Nat here:

Ross Beattie

blackpoemblues.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

 https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

Nifelheim: ‘Spaces and Pain 2/4’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

1 Apr

nine realms8

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 Nifelheim (The Realm of the Dead)

Featuring:

Joanna Lee, Mina Polen

and Shirley Golden

 .

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If all things should weep

by Joanna Lee

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even through the thickest ice, redemption
may bubble. don’t call it the realm of the dead.

say instead: that cauldron from which every man
springs, and will again return.

pull up fistfuls of last year’s leaf-
mould; wade the bitter waters;

sift the cold from the thaw.
this is not another poem

about what to feed your dragon.
serpent-sister, i no longer fear judgment,

have seen the green from your high walls.
atonement is made from yeast-drops

and pomegranate seeds, shimmers,
effervesces. remember

the life-beneath-frost, your  nascent
breakings, the roots planted in winter.

remember the strength in those you have loved,
the gentle rain lost to the mists.

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Don’t follow me

by Mina Polen

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Somehow I feel
that you mustn’t come
it is so cold over here
my feet are freezing
the snow is falling

my love
please, don’t follow me

somehow I feel
that I might be lost
the rivers are frozen
I am having nightmares
I don’t know what is this

my love
please, don’t follow me

somehow I feel
that this place is poisoned
the land stinks of cadaver
I feel threatened
I feel lonely I feel lost

my love
please, don’t follow me

somehow I feel
there is no end
the mist is overwhelming
I feel guilt and regret
this is all too much to bare

my love

please

don’t follow me.

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Cutting Out the Bad

by Shirley Golden

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They say we are sick and insist on a cure. I was hauled in when they updated legislation on crimes against beauty. For some, it’s ageing without correction or overindulging that secured them a stretch in here. Not acceptable, they say. Control it. Cover it. And if you can’t, we will. Our stay, as they call it, need not end in disaster. Consent screens flicker night and day, expecting the press of inmates’ fingerprints to smudge the surface of LCDs. And we will assent, they say, everyone caves in the end.

It’s worse than sub-zero winter, the cold bleeds into every bone and fibre. And the air is still, so still. We barely find the energy to speak or chew although she feeds us well enough. It’s a legal requirement. Some say the food is laced with drugs; others that they pump sedatives in through the vents. It explains our sluggishness and the fog which infects like gas climbing from corpses. The bad breath stench clings to the bed hangings. She calls us her children and says there are worse places, and it feels like a threat.

She’s black and white, precise, suit smart, exact. Guarding the right of her domain, she’s indifferent to protests. She acts with authority absolute. But under that veneer lurks a half-dead creature. For how could anything with a heart be immune to our pleas?

I’m allowed a mirror; it is encouraged. They say I must face my reflection, it’ll convince me to conceal the rough edges beneath a membrane, plump cheeks, smooth over corrugated flesh. It’s an old, old scar that started with a lump and ended under a surgeon’s blade; it took years to heal. I stare at discoloured tissue, the uneven track the scalpel was forced to carve; they call me offensive, offender. They fail to see it as an inscription: blunt. Integral.

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You can read the overview of Nifelheim  here , and see some Nidavellir poems here

.

Find out more about Joanna, Mina and Shirley here:

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com

https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

Mina Polen

https://twitter.com/minafiction

aldebaranylosnarvales.blogspot.com

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

 A ‘The Nine Realms’ update post will be coming out tomorrow with news of our forthcoming Indiegogo Campaign.

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Nifelheim: ‘Spaces and Pain 1/4’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

26 Mar

nine realms8

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 Nifelheim (The Realm of the Dead

Featuring:

Jim C Mackintosh, Eleanor Perry

and Tom Murphy

 .

The Signal Keeps Breaking

by Jim C. Mackintosh

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I am trying to phone you from
the most hellish place there’s ever been
with the worst phone signal ever.

It has taken nine days to get here
but all the things I gave up to get here
will not buy me a fare for the nine days back.

There are so many things wrong
with this place, I am not sure what
to describe, or whether I should even try.

I will try texting you, that way, you will
have a record of this vile land but
it is no land I have dreamt of

or woken in the cold sweat of night
fearing my destiny. And should I not
return, I pray you will read my words.

There are so many people, dead people
some dying, or not but still wandering
stumbling in the sludge of putrid pools

pools that lap the edge of a cauldron
its crusted rim catching the unaware
pulling them into a depth I can only fear.

I tried to save an old man, grabbing his coat
but he was beyond the depths my shallow
cowardice would allow me to wade.

There is no sun, yet there is light enough
to pick out the pain, the shadows of scars
and marks across the strands of shore

where the keel marks of the dead, dragged
by their souls, lead to a dragon’s bowl
nestled on the bleach of suppers past.

There is no time, but there is order
in this terrible chaos. Despite the mists
that catch your throat like heated flints

tossed into the air by the sadness
of children, seemingly lost, wandering
with their blankets of belongings.

I have tried speaking to them but
they stare through me except one
attracted by the light of the phone

grabbed at it but when I pushed him
away, he dissolved into a puddle
leaving only rags and a scatter of baubles.

The other children, at least I imagine
them to be children, did nothing but pick up
the dissolved one’s rags and walk away

towards the dark mass of a tower,
ice-cold like a frozen heart, an island
of infinity drawing me towards its gate.

Down an impossible path, beaten
like a flattened vein, exhausted
under the burden of its purpose.

I can’t see beyond the gate but
I must go beyond the daubed sign ‘Hel’
I must not falter in my step, my courage.

Through the briar, and soft ash
of unspoken voices caught, discarded
in the unsettled mounds by the path

to an uncertain fate. I am weak yet
my resolve is strong, to face the dark
beyond the buttressed edge of Hel.

I will leave these words, this dying
signal with a child, to keep safe
from the poisoned mists that force me –

the signal keeps breaking –

I am entering Hel, alone –

breaking –

me

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5.
whorf hypothesis

insect noon, and this, the wishing element | we softly
saw ruin | the other wolf moon in the mouth | and it
seemed a lot of hurt | star meat sunk deep in neon sock-
ets | spoon-tapped atoms like those sea lilies which
drag themselves | in polished glass | since water is a
human learning | and the road hums so thick | we
would lung this tired space | even in obscene echoes |
and the words went light like bones | blue robot vague.

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Part 5

Nifelheim

by Tom Murphy

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galloping up the hill

knuckles knotted in the mane

Draumur leaping through the waves of grass

as if surging through salt foam sea

each of these a spell

a telling of path

the three moments

embracing under the waterfall

sitting in the dark cave of mist

floating on the milk blue pond

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the idea of north

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You can read the overview of Nifelheim  here , and see some Nidavellir poems here

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Find out more about Jim, Eleanor and Tom here:

Jim C. Mackintosh

bigbaffy.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

Eleanor Perry

 https://twitter.com/nellperry

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

Realm 4: Nidavellir – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2015

8 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

Nidavellir

(the realm of the Dwarves)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Happy New Year! Here we are at the beginning of January,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 3nd realm Jotunheim coming up: Monday 12th January. The poetry and writing inspired by the realm Vanaheim will continue to be posted out. This month we are outlining the realm of Nidavellir and the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Thursday 12th February 2015.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

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185px-Nidavellir

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1. A brief Overview of Nidavellir

 Nidavellir (Niðavellir) is the realm of the dwarves. Nida means ‘dark’ and vellir means ‘dwelling’, and  Hreidmar is the King of the realm. Dwarves are consistently mentioned in the Voluspa poem of  The Poetic Edda (see below):

Stóð fyr norðan, / á Niðavöllom / salr úr gulli / Sindra ættar

tr: ‘Before you reach the north (Niflheim being the world furthest to the north), A dark dwelling stands (The dwarf world), In halls of gold, Sindri’s bloodline lives’.

There is some confusion as to whether Nidavellir is actually  the realm of the dwarves or the dark elves. They are often confounded, and associated with the realm called Svartalfheim (world of black elves). Snorri Sturlson refers to this in The Prose Edda calling the realm Svartálfaheimr. Dark elves or black elves, were  generally conceived as being horrifying and hideous. In later storytelling traditions they became what we know as goblins. The light elves, became equated with the notion of fairies.

You can find the whole of the Voluspa here.

Dwarves are known for their wisdom, and alongside giants have a mortal fear of sunlight, as it turns them into stone. This is well highlighted in the story  The Lay of Alvis (see Story Focus, below).  As a consequence  the sun is often called  ‘Dvalin’s Delight (after Dvalin the dwarf who came to a similar end as Alvis). See Point 4 below.

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1. The Creation of Dwarves

Having created the world Odin and his brothers then created beings to live in the world. He created the dwarves first. They grew from maggots infesting Ymir’s corpse. The gods gave dwarves a consciousness and then placed them underground so they could search for gold. The dwarves lived alongside trolls who also resided underground.

The dwarves live in darkness, breed in the earth and are often depicted as miners. In stark contrast to the Light Elves who live in Alfheim. They dwell amidst the rocks and hills, and were considered great craftsmen creating gifts for the gods.

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Hreidmar, King of Nidvellir

Hreidmar, King of Nidvellir

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2. Hreidmar (Hreiðmarr)

Hreidmar is the lusty King of the dwarves who captured three gods by using unbreakable chains. He was the father of FafnirÓtr and Regin, and lived in a bejewelled house built for him by Regin. Son, Fafnir guarded the palace on the King’s behalf. The story goes that Ótr was accidentally killed by Loki.  The Aesir, in order to make amends for his death, choose to repay him with what is known as ‘Andavari’s Gold’. Andvari was a dwarf who lived underneath a waterfall and had the power to change himself into a fish. The dwarf possessed a magic wealth-making ring called Andvaranaut. Under duress Loki makes Andvari give up his ring and his gold to him. However, before he leaves Andvari curses the ring. The ring and gold are passed to Hreidmar as repayment for his loss. but out of greed, Fafnir and Regin kill Hreidmar to get the wealth and ring. Fafnir then gets even more greedy and turns himself into a dragon so that he can forcibly drive Regin away through his transformation.

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Thor Kicks Litr. illustration by Emil Doepler (ca. 1905)

Thor Kicks Litr. illustration by Emil Doepler (ca. 1905)

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3. Lit (Litr ) and the Death of Balder/Baldr:

Litr, the dwarf appears in the story of  the death of Balder/Baldr (who is the second son of Odin. He is occidentally killed by his brother (Höðr) with a magical spear made from Mistletoe created by Loki). Baldr, in the mythology,  is seen to be a paragon of graciousness and wisdom. Baldr’s death is signalled as being one of the many important stories in the sequence of events that lead to Ragnarök.  Nanna, Balder’s wife, also throws herself symbolically into his funeral pyre. At Ragnarök,  Balder will be born into the new world.

Here is the reference to dwarf Lit in The Prose Edda

Next Thor stood up and blessed the pyre with Mjolnir. A dwarf named Lit ran in front of his feet. Thor kicked the dwarf with his foot;  it landed in the fire and burned to death.

 Gylfaginning tr. by Jesse Byock (Penguin Classics, Section 49, p67).

You can also find the story of Baldr outlined in Kevin Crossley Holland’s Penguin Book of Norse Myths, under the title Balder’s Dream (p147).

Frigg then sends Hermod (Hermóðr) to  Hel  (ruler over Helheim) to try and bargain Baldr’s life back from her. Hel stimpulates that in order for Baldr to be returned all things must weep for him. Trees, animals, metal and stones  all cry for him, except a giantess called Thokk (who is said to be Loki in disguise). As Thokk does not give in, Baldr cannot return from Helheim .

You can find the text of the entire Gylfaginning here.

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4. Dvalin, and ‘Dvalin’s Delight’:

 

Dwarf Dvalin alongside his brothers Alfrigg, Berling and Grerr are responsible for the fashioning  of the golden necklace Brísingamen (belonging to Freyja) which Frigg covets hugely. The only other reference to Dvalin in The Poetic Edda is in connection to ‘Dvalin’s Delight’ (see realm overview 1) where Dvalin gets turned into stone, which is ultimately the fate of dwarf Alviss too (see below).

You can find the reference to Dvalin in the Voluspa of The Poetic Edda (see link above).

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4. Story Focus:

A. The Binding of The Wolf/Fenrir:

Fenrir is a monstrous wolf, who was brought up in Asgard. In order to protect themselves some dwarves forge a chain to hold Fenrir securely. It is made up out of  ‘the secret and impalpable things of the world’ (Ellis Davidson: 31):

  • the roots of a mountain
  • the noise of a moving cat
  • the breath of a fish.

It is delicate but is equally very strong, and Fenrir would not allow the chain to be placed on him unless a god’s hand was placed in his mouth as a ransom. Tyr, the only god who dared feed the wolf , managed to bind Fenrir with the chain. In so doing the gods were happy, but Tyr lost a hand in the process.

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B. The Lay of Alvis (Alviss):

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Alviss and Thor

Alviss and Thor

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The Alvíssmál ( a poem in The Poetic Edda)  outlines a discussion between a dwarf called Alviss (all-wise) and Thor. The conversation is relayed in a series of kennings which are features of skaldic poetry  (Things of Interest 3. see below). Dwarves were often seen to be centres of knowledge and song, and were known to occasionally pass on their wisdom to the gods.

The story goes that Alviss approaches Thor to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage, saying that Thor had agreed to this earlier. Thor denies this, but says that Alviss can have his daughter if he answers a set of questions correctly. The dwarf’s answers act as an all-encompassing list of mythological entities ranging from giants to elves:

Himinn heitir með mönnum,
en hlýrnir með goðum,
kalla vindófni vanir,
uppheim jötnar,
alfar fagraræfr,
dvergar drjúpansal.
Guðni Jónsson’s normalized text
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‘Heaven’ men call it,
‘The Height’ the gods,
The Wanes ‘The Weaver of Winds’;
Giants ‘The Up-World’,
Elves ‘The Fair-Roof’,
The dwarfs ‘The Dripping Hall’.
Henry Adam Bellows’ translation
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There are some discrepancies in relation to the naming of the various objects. However, the poet-writer of the  Alvíssmál, as Crossley Holland points out (224)does not seem to mind as he is more keen to demonstrate an aspect of poetic technique (skaldic diction) than he is about proving he is 100% correct.  So Alviss fulfils on his task, but is unfortunately turned into stone as the sun rises.

You can find the full Alvíssmál  here.

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Themes, Relevance and Questions:

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Poetic Form and Language: Many stories in connection with the dwarves seem to draw on either their status as wisdom-givers, or highlight their role as conduits of magic and transformation. However, the dwarf stories are more complex,  particularly in the case of The Lay of Alviss which interestingly, combines this emphasis on magic and play with an overt engagement with poetic form and the flexibility of language/meaning. It is maybe worth thinking about how the Sagas , and the stories therein, blend an engagement and celebration of language with the mythic and the supernatural. What does this say about language, and what does this say about power?  

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Things of Interest:

The Death of Balder:

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2.   The Children of Odin

[Norse Mythology Audiobook] Thor, Loki, Asgard, Valhalla:

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3. Skaldic Poetry and Diction:

‘Skald’ means poet, and makes reference to the poets ‘who composed at the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking Age and Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry’ (Wikipedia, see next link).

 Skaldic poems which consisted of elegies and eulogies (by contemporary poets of the time celebrating their peers) were a huge resource for the myths outlined in The Poetic Edda and other Eddas. Skaldic poetry is delicate, syllabic, alliterative and full of internal rhymes and consonance. Above all skaldic poetry is known for its  many ‘kennings, or condensed metaphors that contain part of their diction. Many of the kennings are rooted in myths with which the poem’s original audience were clearly familiar. So for instance, four of the kennings of gold are ‘Freyja’s tears’, ‘Sif’s hair’, ‘Otters ransom’ and ‘Aegir’s fire’.’ (Crossley-Holland: xxxiii). The kennings used by the poets not only make a nod to the myths that endured through the years and but also to those that had not. The kennings chosen by the poets always reflected the oral heritage that goes with them.

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Skaldic Prose Poetry Part 1.

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You can find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

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4. The Icelandic Sagas: Europe’s most important book?

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/oct/03/1

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Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

Anaphora:

Anaphora, comes from the Greek meaning up or back, and consists of lines where lines or phrases in sequence begin with the same words. A single word can be repeated or a phrase. It is often used in devotional poetry and a favourite of the Romantic poets. Sonnet No 66, by Shakespeare is an example of this (see link below). The form creates a forceful rhythm and often repeats the same sound.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Chains, Creation, Bites, Transforming, Power, Stealth, Stone

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To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Nidavellir realm is Thursday 12th February 2015.

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 Thanks so much for your interest.

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References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

Realm 6: Helheim – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

12 Mar

nine realms8

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

Helheim

(the realm through which  men pass in order to die in Nifelheim)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in the middle of March,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 6th realm Nifelheim today! I shall be posting out more Nidavellir poems this week and next week, and then we’ll be onto the Nifelheim poems. This month we are outlining the realm of Helheim. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Thursday 16th April 2015.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

Helheim

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1. A brief  Overview of Helheim

 

Helheim is the lowest realm of all ruled by Hel (see Nifelheim overview). In Grímnismál stanza 31, Hel is listed as existing beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil. One of the other two roots leads to the frost jötnar and the third to Mankind. In the poem Völuspá in The Poetic Edda a völva (sybil)  states that Hel will play an important role in Ragnarök. As mentioned in the Nifelheim overview there is some greyness in terms of differentiation between Nifelheim and Helheim, but in the Vafþrúðnismál (the third poem in The Poetic Edda)  states that it is the place that evil men pass through to die again in Nifelheim.

It is also  the place where all men, who were not warriors and did not end up in Valhalla (the feasting hall of the dead), were decreed to go and condemned to a grim death by Hel. The myths connected to Hel and Helheim spread into cultural traditions, and loved people were buried near to their homes to keep a connection, and those who were cruel were buried far away. Their families fearing they might become the walking dead. In relation to the life/death dynamic there is even some evidence that some thinkers believed there was no life after death. In the Hávamál, for instance it states:

Wealth dies, kinsmen die, a man must like-wise die: but fame never dies, for him who achieves it well (Allan: 135)

You can find the full Hávamál text here

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1. Odin’s Consultation with the Völva

Baldr’s draumar  is another Eddic poem from within The Poetic Edda which tells the story of Odin’s ride to Hel investigating Baldr’s nightmares. (Baldr is the son of Odin and Frigg and is married to Nanna with a  child Forseti.  Baldr is responsible for the construction of the most wonderful ship known to man called the Hringhorni.   You can find out more about Baldr in the Nidavellir overview. )

The story goes that Odin, travels to Hel to find the grave of a Völva (sybil) so that he can resurrect her and questions her about Baldr’s future. She reveals Baldr’s fate: that Höðr (his brother) will kill him, but Vali  (one of his other brothers) will avenge him.

Apart from this description Baldr is known primarily for the story of his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá.

In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as follows:

Annar sonur Óðins er Baldur, og er frá honum gott að segja. Hann er svá fagr álitum ok bjartr svá at lýsir af honum, ok eitt gras er svá hvítt at jafnat er til Baldrs brár. Þat er allra grasa hvítast, ok þar eptir máttu marka fegrð hans bæði á hár og á líki. Hann er vitrastr ása ok fegrst talaðr ok líknsamastr. En sú náttúra fylgir honum at engi má haldask dómr hans. Hann býr þar sem heita Breiðablik, þat er á himni. Í þeim stað má ekki vera óhreint
The second son of Odin is Baldur, and good things are to be said of him. He is best, and all praise him; he is so fair of feature, and so bright, that light shines from him. A certain herb is so white that it is likened to Baldr’s brow; of all grasses it is whitest, and by it thou mayest judge his fairness, both in hair and in body. He is the wisest of the Æsir, and the fairest-spoken and most gracious; and that quality attends him, that none may gainsay his judgments. He dwells in the place called Breidablik, which is in heaven; in that place may nothing unclean be
 Brodeur’s translation

In Baldrs Draumar, the sybil replies:

Here stands brewed the mead for Balder,

shining cups with shields for cover,

but the Sons of the Gods must suffer anguish….

(Ellis Davison: 185)

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You can find the whole of the Gylfaginning here

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Odin's Last words to Baldr

Odin’s Last words to Baldr

 

2. Odin’s Ride to Ransom Baldr

Baldr dies (see Nidavellir overview. )  and Frigg once again asks Odin to go to Helheim and entreat Hel to let him come back. He travels through ice and wind, crossing  the Gjoll torrent (which separates the living from the dead) via a golden- roofed bridge. Hel agrees that Baldr can come back only if everyone and everything agrees to weep for him. All things do weep for him: trees, stones, animals all except Thokk/ Þökk (who is thought to be Loki in disguise) ensuring that Baldr cannot return. In so doing Baldr has to remain in Hel; not to be released until after Ragnarök. Baldr and Höðr would then be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor’s sons.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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4. Ragnarök and Helheim

As Ragnarök unfolds an axe age, a sword age, a wind age and a wolf age reek havoc over the world.  Midgard is ridden with wars for three winters and fathers kill sons. A most ferocious  winter (Fimbulvetr)  covers Midgard. Three winters in succession will manifest with no summers in between.  The children of the giantess in the Iron Wood declaim themselves and the wolf Sköll  swallows the sun whole in his jaws, splattering Asgard with blood. His brother Hati  mangles the moon within his mouth, and the stars disappear.

The earth begins to shudder, mountains shake, and rocks roll, and Fenrir runs free.  Eggther, the watchman of the giants,  strums his harp. A red cock called Fjalar crows waking the warriors in Vallhala every day. A golden-combed cock crows to the gods, and a  red rust cock raises the dead in  Hel. The Midgard serpent writhes in anger, and high seas come in. Loki, free from his fetters sails the high seas towards Vigrid from the North with a deathly crew from Hel. The world is in uproar, and the Yggdrasil Tree trembles , and the gods take arms within Valhalla and March toward Vigrid/Vígríðr, (a large field which hosted a battle between the gods and the forces of Surt).

Odin rides upfront, and in the end Fenrir  swallows Odin and he dies.  Vidar/Víðarr (Odin’s son) kills Fenrir in return. Surt lets flames fly and Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim and Nifelheim become furnaces burning to ashes. The nine realms burn and the gods die, men and women die, and elves and dwarves, monsters and animals die. The earth sinks into the sea.

BUT out of the dying earth a new one is born out of  ‘water, fair and green’.  (Crossley-Holland: 173-175).

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Themes, Relevance and Questions:

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Life,  Death and Transition: It could be said that Nifelheim and Helheim in combination represent a very powerful symbol of transition (from life to death and vice versa). Viewed in conjunction with Ragnarök, this makes for a very strong articulation of the force of life and rebirth.   Where through a conflict and a realignment of moralities life comes forth again ‘fair and green’, with dark forces in hand once again.

Through the creation of the figure of Hel we can see a centre and symbol of moral judgement has been created:  one that allows us to question what is right or wrong, and who is condemned and who is not ( exactly as Hel does). The sifting through that Hel undertakes as men pass through Nifelheim  (judging their morality and position in life) could be seen as a parallel to the sorts of judgements  many people and leaders and figures in power make today. To look at the role of transition and rebirth within the realms of Helheim and Nifelheim , I think can well serve anybody wishing to understand the nature of moral judgement and freedom.

 Exploration Point: What transitions of power can you see in play within these realms and their stories, and how could they be used to reflect upon modern contemporary life? 

 

Things of Interest:

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1.  The Relevance of Norse Myths in the School Curriculum:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10622293/Get-your-fill-of-Norse-myths-before-Hel-freezes-over.html

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 2.  Filmpoem: Sonatorrek (Loss of Sons)

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A filmpoem by Alastair Cook of John Glenday’s ‘The Lost Boy’, a poem after Egill Skallagrímsson’s Sonatorrek *.

http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/resources/mpvp/?author=2

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* Egill Skallagrímsson/ Egil Skallagrimsson(c. 904 – c. 995) was a Viking-Age poet, warrior and farmer.

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Egil Skallagrimsson

Egil Skallagrimsson

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3. ‘In Old Norse mythology, poetry is a slippery substance….’ 

http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/resources/mpvp/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/An-Anthology-of-Responses-to-Skaldic-Poetry.pdf

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4. Sculptor:  Asmunder Sveinsson

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Who was born in 1893, and drew inspiration from The Prose Edda for some of his work.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81smundur_Sveinsson

Reykjavik Art Museum, of which one part is dedicated to Sveinsson

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 Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

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Rubai

The rubai (plural rubaiyat) is a Persian verse form. Each rubai stanza is a quatrain, in which lines 1, 2 and 4 all rhyme.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Light, Thousand, Knowledge, Capital, Fingers, Stars, Deep, Hate, Forest, Broken

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To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Helheim realm is Thursday 16th April 2015.

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 Thank you so much for your interest.

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References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

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