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
(the realm of fire)
Shirley Golden, Ross Beattie
and Karin Heyer
by Shirley Golden
All summer the fires seethe out of control. Lauren’s been reading the books her father loved as a teen. She’s at an age when Judgement Day can seem poetic.
Danny hastened to the call out first thing; he’s in the thick of it with his unit, fighting the inferno. Before he left, he told us, sit tight. It’d never spread this far. Pollution sweeps in wave upon wave of heat, more intense each summer. No more factor fifty. Cover up, is the current advice. Air conditioning pumps into house after house.
I aim the remote at the TV as Lauren bursts in.
“Leave the news on. It’s coming this way, isn’t it?” She sits beside me. “Has Dad called?”
I shake my head. “If something had happened, we’d have heard,” I say. I hope. I stare at the screen. The blaze consumes the pine forest, eating its way through the landscape, leaving a stream of dense, dark smoke, and ash where once wildlife and a scattering of houses nestled. Ranks of dotted fire-fighters are speckled ants across the ground.
“Ragnorok,” Lauren breathes. “The giants in Norse mythology called fire, ‘Hungry Biter’. Did you know that?”
“It’s not the end of the world, love,” I say and attempt a smile. For some it will be.
“S0 why does it feel like it?” she says, not taking her eyes from the screen.
“Your father should never have given you those books, with those stories.”
Lauren didn’t have Danny’s practical nature that kept him from stressing about each fresh blaze. She took after my mother: artistic, complex, prone to worry.
“They don’t frighten me,” she says.
But they do me. I shrug. “It’s just stories, Lauren,” I say.
“Myths,” she says. “The realm of fire where Surt stands guard with his sword that shines brighter than the sun, a place where only those born to it can pass.”
I didn’t want to think about it. “We should pack some things,” I say. “Just in case.”
“I’ll get the carrier and food for Rusty.” She stands up.
Rusty is her orange and white Netherland Dwarf.
“Yes,” I say and I have to stop myself from telling her to hurry.
She lingers at the door. “The realm of fire,” she breathes. “Dad says it’s a part of nature. Without it, no sun, no stars.”
by Ross Beattie
This land of fire holds the secrets I long to know.
To watch the wolf rip the life from my throat, to see this perfect end.
To be touched by the flames as I become what waits beyond the line of belief.
So tired of the place where the fire meets the ice.
Looking into the coming moments and waiting only for freedom.
The last way out of this.
Through words into tomorrow.
MP3 to come
by Karin Heyer
To begin with there was fire and ice
and there was a universe,
in this universe there was a realm
and in this realm
there was the land of fire,
the fire god stood guard
at its very gates,
beheld a shining sword
that gathered sparks across
the moon’s hall
that became stars
and shone over pending,
He set one foot,
one foot only,
onto the rainbow bridge,
his bold flaming blood-snake
held up high,
defending the powers
of volcanic, furious fires.
Ready for the fight,
the cruel blood-snake was dancing,
inflicted hurt to many a man,
holding tight to its punishing power.
Raging Ragnarök ,
might meeting might,
clashing blade on blade.
After this endgame,
amazing Yggdrasil still stands,
man and woman did remain,
the waters of hope are flowing,
and after that
each man told this tale to the other.
Translation of the Kennings: moon’s hall = sky
blood-snake = sword
Find out more about Shirley, Ross and Karin here:
As always, thank you for your interest.