• Patrick Loudon

Patrick Loudon, two poems, writer's commentary


RAGNAROK

From words that follow flow nothing new,

Frailty is human, despite heavenly view?

A fable for futures, a saga now past,

On winds of wonder, a prophecy cast?

The coming and going of the Aesir great,

We heard tales of beginnings and of late.

Glories of Asgard in its flower and end,

Dark lands, low sun, and Midgard then.

Bestla, wed to Bors, gave birth to Odin,

Known to other tribes as Wotan or Woden.

With sight to see ends, to learn all things,

What marvelous powers if born to be king!

Just as Jupiter was of Cronos' kin,

Would see afar though not always within.

His brothers' rights he would not forswear;

Loki, the trickster, uninclined to share.

Frigga's son Baldur, most blest of them all,

Was slain by Hodur at cruel Loki's call.

Mistletoe cherished, was the eye dart of death;

Beloved Baldur's passing left Asgard bereft.

But the blindman's dart had been cast in sport,

At the feast that day before Odin's court.

Innocent Hodur in horror took his own life,

Not Tyrfing the Valiant could counter such strife.

Baldur's brother sought Loki, hammer in hand;

Thor burst through the heavens and savaged the land.

He then at the last brought the Trickster at bay,

Heimdall bound him, chained him to the last day.

Loki's vengeance was plotted in envy and hate;

How might to his liking this bile to sate.

Allied with Frost Giants, but not finished until

He turned Angrboda, her three babes to his will.

For humankind, the message seemed unclear:

Ragnarok was, or is coming, upon the onset of years.

It might be true that these things are now all passed,

Unless the reign of the gods has not breathed its last.

Now so deep in darkness, without time or thread,

Those long undying now having gone dead!

Long peaceful lands were ruined by war,

Tired hands of the sisters were sewing no more.

Ragnarok, Creation's last gasping breath;

Foolish mankind at last hopes to cheat death?

The fabled three winters come to curse dwarf and elf,

Still men lived less by spirit than that counted wealth.

Loki broke his bonds and too soon freed his kin,

In jealousy and freedom, brought chaos again.

The Frost Giants assaulted bright Asgard in dread,

Aware the last battle would leave each and all dead.

The weight of years and the malice of deeds

Did not satisfy Loki in his sorrow or needs.

Odin perished with Sleipnir, as other gods fell;

Heimdall's hammer sent vain Loki tumbling to Hell.

Slaughter so great, so much beauty now passed;

On the plain, o'er the wall, to the chasm cast!

Then came a great clamor and rose such a sound.

Midgard Serpent cast the Bifrost Bridge down.

Heimdall had rallied for the last coming crush:

Yet many fell with Thor in the last Giants' rush.

Fenrir, the ferocious, not least of the slain,

Mythic the memory of that blood-frosted plain.

Angrboda’s whelps had devoured the light;

Heimdall led the remnant from the enveloping night.

The Rainbow to Midgard for all time now is dead,

Yet no one would take Odin’s crown to his head.

To Gimli, the Last Refuge, flew the Aesir that night,

Before the Giants had stolen the last vestige of light.

The highest point in all heaven is the last remnant realm;

Vidar guards the glimmer, gloam of Odin's living helm.

Troubles unknowing, not an end at the last:

Weakness consigns understanding to the past.

The dark and misty to scare babes in the night,

Sorrows and sagas where we judge ourselves right.

All of the heroes, in death and time unbound,

Vanish as vapors ‘neath the nose of a hound.

Stories for children, what was old may be new;

The past or the future, dare you call it untrue?

SKAGERRAK

Days are raw and sunless, beer rations, big guns troll;

Harsh climes grey and joyless, there is naught to ease the cold.

Collars turned against the chill as come the cold winds’ wail;

Faces tur