Buried under the bent roots
of the sacred ash, symbol of order,
doming the gods gathered in thing,
the vile dragon dwells in blood.
Boiling in the heat of Hvergelmir,
the hateful snake is savage and cruel,
its callow words carried to the eagle
by the foe of peace, the fell squirrel.
Then comes the day of doom and fire,
when the tree shakes in the trembling earth,
Nídhögg will rise, ruling the air,
the bodies of the slain born on its wings.
The wolf Fenrir waits in ire,
held by the bond built by dwarves,
a fetter given to the false Aesir,
to trick the wolf and waylay him.
Still he is patient, his prey unaware;
the wolf can taste Týr’s missing hand,
his price to the gods for Gleipnir his bond;
a warning sign the wise ones missed.
The vicious wolf waits for his father,
forked-tongue Loki, fettered by Odin,
to fight in battle followed by his brother,
the great snake, and their sister Hel.
The earth soon shakes with shrieks of pain,
the father of the wolf frees them both;
Aesir bonds are burst by powers
stronger than the gods, stronger than dwarves’ craft.
The best of horses, born from the mount
of the giant builder; bold Sleipnir,
the steed of Odin, steadied by eight legs,
true and strong, not treading the ground.
He charges to Hel, Hermod on his back,
leaping the gate, to loose Balder;
failing, he rides, flying to Ásgard,
To wise Allfather, his waiting master.
The best of hounds, held in chains
before the grim Gnipahellir;
source of the howl that heralds the end,
the doom of the gods, the death of Odin.
The baying hound, bearer of death
and great fire, the Garm of wood;
that fearsome hound, foe of Týr,
wrecker of order, augur of chaos.
Hugin and Munin
Two ravens in flight, fast returning,
each late afternoon, alight in Asgard;
they whisper their tidings to waiting Allfather,
so that he might know the news of the world.
These birds so dear to brave Odin,
to whom he had taught the tongue of men,
give him worry when gone aloft;
he seeks with haste their safe return.
Hugin is awaited by wise Odin,
lest thought be lost and thinking also;
but even more is Munin awaited,
his loss in flight feared like madness.
Jörmungand (The Midgard Serpent)
The mighty snake, son of Loki,
Angrboda’s spawn, spans the world,
waiting his chance, to challenge Thor
in the cold waste of the whale road.
Overwhelmed at first by fearsome Thor,
who landed blows on its body,
the snake awaits the son of Odin,
to revenge in battle Thor’s bloody deed.
When the horn sounds, the snake will rise
to fight with Thor to the final breath,
when Odin’s son, Sif’s husband,
will become a victim of the venomous snake.
Proud and noble, nested on Yggdrasil,
the eagle seethes, slandered by the dragon,
whose vile words and vicious gnawing
weaken the ash, order’s pillar. .
Knowing his duty and drained of fear,
the eagle stays, upright and tall,
among the branches, marking the dragon,
that foul weakener of worldly order.
Little boretooth, bearer of spleen,
running between root and branch,
of the sacred tree, trysting with both
eagle and dragon, always hateful.
Willing hastener of the world’s demise,
thrall of neither noble nor pest,
Ratatosk travels the tree of the world,
until the day of doom and fire.
Shadowy hawk, hardy Vedrfölnir,
crowning the eagle that crests Yggdrasil,
looking out, acting as the eyes
of the gallant eagle, guardian of order.
Sköll and Hati
The scions of Fenrir, Sköll and Hati,
treachery and hatred, hurtle onward,
never closer, never reaching
their heavenly prey passing through the sky.
Until the day of doom and fire,
when the Aesir, Allfather among them,
fall in battle, felled by Loki’s kin,
and the evil vargs devour the sun and moon.
Geri and Freki
Geri and Freki, the greedy wolves
who flank the seat of the father of gods,
waiting to roam, ravenous ones,
eating the food Allfather throws them.
[S.R. Hardy is a poet, novelist and translator whose work has appeared in venues such as Northern Traditions, Death Head Grin, Widowmoon Press and the Eunoia Review. He is currently at work on a variety of translations, poems and stories. In addition, he blogs about words atwww.anarcheologos.com.]