Polaris, great lantern of heaven, your light illuminates the day
like Diogenes’ lamp; seeking honest men, finding me instead.
Exposed, the little shadows in my soul flinch before the glare
like cave-dwelling vermin accustomed to a deep, quiet gloom.
Yet you give me a sign, Tiw from a Tyrsman, a gift of tempered metal.
“Iron-forged,” he says. “One of a kind. Never will there be another like it.”
I am not a soldier, not a judge, but a woman in the middle of her life.
My hands are open, but what use are they to the guidestar of the Gods?
You embrace me in that place of journeys;
bare-footed, blue-jeaned, nebulae shining
in your eyes. Your white shirt is soft
on my cheek and smells of your not-flesh.
Yet I know that somewhere you are armoured
in the heavy plate of a long-dead sun, wielding
a singularity like a blade; one-handed, fierce
before the beast who summons chaos and decay.
Here, upon the winding roots of the World Ash,
you name me Hierographer of the Victory-Bringer,
Warrior Poet of the Leavings of the Wolf,
an ink-stained soldier whetting words to battle words.
Twenty thousand footfalls on a Halifax road
in service to the Earth.
Ten thousand hands in the wolf’s mouth
for the sake of all that lives.
A Heathen in your regiment,
my feet were among them,
my hand upon theirs,
my voice raised in a chant,
loud and breaking high like a wave:
“What do we want?
When do we want it?
Now is the only moment left to us.
Let there be courage enough in it.
When the wolf’s teeth bite down,
crushing vein and bone,
may we sacrifice knowing that
we are more whole without a hand
than we are without the world.
Ragnarok comes, and your voice rumbles
low and even across the Planck length.
I am behind you, listening from the rank and file.
My pen is on the page,
and I am ready.
[Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran (C.S. MacCath) is a PhD candidate in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry whose work has been shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and nominated for the Rhysling Award. She lives in Atlantic Canada, and you can find her online at http://www.csmaccath.com.]