A Winter Walk: Fimbulwinter
“We will not turn from this fire.
We will not try to fix that which should break before us.”
Ritual poetry, from Ramon Elani
Vitoð ér enn, eða hvat? (Would you yet know more?)—Voluspo
My son looks up at the towering pylons above us.
“What is that, daddy?”
A cold wind blows across the barren wastes of the future and stings my cheeks and eyes.
“The ruins of a world that doesn’t know it’s already dead.”
We walk on through silent pines and boulders dripping with ice
And stand before a frozen waterfall, among wet woods of mistletoe.
Domed hills rise up around us, still and ominous.
Troll caves hidden among the moss and trees.
“Winter, stay forever.”
Come the frosty whispers of giants.
We say our bright blessings to the frozen things that watch us.
I bear the mark of the gap upon my thigh
And the cosmic egg inside a kernel of ice upon my left arm.
We come to the rushing void where the embers of fire blast forth
From the Sundering Land, home of the world-breakers,
To mix with the rimey spray that flows from the Mist World.
And in that terrible, yawning gulf where the two streams met
Shapes emerged from the drippings.
A man and a cow floating through the depths of eternity,
Creating worlds without end as they fell in and out of time.
The she-cow licked the salty ice until her coarse tongue met scarlet lips
And golden hair shone in the abyss of space.
Ice child. Armpit and toe children.
The titanic father slaughtered in a deluge of blood.
And the leeks grew from his guts and bones.
I seek a pool in the forest that is unfathomably deep,
And I seek the crone that sits by the side of the pool and protects its wisdom.
She bears the rune of loss.
I offer her my eye and she drops it into the pool.
With tears of blood I watch it fall, down through memory
Until it settles into the dust and sediment of aeons.
It will shine there in the murky gloom forever.
I see the bridges fall in the twilight that comes at the end of time.
I see the burning rim of the world.
And the house of silence reigns triumphant.
Suddenly the stillness is broken by the noise of train.
I hold my son in my arms and we stand upon a boulder,
Watching as the machine rushes past us.
“Where is it going, daddy?” My son asks.
“South,” I say. “South to the cities of the humans.”
“What does it carry?” He asks.
“It carries the bleeding heart of the forest.” I say.
It carries beaver dreams, the longings of the moose, the laughter of weasels.
I bend down to lick the old rotted trunk of an apple tree.
I taste the richness of decay and feel an unimaginable power growing inside of me.
I thank the tree for its gift and upon my arm,
The mark of hail burns with the fire of change and catastrophe.
We will not turn from this fire.
We will not try to fix that which should break before us.
Dark things stir among the bracken and the moss.
Memories, dreams, or prophecies of things to come.
Old gods that grimly await us upon the Plains of Adoration.
The ironwood throne lies empty and the world resounds.
Threads are woven together in the hollow beneath a tree.
Threads that bind, threads that lead us back to where we belong,
To the halls of the moon, like dogs we are all.
Sacraments made upon the beak of a night-owl.
Our weirds have been written.
In the mud and under the mold, we are caught in the web of fate.
Ramon Elani holds a PhD in literature and philosophy. He is a teacher, a poet, a husband, and a father. He recently retired from being a cage fighter. He wanders in oak groves and speaks to trees. He casts the runes.
More of his writing can be found here.