Monday, May 12, 2014

Poetry: Schicksal der Götter [Christian/Norse mashup]

This poem at Fictionpress
at Archive of Our Own

"Fate of the Gods," or Ragnarok. A fusion of Norse and Christian apocalypses.

This is a ljóðaháttr poem, a form characterized by alliteration, lifts, and caesuras (here denoted by "|").

It draws heavily on the Völuspá for the course of events, more so than the Bible.

Schicksal der Götter

Harsh was the world | with whoredoms rife
The once-wise children gone to play
Sword-age, axe-age | vainglory swelled
No man gave mercy for his brother

The black worm writhed | the world's Trunk shook
The Book of Life was brought from Its place
Wind-age, wolf-age | desolation wrought
The Good Folk groaned and coughed in desert fields

Venom dripped down | filled and burned his eyes
Tongues of flame licked up his tears
Satan shrieked | He stressed his chains
Till at last his writhing broke his bands

Hell's legions languished | they heard his laugh
Rushed out and rode the flesh of men
Who needed no urging | who set the flames
That burned the cities and brought them down

Hell, once harrowed | now harried worlds
Gabriel, from his heavenly perch
Gazed on the sight | gave his horn a blow
Which was cut short (and he cut down)

The armies of Heaven | spectral and arrayed
In glories and splendor mighty and grand
Michael held fast | at the head of the Host
Waited till it was ripe, then let out a roar

Demons ascended | directed their fury
Left behind death that was wrought by their wrath
Ran up the ramparts | oh, the Bright Radiant Tower!
Until their mob then crashed into Michael's 

Rage-given-flesh | ravaged their ranks
In vain Heaven tried to hold up against it
The Beast was mighty | Michael much more
He brought his mace home down on its skull

The seas turned dark red | life therein died
Blood poured from the Beast, and venom too
And Michael, sick | with that most dreadful ichor

The sixth Heaven burned | the seventh also 
Where rode the Devil in a ship of dead men's sins
That was too large | of the lusts and lies of Man
But larger still it could have been

Then down below | arose majesty bright
The wraiths He passed were paid no heed
The corpse-girl stood | had not power to head Him off
Thus the Christ ascended to His hall of red gold

Curled round the corpse | of the All-Father cold
The Dragon hissed in sick delight
Which turned to terror | before the Christ's face
When through Its heart He speared that Snake

Thus Hell was routed | the day won by Right
But in the slaughter's midst Christ stood alone
The sky was black | from the burst flies of Beel
That filth that had swallowed both moon and sun

Thus Christ divided the Dragon | to make new domain
Bones in the hills and blood in the rivers
Sun from Its eye | moon and stars from the other
Then remained but one task before He could rest

The fires had cooled | the World clean and pure
Clay and Life, male and female, crept out from the branches
Fires had raged forth | the Tree of Life gave them shelter
And to this couple would Christ now add more

The Dragon's strength was seen and seized
Each sly fang was sewn in short ditches, and then there arose
New Men out from the thick mud
Our Lord saw it all,
Declared it all good

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