The Gods' Frith Split by Strife
slowly she insinuated
serpentine through kindred's halls.
Wrapped her wrath and spite strong
round the holy hoard's jewels gleaming
whose gleam she envied, greedlust strong,
but not for joy, but out of hate,
deep-snuffed and pounded in lower realms of ice.
Tensions mounted, strife was spun,
the happy harmony slowly faded
at her incantations' touch. Waned the worthy frith,
yet so slowly no one saw.
All-Father saw ; All-Father sought out
the cause. Married into the kindred,
she came cackling, and smiling on surface,
smiling in golden, awe for all,
yet awful indeed. Jealousies bred,
old conflicts stirred, and turned
the strong against their kin,
to squabbles, quarrels, and unsaid smoulder.
Everyone knows, everyone knows this tale.
Look into your kindred's branches
tree wrapped-back in time's mists.
Ask aunts and uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers.
One will tell you true this tale.
Everyone knows, but no one does.
Everyone knows, yet no one solves.
Meek and weak, and mild and tamed,
the sly sorceresses or slicksters slip
into the family ; lay there, lie there,
set their traps and wait for bait to bring
them booty they long to cash in tears.
This kind knows how to twist tensions,
play off old anxiety,
turn one against the other.
None act, none fight,
All are web-caught miserable.
Odin acts, Odin fights,
Odin cares not for consequence
when kindred's health in peril.
He'll pay the price, but pluck
the bud that breeds its gnawing root deep.
Into the hall of halls he beckons,
sets out dish for her to eat,
then makes her answer for her crimes.
Cornered, she off-mask peels now,
no need for cover here, in the hall of the mighty one.
All admits, all expects
to go her way, despite this query,
laughs in laughing, mocks and makes
to make the fool of forthright All-Father.
Wod waves wrathful in Woden's face,
the furious father of all takes spear
in hand, and thrusts and throws it through
the wicked witch's worthless form,
she who wills worthy witchdom ill,
she who turns arts of honor and pleasure rotten.
Yet studded with spears she still cackles!
Laughs and taunts, like a pincushion'd hyena!
So onto the fire they throw her, raging,
that burning she'd feel the burning she's bred.
Once they try, twice they try,
three times they try, and still she rises,
laughing, cursing, calling doom and dread out.
Yet fire burning, her ice-cold heart
is all that soon remains.
Then the echoes of her laughter roil and rumble,
as her daughter's husband
discovers the deed.
And all the family on that side of the clan gather,
and as if in her voice, one voice all they shriek,
and call, condemning All-Father,
as if all the strife by he'd been bred.
The times he stepped out o'er the line,
to save his kin no matter what,
they throw back cold now in his face,
and over and over in rage and wrath,
the accusations come so fast
that reason's ruined in the rage,
no listenings had in the word-melee,
even when "Enough!" he called,
they kept accusing, kept on cursing,
as if her curses captured them all.
He saw it all tumble down before his eyes,
and in grief's disbelief, he raged at her revenge,
and would not bow before its clamor.
Up the spear high o'er the host
he set the stakes now grim.
Feud, family feud, now raged,
and Odin knows how to fight.
Then back! and forth! in terrible war!
and trials and ventures,
and horrible shakings!
The heavens and earth do battle.
Yet Sun and Moon and Earth and Sea
and Love and Lust wrapped tight
soon take the high heaven's citadels
from Odin's Sons, and exiled out,
the world is split, its frith shattered
in the now man-war dust.
Out he ousted her,
Out she ousted him,
yet grim and good his wisdom wiles,
he bides his time and builds his case,
ready to restore the world of men and Gods,
and return things to their place.
All-Father works in mysterious ways,
going down in defeat
to rise up again,
and through unlikely allies, open doors
to win back what's been taken.
Worry not : the fates have good surprises in store.