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In Gunnlodh´s Bed
Who are you?
Who dares this darkness,
slithering like a serpent, seeking my bed?
Long have I waited at Worldheart, warding my secret.
Who dares draw near to me now?
You hiss in the shadows, or is it laughter?
It has been lonely here; I would be glad to laugh.
Ah, I see you now, one eye of light and one of darkness,
and a breath of air follows,
a breath of life from the world beyond these walls.
Well, I am sick of secrets and shadows.
Speak to me, serpent, what have you to say?
Tell me a tale; how you travelled in man-form,
tricked the thralls, won Baugi's help with your labor,
and as Bolverk made him bore a hole through the belly of the world.
You were strong then, and cunning.
Do you mean to trick me?
Serpent coils spiral runes around me,
and serpent tongue whispers a spell.
Do you think thus to trance me?
Now it is my turn for laughter.
Indeed, I admire your transformations,
but if you would win me,
you must make another magic.
What, I wonder, would you have here?
An hour in my bed, or two, or three?
Do you draw back from that suggestion?
Perhaps my appearance is not quite what you expected?
You will have to be cunning indeed to cozen me.
I am as old as the rocks or the running water.
I am of the race of Ymir,
more ancient than any woman you have ever known
Now I see you smiling.
So-- you do know a way to win me after all.
Come closer. Please me--
Show me that your lips know more than spells.
Will you put at hazard even your manhood,
surrendering your power?
If you plan to possess me, you are wrong
I will engulf you,
but you cannot stop now, can you?
You must give everything, having thus begun.
I wind you in my arms, all your wisdom lies within me.
My lips are like honey--
Drink deeply, wanderer.
Ecstasy fountains upward, filling me, filling you...
Then rest, for you have pleased me well.
For a night of the world, you may sleep in my arms.
What, are you not yet ready to leave me?
Perhaps you are learning;
I begin to see beauty mirrored in your eye.
This time, Desired One, it will be easy.
Come once more to my bed
while a second night strides across the world.
Kiss my breasts, and taste honey;
for you I am all golden.
Devour me! Consume me entirely,
drink deeply from the cauldron at the heart of my life.
All that I am I will give to you,
for your love has made me lovely.
Embrace me, my beloved,
now we build the world anew.
Now, in my arms you lie exhausted.
You would sleep for an age of the world.
But the third night approaches, and there is more,
you know there is more.
Do you want it, Old Man?
Have you the will to seek it
even when your flesh is weary and your spirit quails?
You have no lust for it now, have you?
You look at me and wonder how you could have desired me;
it would be so easy now to withdraw
and slink homeward with what you have won.
But you will never rest if you leave me now
Come then, and I will call you Wise.
Though spirit quails and flesh is unwilling,
let us seek together through the shadows.
Sink into my arms, not knowing if death awaits you.
Now-- now you are come where Need compels you.
This vessel is filled with a dark mead,
bitter to the tongue, but in the belly, sweetest of all.
The third night is past.
Wanderer, Beloved, Wise One, I release you,
for you possess me now entirely,
and wherever you go, I am there as well.
Swiftly then, let love grow wings to soar skyward.
Suttung roars, reaching out for the eagle,
The jealous ones pursue and attack you.
Let them lap up the drops spilled by your passing,
not knowing that what you have won from me
is a prize they never had.
Will they say you have stolen my virtue?
It is not so, for I remain hidden in the heart of the mountain,
and my cauldrons are always full.
Those who will give what you have given,
those who can pursue the path you travelled,
shall find through your gift, Galdorfather,
the way to my arms.
Diana Paxson 1993
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