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Mead of Poetry

Swiftly from the cave Odin wind-eagle flies,
Holding in his belly the amber meads of poetry;
Behind him clash the giants’ frost-laden cries
As they pursue over wasting sea.

Kvasir the dwarf gave his blood seething red,
And over the nectars muttered spell-oath grimly,
To guard poetry from the boasting of the ill-bred.


Pursued to the gods’ high silver-worked gate,
Odin of Mysteries lets fly smatterings of mead;
They burrow like little vipers into the fate
Of men too vain to gird poetry’s deed.

In puffery these men strut necklaces of word,
Loudly of talent they boast and prate,
By ridicule and small renown undeterred.


Odin-eagle gains the sanctuary of the walls,
The mead is safe in the gods’ mountain-glory place;
Poetry of exultant swan-wisdom sings and calls,
Kinsmen stride to its embrace.

And what of those swaggering drunk on the dregs?
Kvasir laughs at their tottering race,
To the emptied poetry cup where the beggar begs.

© Cameron La Follette

- License: This poem may be freely distributed, provided
it remains unchanged, including copyright notice and this License -

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