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~ By Courtesy of Others ~

A Nordic Yule

'Twas the night before Yuletide in the Horde's hall
Not a person was stirring, not even a thrall.
The wineskins were hung on the mantle with care
In hope that great Odin soon would be there.

The clansmen were snoring, passed out on the floor.
And I made to join them. I couldn't drink more.
I found a place quickly, my furs for a bed.
The mead I had drunk had gone to my head.

Then came a noise from way out in back.
So loud that I swore, we were under attack!
I leapt from my furs, my sword clutched in hand,
And went to the window to survey the land.

I looked into the night and muttered a curse,
Could it be Grendel or something much worse?
Then what to my eyes should the full moon reveal,
But an old fashioned sleigh drawn by a creature unreal.

And a huge burly driver so fierce and forbodin',
I knew in a moment it was Allfather Odin.
He yelled at the creature with a snarl on his lips,
And after each word, gave a crack of his whip.

"Obey me now, Sleipner, for I am your master,
An eight-legged horse ought to run faster!?"
I ran from the window, so quick and so able
And sought a safe haven under the table.

I heard the sleigh stop and Odin get out
And as he drew nearer, gave a great shout.
He kicked the door open, which then hung askew
And I shook when I saw him, what else could I do?

He was dressed in his armor, so regal and fine
But I caught a strong odor of cheap women and wine.
His bundle of weapons he dropped where he stood,
All bright gleaming steel and dark polished wood.

His face was like granite with a long flowing beard
His one eye glowing like an ember, or so it appeared.
I watched him quite closely alone with my fear
As he surveyed the hall with a glare and a sneer.

He cursed and he muttered and seemed to grow madder
And I fought to keep some control of my bladder.
He lifted his foot and pulled a nail from beneath
Then seemed to grow calmer. I sighed with relief.

He then went to work, his task to assail
And filled all the wineskins with mead and stout ale.
Then using his finger to scratch at his crotch
He strode from the hall as I silently watched.

He mounted his sleigh and his whip gave a crack
As Sleipner jumped forward, he laughed and leaned back.
He said as he rode, "Fight hard and die well.
And when that day comes, in Valhalla you'll dwell!"

2002 Michael G. Tucker

Image 1: Free clipart from Tripod
Image 2: Carlshamns Commersen (www.commersen.se)

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