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~ By Courtesy of Others ~


The Raven and the Valkyrie

At twilight, after battle's end
When wolves and eagles fed,
A Valkyrie came to the fields
To take the Masked One's dead.
A raven under hunger's hold
Had found within his sight
A fallen man the spear-maids claimed
For Odin as his right.

The Valkyrie in scarlet cloth
Addressed the sloe-black bird:
"What stake have you upon this man?
His rank earns him reward."
The raven answered with his wit:
"On bloody grain I'll feed.
If knighthood makes him Odin's man
His belt is all you need."

"Tis more than belt or spurs or chain,"
The Winged Maid did praise,
"His prowess on the field today
Has caught the High One's gaze."
"If skill at swords is what you seek
To choose a man most brave
Then seek your marks in other fields
For skilled men dodge the grave."

At this the maiden's face grew dark.
"You mock me with your sport
But I am Odin's servant here
And 'tis his wrath you court.
For Huginn is the Spear God's slave
Likewise is Muninn too.
So by his pow'r I tell you now
This man is Odin's due!"

"Then take this corpse for Odin's sake
For I am of his flock.
He'll drink your mead and eat your boar
And die at Ragnarok.
While I, fair maid, will feast and feed
When others swordsmen kill
But when the final battle comes
'Tis then I'll eat my fill!"

Helen Marshall 2001

Helen Marshal is active in the SCA and a Bard of Ealdormere - see all her works.

Image: W.T. Maud, "The Ride of the Valkyries", c.1890

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