Wait A Minute, This Didn’t Happen In “The Avengers”…

“Loki’s Curtain Call”

Trickster god – that’s me indeed.

But I might as well be

the Fixer God –

it’s in my hands

to craft clever, devious solutions

whenever

something goes wrong in this place.

“Fix it, Loki!” for millennia…

and never with thanks.

I’ve had enough.

What if

I were to let it all go –

just give up Norse-Godding –

for, say, interior decorating?

I certainly possess

a useful flair,

and I wouldn’t even have to look far

for funky paints!

Want some wildly coloured walls,

disguised trapdoors for unwelcome guests,

spatters of madness

here and there?

Call me up.

Need a conversation piece,

Chaos bound in Ragnarök?

I’ll see to it.

(There could be minimal damage…)

Odin may roll his eye,

Freyja and Freyr may look disdainful and toss their golden-apple hair,

but the loss

would be entirely theirs.

Goodbye Asgard,

I’m off to start a business.

Though, for the sake of efficiency

(and one last farewell gesture),

I may take along that hammer of Thor’s…

Marta Ziemelis. Copyright February 2014.

One day I saw an ad for the Jotun paint company, and my mind decided to play word association, reminding me, “Hey, isn’t Loki sometimes referred to as part- jötunn (also known as part frost giant) in Scandinavian myths?”  I then had a conversation with a good friend, also a fan of Loki and Norse myths, about what might happen if the infamous god of gleefully getting everything into a mess decided to go in for interior decorating. The piece above is the eventual fruit of that conversation.

Previously Published

I was unsure of the title I wished to give to this post, and after trying out several options, chose the one you see above. Why this title? Firstly, because it is nicely alliterative, and I have a weakness for alliteration. Secondly, because it provides a unifying thread – both poems included in this post are works of mine which have previously been published elsewhere. Curious? Read on!

“Saaremaa”

O blue island tempest-tossed,

haven of a thousand songs,

grey-pearl voices of the dawn

dance you in their eager arms.

Silk-smooth sea-waves soflty breaking

on a shore of reddened stone

twine with spice of juniper

in a sacred scented flow.

Nightclad fir-trees proudly rising

from the heads of ancient cliffs

calmly face the whisper-waters,

deep-rooted their dark-glowing grace.

Forest coolness slowly rises,

drawn from secret bowls of green –

waltzes slowly sinking twilight,

on these shores of stone and dreams.

Silver kisses darkened skies,

light caress on breathing foam.

Velvet hugs the sleeping shore

Silence sighs

her warm-spiced note.

~ Marta Ziemelis, written in Riga, Latvia, copyright 2009, 2012.

 

“Warrior’s Way”

What hides

behind the strength of the sword?

What hides behind the tension

of the fiercely bent bow?

String snaps

yet the shot flies true,

finding its way.

Gentleness is fire

and fire, gentleness.

The one forged in the other

Endless cold caress.

Quarterstaff rings

on the stone of the night,

releasing eternal

arrows of light.

Sword to sword

hand in hand

is it battle

or a dance?

Road of steel

Light of rain

One shot

makes end the beginning again.

Give me strength

Give me faith

Silent and starlit

the warrior’s way.

Whose hand forges

the bridge at my feet?

Gaze of dark eyes

I ride forward to meet.

Hooves on the stone

twilight song

Riding now homeward

and winter is gone.

Sword to sword

hand in hand

is it battle

or a dance?

Hand in hand

eye to eye

Battle is done

and so, goodnight –

until we wake in warriors’ hall,

mead in hand and stars above.

~ Marta Ziemelis. Written in Toronto, copyright 2010, 2012.

Anyone who wishes may read more about the island of Saaremaa, which inspired the poem bearing its name, here.

An earlier version of “Saaremaa” appeared in the 2009 edition of the arts journal UC Review, while an earlier version of “Warrior’s Way” was published in the 2010 edition of Garm Lu: A Canadian Celtic Arts Journal. While re-reading these pieces during the process of posting, I felt that each of them could be well served by a bit of tweaking. It is for this reason that they sport two copyright dates apiece.

“Saaremaa” was written shortly after a family visit to the island in question, a certain amount of which I had probably spent in a crabby mood. (As a kid I disliked being involved in trips which required lots of rambling around. What was the point of looking at all these things?, I thought. Although I feel differently about rambling now, if it’s happening in a place where I want to be.) Something of my anti-rambling attitude probably contributed to the crabbiness, as it often did (and sometimes still does) on such occasions. But, at the same time, I remember being stunned by Saaremaa’s natural landscape  – the overgrown, green-covered meteor crater in a forest, intricate blue clouds trailing across the sky, the sight and smell of juniper (which seemed to be absolutely everywhere). It held me tight and insisted that it wouldn’t let go until I wrote about it. So I scrambled for some paper and a pen; the poem you see above was the eventual result.

As for “Warrior’s Way” – I don’t remember exactly how it began, but what I can tell you is something of what went into it. Ever since I could read, I’ve been reading folktales, myths and legends – especially Norse myths, because as a Latvian kid I’d been told some of these stories even before I could read. At some point I started reading Robin Hood legends and Arthurian legends too ( each of which merit their own post alltogether). But one thing Norse myths, Robin Hood tales and Arthurian legends had in common was the figure of the warrior – a fighter, often living by a certain code of honour and with loyalty to a leader and comrades, who would go on quests and have wonderful adventures. This figure – particularly as regards its focus on honour, loyalty, adventure and a significant purpose in life – has really stuck with me. I know my views of mythical and legendary figures and the lives they might have had are romanticised, but isn’t that part of what stories are for?