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Ragnar and the Crow Maiden

by grymalkyn 

Posted: 30 December 2003
Word Count: 625
Summary: Love story based around the Norse saga of Ragnar Lodbrok. The rhythm is intentionally juddery.

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Ragnar and the Crow Maiden

Crow, crow, ravenís foot
Spinning, tumbling on the air.
Come to me, come to me, thou fair
Raven hair.

Singing, wind in the sail,
Ragnar strides the deck
Black bread, he cries, black
As ravenís wing, as fire drek.
Why bring you me black bread?

Dark she was and dancing,
Black fire, red around the cot,
The Spider stopped her not.
Feared we were, the leader said,
Feared of cot, of web,
Of Spider dread.

Spider, crow and ravenís wing
You say she sings?
Aye Sire, like a blackbird on the wing
So she does sing.

Nay like the firecrest wren, another said,
High and bright and fierce, darting all about
Within, without.

She set us watch the bread
The leader said
And then she tripped her way about the cot, the while
The Spider sat herself within a corner with a smile
And naught was said
Of dimmer dread, and all.

Our eyes were strung on web-strings,
We forgot the bread, the leader said.

Forgot the bread for ravenís wing?
And so, he said, to me her bring
Aní sheís so fine Iíll hear her sing
But wait! Ah yes, and then her mind Iíll ring.

Crow, crow, ravenís foot
Spinning, tumbling on the air.
Come to me, come to me, thou fair,
Raven hair.
But neither naked, neither clad,
Nor yet in fast, nor broken bread,
And neither lonely nor alone
So shalt thou be
When thou dost come to me.

And back they went to Spider cot
Where all they got
Was singing ravens, cawing crows
And laughter, as the Spider knows.

Next morning as the sun arose
She came.
Alone, not lonely, black dogís nose
Against white thigh,
The fisherís net clinging close
About her form,
Red lips singing, brush his skin.
Wild garlic scent her breath brings.

Home across the water now,
No more affray, away
Across the tossing, tumbling seas
And bloodstained swords.
Now tumbles he in the warm sea
Of ravenís wing and white skin
Until the bloodstained sheets of birthing.
Four strong sons of morning gives she him.

Then came war, he must away
To ride the tide.
No longer at her side.

Away, they said, away.
She is a crow, a spiderís child
Of witchwood, no good.
Not a woman-queen at all.

And the king said, here is a girl, fair and tall,
A queen for Ragnar Lodbrockís Hall.
And honey-gold, her tale she told
Into his cup of mead, she poured.
His eyes were awed.
His heart was gone astray.
I will put her away, he said.

And coming home he stood and looked in every way
But in her eye his would not stay.
But dropped his gaze before her.
And softly then she pulled the Spiderís threads,
Turning his eyes so he must look, was on her hook, again.

Away? She asked him. Aye,
Iíll go away, but eíer I go, stay
My lord and hear my say.

I am a princess, Aslaug is my name.
A daughter of the sun, the spinning wheel,
The Spider weaves the light.
Did you not know it?

And she dropped the burning ring
Into his hand. The gold shone.
And if you do not know it now
In nine months time the child I bear you
Will be dragon-eyed.

That night she held him in her arms and legs.
He was content.

The bloodstained sheets of birthing brought him forth
And Ragnar Lodbrock saw the truth.
The dragonís eye shone redly.

And darkly she did sing
Of ravenís wing and golden ring unto her king.
And darkly he did dream.

But here she stayed and he neíer strayed
Until the flood of Ellaís coming stemmed his tide.
And so he died.

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Comments by other Members

roovacrag at 20:03 on 30 December 2003  Report this post
Fantastic.....loved every word of it. You write well. Made me hold on to the words which not many do. keep it up.
xx Alice

dr_mandrill at 13:11 on 31 December 2003  Report this post
Epic and grand and full of great rhythm and an accomplished sense for the sound of words.

I really really like it.


peterxbrown at 01:22 on 14 January 2004  Report this post
Superb! Beautiful! Evocative! You have tuned in to the rythms and cadence of the ancient dreamers and story tellers and have conjured up a special poem which drips with magic. peterb xx

grymalkyn at 11:49 on 14 January 2004  Report this post
Thank you everyone, it's very good to know it works for you. I'll put up another one soon.

Lawrenco at 12:28 on 17 January 2004  Report this post
What wonderful imagery,I certainly aprieciate the expression of the soulfulness of birds. Reading this has helped me collect my thoughts about this, with the writers niggle of "I must get this down"!Thanks,and welcome to our group.

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