Ask to Embla

When we stood mute, rooted,
We grew side by side
Shared storms and seasons,
Drank from deep waters,
Flowered and fruited,
Washed by the same tides
Swayed for the same winds
knowing no reasons.

Three gods came out of the dark
Warming and changing and moving and shaping
Filling us up with their spark
I can step from this shore
This edge where we belonged before
To turn and see and speak and know
As root and branch knew how to grow.

As flesh transforms from wood,
I turn to you to start to speak
Believing I’ll be understood:
“This world is a wonder,
The gods are a wonder,
And you…”

The words, the worlds, and we
New made in new sun’s icy dawn
The slate-flecked sea, the very stones
Transmuted out of Ymir’s bones,
The landscape, like us, all newborn
As we were turned from tree…

The same, and not the same, and you
Are gloriously different too
Now I can move and see and learn,
My life-spark blazes and I burn
To speak. that you can answer me,
To say: “The world, the wonders, gods,
Our transformation,” urgently,
“And you…”

And time and change and hope and all
The stories that have yet to be,
Together, reaching out, to build
All that a man who was a tree
Can dream, a name, a home, a hall,
A saga, and you in them all,
You, who are like the gods,
Like me, a wonder, and free-willed.
(And standing staring back at me
Though all the world stands bare to see.)

I draw my new-won breath to speak:
“The world’s full of wonders,
The future’s a wonder
The gods are a wonder
And you…”

May 2013, on the train beside Lake Champlaign. Written as a stretch goal for the Sundown Kickstarter.