Speech is a kingly gift,
Shared open-handed, unlocking our word-hoard.
Under bare trees, broken sky,
The wind greets at year’s back end:
An old beginning, a held breath,
And crows answer, black rune against frosted field,
Written word, spoken sign.
A worn-down god, time-scarred, wyrd-scarred,
One eye bright under his hood,
Lord of Heroes, Ale Sharer, Giver of Rings,
Questing for his son, his brother, his assurance,
Wending his way through worlds
Until the low moon is a worn gold coin,
Dragons have eaten all the words.
Here he stands, bare-backed without currency,
Shouldering blame in a world grown stranger,
While the wolf waits and the witch is dead,
With nothing ahead but the long end
Time to come, wordless darkness, lit by doom
As lightning strikes a lone tree,
On high moorland, where farm is folly,
But, drawing the next breath, taking the next step,
He goes on, aslant across the furrow,
As the year ends, begins, swallowing its tail,
Stacking up riddles, as the crows answer the wind,
Taking thought against tomorrow,
Wanderer, Maze-Minded, All-Father,
Alone, holding his own.