Hanging from a Tree

That’s how he did it, by hanging from a tree,
how Óðinn won the ancient runes.
He challenges us to change our lives
by seeking those mysteries. And so we must,
by hanging also on a hallowed tree.
But what is Yggdrasil, and where might it be,
that we may ride that rood for its runic treasures?
Everywhere, throughout and in all of the world,
the trunk, the roots, and the towering branches
of that runic tree are running, everywhere.
But gods we are not, so go for a tree
that’s a tiny part of the total whole.
For each who has eyes, they’re all around:
literal and figurative, both large and small.
Person by person, those pines will vary,
so seek a tree for your singular truth.
A regular tree at the Ramblewood site
isn’t often special, but the Spirit emerged
when, with hooks in my back that harrowing night,
an ordinary tree was Yggdrasil for me,
stretching my skin and stretching my mind.
With time enough, I obtained the runes,
through toil after. Toil? Yes, indeed,
for work we must, for that wondrous gain.
For a limited being, laying infinity
into the soul and body is a serious task
that is wholly analagous to another hanging.
If nights all nine were needed by Óðinn,
then longer, surely, for a living man,
is the work of winning that wondrous gain!

*********

(I’m not sure if I have any precedents for next week’s poem, except perhaps A Skaldic Eagle Takes Flight, the first poem of this current series of weekly updates.)

Copyright © 2017 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

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