This is the first part of an extended poem draft.
A quick and subtle flame along the course of time
now licks and burns its way through endless years and days
to bring the gods to death, the gods themselves in Asgard.
The power of this flame, which, first a seed, will grow
to wreath the worldly Ash with burning vine of fire,
a god himself, is Loki. He warned the gods of men;
they steal the right of gods; they take and rape and cheat
at will; such darkness holds their rotting, hollow hearts.
But gods did never heed the father of the flame,
for they were given hope that more might come of men
by counsels sent from Odin. Thus he, with cunning way,
conceived alone a war between himself and all
who stood against his word; a war none knew but he.
The citadel of gods was once unringed by wall;
it trusted to the hearts of those who dwelled within.
But as the gods had grown in power on the earth,
and as the giants fled before the thunder's might,
they wished a surer peace, not courage but a wall,
that heart-strength need not rise but rest instead at home,
must now protect fair Asgard. The subtle god of flame
convinced his fellow gods to enter into faith
with one renowned for craft, a giant known as Hrim.
If Hrimir could by art a wall of flawless form
around the endless bound of Asgard's precious frame
exact in winter's time, then Freya, pure and fair,
his concubine would be. 'For surely,' subtle fire
said to his fellow gods, 'it is beyond all craft.
But he will try it yet, for who will pass a chance
to have the spring-sweet Freya? The word of gods will hold,
the wall will swiftly rise, yet Freya will be safe.'
But now the end of cold draws near with ceaseless tread,
a march of winter dread, for Hrimir with his craft
upon a godlike horse, called Svathilfari fair,
had drawn the stones and laid each one in flawless place;
the winter nearing end, the wall was nearly done,
and all the gods then feared the loss of spring-sweet Freya.
The doom now rumbles near; it roars upon the ear;
it measures out the fear of Asgard with its beat.
And what is thus to blame? The subtlety of flame,
and Loki is his name, the captain of deceit.
So let his hands be bound, so let his arms be pinned,
with steel that flames confounds as penalty for sin.
For he, the fatal foe, has promised Freya fair
to titan born of snow and lost her in his dare.
And who is this that speaks with darkness and with rhyme
in mimicry of speech on tongues of gods sublime?
Some farmer's bastard-brat upon a dirt-packed floor
has poured his stinking breath out like a flippant fool.
You did not thus protest when first I had proposed
the building of this wall without your god-born hands
encased in sweat and dirt; and Freya for a thrall
the gods in their demands did promise for the work.
You gave your word yourself; and Odin gave his word;
and Freya, too, was heard the treaty-words to tell.
So pin us all to stone and bind us all as one;
I bear no blame alone. So let us simply let
this treaty lapse and fail; for are we not the gods,
beyond all force and spell? We are beyond all reach.
The honor of the gods must ever be maintained;
our word must iron be through suffering and pain,
unbroken and unlapsed, for there our power lies,
that truth is in our blood, the truth that never dies,
the troth that never fails. All covenants are ours,
all boundaries of old. But gods without the spring
may scarcely be called gods; the youth that wreathes our brows,
refreshment in our thoughts, are all in Freya's hands.
A promise we have made, but flame did also speak,
and one more promise laid, that Freya would be safe.
Let Loki keep his bond, or Loki will be bound.
(to be continued)