How subtle are the gods! And yet more subtle flame!
Thus Loki moonlight took, the blindness of the snow,
the heartlessness of cold; he mixed them with his fire,
that madness might take shape, the handiwork of gods.
Work on, fine horse, with speed, O Svalthifari swift!
Work on, and shift these stones, with steady pace work on!
The day is nearly done, the winter nearly passed,
but Hrim will blessing have, and springtime in his bed,
for one and one alone of all the stones is left!
And have I not long dreamed of pouring down my joy
upon her lovely form, and have I not recalled
with every working night for months that came and went
without a rest or cease, the first fair sight I had
of she who haunts my dreams? Such sweetness and such light
would I not crown with gold? The gods in foolish troth
a concubine would give for but a simple price;
but she is more and more, the finest of the gods,
inspiring awe and love. The work was hard and long,
but nothing to compare with flawless, fairest Freya.
And almost are we done! Work on, work on, work on!
Then Loki took his work, the frenzy born of flame,
and sent it through the air. It curled around like scent,
it trickled forth like breeze, and reached the titan-steed
who breathed it deep inside. And madness flamed in eye;
it flecked the jaw with foam; the steed with phantom fears
was seized and overcome, and fled, and dragged the stone
until the leather broke. And off it went like wind.
And Hrimir, crying out, in vain did try to calm
the frenzy of the horse, and when the horse was lost,
he seized the strap that held the final piece of wall
and pulled with titan pull, as giants pull, and strained,
and moved the stone an inch and then an inch again
and did not cease to pull. But far the frenzied horse
had dragged the heavy stone and when the giant reached
again the gap of wall, the day and sun were gone:
the winter reached its end. The ground grew rich with frost;
its gentle shards spread out to farthest edge of sight
in thick and snowy growth, for, sinking to his knees,
his head upon his hands, the giant Hrimir wept.
And thus with joy the gods returned to holy Asgard.
Their songs above the bow brought colors to the world
beyond mere mundane hues; and spring herself in light
was crowned upon the hill as harps were played with notes
of which we only dream, to celebrate the wall
and fairest Freya saved. But Odin on his throne
in dread and dark did brood. The ravens at his side
were silent as the night. One eye looked forth through time
and saw the endless years. No joy was in his face.
And from his throne he went in cloak of shadowed night
and stood in grim and gloom amidst the Asgard-dance.
'O gods!' the father-god did shout, and silence grew
and spilled out on the green until the breeze itself
was waiting for his word. The wisest god then spoke.
(to be continued)