Death of a Woodcutter

Ravens are sweeping down the line of trees,
diving into a fog that
rose up with a scent of pines and salt and
rotting rafts of logs.

Blood has been let here.
The ravens rest at the water’s margins.
Oh watcher’s at Valhalla’s edge,
go back! Report, your charge is

dead. His eyes unclosed, his head
is sinking into the shallow tide,
under the pines, pooling a murky red.
Ravens, fetch the ladies!

“This is a lowly dowry,” Odin’s ravens cry,
“but we will bend our wings to it.”
He must have been a warrior; see
how rough his hands from where he gripped his axe.
See, how broad his shoulders from bearing the
yoke of his armour, the yoke of his standard.
Look, see how violently cleft his skin,
from the beast that tore at him.

The ladies are returning. They bear
him on their shoulders. See, his eyes are
closing now, in a last contentment,
he must see a field of corpses,
he must see a fertile field for saplings.