Heorot (from Rose-Witch)

A dank, dark, desolate place. I met him

for the first time there. Thorn. Beneath

melting snow, rank rotting greens, this

smell oozing from my pores with the fear.

The old king’s hall, where the monster

feasts. You can read of such places,

but to stand within reach…


A stir of breeze, soft beyond high hall

timbers (darker loom against fading stars)

and then the voice in my ear: You can’t

trust her. My heart leaps (yes, against bone-cage)

as his wild, sly face appears—a man. Merely

a man. Sir Alwin, he says, mocking. Her pet name

for you? Elf-friend, you will save no one tonight.


Shriek of door hinges, flash of light. His hand

on my arm as I start forward, fumbling

for the horn. From the hall, a gurgling scream,

clash and clatter of weapons or of benches

wrenched from the floor. From Thorn, a sigh.

She’s a patent liar. Ask her if that’s not true.



8 thoughts on “Heorot (from Rose-Witch)”

  1. I really enjoyed the imagery of your poem the first time I read it and then a few days ago I started reading Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf and I went – “Wait a second” – and came back here. 🙂 Now the poem is even better! Awesome references – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, isn’t Heaney’s Beowulf wonderful? John Gardner’s novel GRENDEL is another view of the Beowulf story that has stuck with me for many years and must be in here somewhere. 🙂

      Thanks so much for coming back with such an encouraging comment!


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