Oz Ragnarok

[Recent pyropoem referencing ‘Ragnarok’, the End Times in Norse Mythology, as well as the Norse myth of the god Odin’s shamanic self-sacrifice on the tree of life/knowledge. Many Australians speak of Australia as ‘Oz’. Photo on the main highway NSW south coast about 80-100 km from our home in the southern highlands. We have now had to self-evacuate twice from approaching firefronts, but so far our property itself in Bundanoon has not been burnt, while parts of Bundanoon have, with four houses lost, and more in nearby Wingello.]

Oz Ragnarök

The great Wolf Fenrir, with fire blazing from his eyes and nostrils, will run across the earth, with his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw against the top of the sky, devouring everything in his path. The great dragon Jormungand will spit his venom over all the world, poisoning land, water, and air alike. The dome of the sky will be split, and from the crack shall emerge the fire-giants from Muspelheim. (‘Ragnarök’/ End Times, Norse Mythology for Smart People website)

Yesterday’s fire attack doused 100 m from home,
you walk your paddocks leavened with gum leaves
in new guise: it seems Odin’s corpse-hungry ravens
have left their feathers, curved black scimitars
of microwaved elegance, smooth as Afro-baby skin,
dully shiny, they snap like brittle people or futures.

Burning for enlightenment, Odin hung on the tree
for nine days, sacrificing himself to himself,
a news-collecting raven on each shoulder,
at wit’s end, the longed-for runes finally
flowing like dreams in the waters below.

Stunned, fire app our oracle, ignoring enlightenment,
we hang outwitted on the sky dome-splitting rage
and fickle fate of exploding trees, poisonous air
now six months of sad new summer, their burning
jaws devouring metal, minds, not yet our separation
from ourselves the world, old knowledge never lost.

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on January 16, 2020.

2 Responses to “Oz Ragnarok”

  1. Hi Peter and good to know you’ve emerged fairly unscathed from the fires, as have yours truly, thanks be to Lady Luck I reckon.

    In Oz Ragnarok you’ve created an impressive poem that captures the fear and relief, but also the deeper implications, questions and connections of the inner/outer that you pull off so well. The imagery is stunning, the “curved black scimitars of microwaved elegance, smooth as Afro-baby skin”, or the “fire app our oracle”. Quite an achievement to bring Odin to Oz, and yet we need that as a counter to the 24/7 news cycle as it’s called.

    My only quibble is with the syntax of the final lines:

    jaws devouring metal, minds, not yet our separation from ourselves the world, old knowledge never lost.

    “our separation from ourselves the world…” confused me a little. Have I missed something?

  2. Thanks Brendan, much appreciated as always. Decided to drop comma between ‘ourselves’ and ‘the world’, so as to more firmly equate the two. So, paraphrasing, trying to say: unlike Odin’s self-sacrifice and ordeal, which brought him enlightenment, this cataclysm of ours has not yet ‘devoured’ our separation/alienation from both ourselves and the world, which, as we know at some deep level of our being (‘old knowledge’, ‘enlightenment’), are in fact not separate but one, or One. Hope that helps?

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