11:4: “ Jörmungandr”, by Vajra Chandrasekera

11:4: “ Jörmungandr”, by Vajra Chandrasekera

I am sea-thread under sky-candle,
son of fire and sorrow.
I hold my tail in my mouth,
coil the world, I cross myself
to cradle you.
In night under water,
all your little lights
fill my backbone, I carry
your hearts within me.

In the last weather of weapons,
when him who hammers
     lord of goats, son of the gallows, warden of the earth
smites and sunders me
I shall fall fallow
ungirdle the world,
give him this stillborn victory:
nine last paces ere he drowns in my wound-sea.

Vajra Chandrasekera lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He writes poetry to escape all his unfinished novels. He says:

“Flame-farewelled” is an old Norse kenning for an honourable death, presumably as in “Viking funeral”. It stuck in my head and got mixed up with images of undersea fibre-optic cables, worries about internet censorship and the idea that the traditional relationship between Thor and Jörmungandr needed to be inverted. Who better to represent oppressive authority than a big guy with a hammer?

Public domain illustration is from Atalanta Fugiens (1617).

2 Responses to “11:4: “ Jörmungandr”, by Vajra Chandrasekera”

  1. Nicola says:

    Brilliant poem… so allusive and texturally rich!

  2. Tania says:

    Beautiful tonal language. Well done!

Leave a Reply