n o r t h m a n

the shout goes up
a cry transpierces cries
an arrow in a splinterd arrow
pinning all vibration
to the woven board of silence

& the heaven shakes
the cloud is burst
& thunders pour like rain
their shafts of branching light
down Beacon Hill

the shout goes up
the rivers leap & rush upstream
the streams raise up their voices
till the air is dappled, dazzled
in the prism of their spray

the arrowshaft is shatterd
& I see
this moment

the shield-hall where I slept
my boots against the board
my pillow, sword
my mead, dried blood
my bread bared breastbone
& the splintering of bone the breaking
of that bread

& still the severd meal
is hung
a string of bones about my neck
the creatures I have killed

their flesh is mine
their blood flows strongly
to the song-strain of this heart
whose love was victory
whose mercy was the sword

till silent in a druid's hut
in the green land of the Angle
true speech strippd my soul:

the hard bleak sea, endured
the hard blank wind, endured
endured, the solitude of bone
the cracking of the breastbone
as the swordman slew himself in time.
but this much unendured, & unendurable:

a bird's bright wing
a word
a single kiss

video screen showing only noise
gordon kennedy : a drunk man looks at the thistle hotel gordon kennedy : the conjure box gordon kennedy : my lips laid cold gordon kennedy : the face of things
gordon kennedy : myself gordon kennedy : inspiration gordon kennedy : northman gordon kennedy : hillside stream