When Ragnarok comes, it will be bleakest winter.
The moon will turn black on black.
Petroleum clouds, writhing, will deform into chimeras.
The sun, reduced to a shadow, will darken the sky.
Memory of light will be forgotten.
Snow will fall, gray porridge burying the world.
Treetop brambles will spike through ash heaps
As rivers clot into mud, and lakes,
Thickening volcanic soup, pop bubbles, sullenly.
Oceans will degrade into slurry.
The wind will whistle between broken teeth.
Bags of dust will fill the air.
Hearkening to the long horn, warriors will grasp their hilts.
Full well, without seeing, they will know its meaning:
Fenrir has broken his chains, he is vaulting towards Asgard.
Once formidable, barriers between the worlds will disintegrate.
Earth will shake at the approach of giants.
Monsters will battle the gods.
Father of all the gods, Odin will push with his mighty arm Fenrir’s snout backwards
As his boot pins the animal’s lower jaw to the ground.
And then in one overpowering motion the wolf’s mouth will slam shut,
Breaking Odin’s back like a stick.
Of what use will it be to be all-seeing if you cannot escape your fate?
Beyond the horizon, the Midgard Serpent will rouse, thrashing about.
The seas will churn in turmoil, frothy egg batter, water not boiling.
Tidal waves taller than fortresses will collide against the coastlines.
Cliff walls will slough off, sliding, as rocks, debris, and sand,
Sucked into the ocean by retreating vortices, excavate cavernous holes.
At the outmost perimeter of the farthest waters, Thor will swing downwardly
His impetuous hammer, striking at the very apex of the Midgard Serpent’s head, bulbous.
Suddenly going limp, the worm will blast hot venom in spurts,
Bathing the hero, unvanquished heretofore, in poison, head-to-toe.
Nine steps, he will fall dead.
Gloating over slain Frey, now bedimmed, a lump of cold slag,
Cackling Loki will turn to face Heimdall, striding.
Evenly matched, they will destroy each other, passionate in their excess.
Roaring Surtr will raise his flaming sword, igniting the universe.
The world will end to recreate itself anew.
Originally published in Heart & Mind Zine, Issue 3 (Spring 2016)
Judge’s Choice Award Winner
Battle of the Doomed Gods (1882) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine