it is the ninth year, midwinter,
a season of black trees and a cold so fierce
that you tremble in spite of the warm bodies
that cover you in the night.
gather this week at Uppsala.
For nine days, we feast on blood and meat
and leave offerings at Odin's temple.
My eyelids and arms feel heavy
with the honey-sweet smell of mead.
the sacrifices begin, males offered to Odin.
We hang them in the trees outside the temple--
males of nine species; dogs, horses, men.
Their stillness and their color frighten me,
bone statues strung up in the black of the trees.
fear of the bodies is baseless.
I know that Odin will be pleased.
Til árs ok friðar.