Image Credit: British Library

Grendel’s arm hangs dripping in the Heorot-hall
Built upon the Petrine slab:
The gruesome grasp of Hell’s lapdog
Gripped by the bands of one stronger than he.

Danes whose eyes once clouded by streams,
Whose ears stopped with wailings’ wax:
Now freed to look upward at the lifeless limb
That once held them locked.

Whenever eye or ear would dim or heart despair anew,
The Danes need only upward look
To see, to remember, to embrace, to celebrate
The Geat’s victory on their behalf.

Whether Hrothgar or Unferth, noble or scoundrel,
No Dane could cleanse the hall.
Had not Hygelac’s heir willed to come
The golden hall would be ashes.

Do not look to Danish materiel: spear, javelin, shield
Fit no better than unused royal armor.
Look to the Geatish hand that wounded Grendel
And feast with meat and mead on his benches.

10-26-2017 (revised 10-6-2018)


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