All Their Voices

In Hel’s hall,

the tables do not groan under

their burdens of whole roast elk and boar and geese,

and axes do not split open barrels

sticky with mead and foaming ale

to spill and splash on the ground,

but there is food enough to fill

every hungry belly to satiation and surfeit,

but not excess;

none overeat so grotesquely as to spew

their meals back up under this roof.

In Hel’s hall,

there is quiet conversation spiced with smiles,

not the clash of endless battle,

the roars of warriors seeking each new day’s death

with axe and sword and spear,

nor the clash of tankard on tankard

and tables toppling over amidst deafening shouts.

In Hel’s hall,

There are places to sit and read,

to spin and knit and weave;

to gather flowers and tend a garden,

to carve a toy for a child or a cabinet for a…

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