Fafnir

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Under the stars the great wise Worm lay dead;
But all that night the hero played his part,
Rejoiced the bride and had her maidenhead.
Having tasted for her pleasure Fafnir’s heart,
She woke at day-break in the tumbled bed.

In their cool, twilight world the birds began:
She knew their speech; the doom of human kind,
Brimming its banks and babbling as it ran,
Poured through the startled channels of her mind.
In that dim light she watched the sleeping man;

Saw Brynhild waken in the ring of fire,
Saw him with Brynhild in the marriage-bed,
Saw Brynhild wandering crazed with her desire,
The quarrel by the river and Sigurd dead
And Brynhild stretched beside him on the pyre.

Watching the naked man, a wild and grim
And brutal passion kindled in her heart;
She felt no fear; she did not pity him;
But saw with joy his body torn apart,
With love, the blood spout fresh from throat and limb.

The birds talked on, the world grew bright again;
She felt her children born and perish; she knew
Beauty and terror that shape the fates of men;
Her spirit grew hard with wisdom, and withdrew
From memory, and became the dragon’s den.

Fierce with desire she watched him wake and stir,
And moved to meet him as he threw her back
And crushed her with his arms and mounted her.
Then Sigurd gazing down saw in the black
Pits of her eyes the endless past recur;

Until once more he met the dragon’s stare
Watching him from that dark hole in the ground;
Once more he shuddered as Fafnir left the lair,
And, from the black intestines of the mound,
Came pouring coil on coil into the air.

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