THE SWORD, by Cullen Groves:

Well, sword, how much of foemen’s blood have you drunk,
And into how many breasts have you sunk,
Deeper sunk than Love’s black honeyed darts?
I bare another breast before your blade,
Take it! Bite deep that I might be unmade,
To lie in sleep’s surcease.

It matters not what hand hath drave
Me through what heart; so go on, fall on me:
In silence you will lie, while I am raised
To laugh again in clash of blade on blade;

You found me in a howe-grave, laid across
A corpse-king’s breast, so ancient gone
No man could ken the wars he fought against
The gods, and I was forged before his reign;

You found me, and we slaked our thirst
For blood on Gotesfeld where Glamma fell,
At Vreitness where we feasted eagles well;
We ran with blood beneath the walls of Hror;

No battle-spear had broke your mail
But Irsa, wife of Oskuld-King, just looked
And pierced you with her eyes; your uncle’s wife,
A woman, killed you when no king of war could;

Did I lay naked there upon the bed
Between your naked flesh and trembling queen?
Some nights; but I knew what came the nights
That I was sheathed and hung upon the wall;

Go on then! Throw yourself upon my edge
And feel its venom-tempered hardness cold
Inside; and I will find another hand
That scorns a woman’s weakness for the clash of war!

Hark now! I hear them out beyond the door,
The king’s wolves howling in the night for war;
So I have lain with death; discovered I shall die,
And do you tremble, sword, your thirst to slake?
No, you were always steady; my hands shake
Will you not let me sleep?

I will! But drive me deep.
Cullen Groves lives in Moscow, Idaho, trying to hack it as a writer while still bumming around where he graduated from the University of Idaho in 2011 with a BS in philosophy. He leads a double life as an errant fighting-man of Barsoom, and a 16th century German court poet; this sometimes leads to confusion. As of now, a piece of his has appeared in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.

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