“Choice,” by Ann Groa Sheffield

(My personal jury is out regarding whether Freya is the leader of the Valkyries or whether they just work for Odin. Generally I lead toward them working for Odin, for although Freya does choose half of the slain, She does so for Her own purposes and sends them to Her hall.) Still, Freya does choose half of those slain in battle. Hence, Ann’s poem applies.

Choice

How will you pass?               Quickly, perhaps
in a welter of blood                that waters the field.
Or will you lie wounded,        left on the war plain
broken and helpless,             struggling for breath…?
(merciful wolves                    will hasten your way.)
Or mayhap you’ll linger,        laid on the straw
wracked with fever                and feebler each day.
Swift or slow,                         the end’s the same.

How will you see me?          As screaming harpy,
bloody and taloned,              tearing her prey?
Or some vision                     out of Wagner—
stern and fair,                       a fearless maid
With spear and shield          and shining mail?
Or will you sense                 my own true skin—
born with sadness,               old as strife,
but caring still                       for each I claim.

–by Ann Groa Sheffield. From Idunna, issue 101: Valkyries

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