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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend


Four poems by Carol L. MacKay

A Gift for a Gift
Based upon characters fromBurnt Njal’s Saga”

Hallgerda shines his shoes in the mornings
before his sole touches pavement.

This morning
Black laces wake without tight knots
his shoe-backs are unslumped,
no tattle-tale wrapper clings to the underside.
She knows she’s being repaid for her work.

Gunnar defers to her household sense.
At night when she polishes the gleam of their future;
grand plans, grasping, and hard-got,
he offers his nine virtues, his dutiful payment
which she tallies and banks for each of her kindnesses.

First published in Lichen, Spring/Summer 2006

Three Poems of Kathlin Hermandsdottir


I take the hat box:
gold purple paisley.
Empty, except for
a bag of yew,
runes for a leaden night.
I migrate,
leave a mountain ash afternoon
for the strangely hatless sky.

Under Asgard, Across the Sea

Under this wait-ten-minutes sky,
my wandering shoes
pluck lazy western ballads from wild oat and bluestem.
And where the chorus should amble along,
industrious galas rumble into a purposeful run
Basso profundo, under the grove’s dripping canopy.


My poems all begin O
Wide never-ending O
The meeting circle O
O of the earth
Odin’s monogram
O your face
hanging Open.