Four poems by Carol L. MacKay
A Gift for a Gift
Based upon characters from “Burnt Njal’s Saga”
Hallgerda shines his shoes in the mornings
before his sole touches pavement.
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.
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
O your face