Miriam Nash

The Nine Mothers of Heimdallr [Excerpt]


Who do you see in the flame-light, child?
Nine giants, the last giants
Who are the giants to you, child?
You’re my mothers, mother nine.

Who has fallen asleep in the corner?
Gjalp and Greip. Yes, those snores!
Atla’s pig stew’s almost ready
Eistla’s sharpening her sword.

Look, Angeyja’s boots are steaming!
Jarnsaxa’s grinding her gold teeth.
Eyrgjafa’s mind is in the future
past the cave-mouth, that’s her gift.

Now is the hour for tales, child,
rest your head on Ulfrun’s knee.
Is it the giant’s tale tonight?
Yes. I, Imthr will lead.

This is your tale, god giant child,
a tale of giants, a tale of gods
in early time, in frost-fire time
we lived snore-close, heart-close.

.           Before the realms, before the flames
.           before the gods or giants came
.           before the ice, before all names
.           there was a space.


Miriam Nash is a poet, performer and educator. Her first collection of poems All the Prayers in the House was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2017. It won an Eric Gregory Award (2015) and was runner-up for the Edwin Morgan Award (2016). Miriam leads creative writing and performance workshops in schools, museums, mental health organisations and prisons.