Ever since the fortieth winter
the wind bit sharper, like splinters
from sea vessels’ weather-hulls
that bristle and peel with the gathered salt
of many storm-waved sojourns.
Each winter that passed, the thunderheads
that drift away above sent colder rains
on my unhelmed, uncrowned brow.
The rain rolled down my beard and splashed
on my mailshirt’s silver rings––froze
the worn, wearing flesh that clothes
the burning blood paths by the bone-lappings.
Blizzards bout the mead hall again and again
but my hearth fire blazes, warm, still.
Until: blaze broke stillness when the sky-spit molten fires fell:
thanes’ scorched shields crashed, shredded by the ring-hoarder, the worm dreaded
who spat his scouring breath on our roofs –– scorned my fifty winters and the peace I built.
I, ring-giver, peace-winner, will be dragon-slayer.