Dawn makes brass of the air and I raise my cup:
I, to whom you whispered first of glass-scorched earth
and the burning beast: I who calmed your lips with mine
murmuring to you that you were strong enough:
I who bore your shield through silver peaks at last:
I have earned this first address.
May you ring on smiling tongues forever:
Fear-scorning, scale-splitting, all-freeing–Hail!
Hail! She holds the dragon’s heart in hand,
Ruby-hard, unmoving–and her own beats strong.
Hail! And let the hero’s lovers sing.
Joy-music breaks like the sea and I raise my cup:
I who worship the knife of your eyes:
I who wore your collar on the burning crags,
for you taught me to give my body to courage:
I who craved your orders and your hands:
My turn, now, to order the world.
May you live long past the crumbling hills,
Victorious and strong as ramparts–Hail!
Hail! Her corded arms, her shining mail,
The panther swiftness of her flashing hand!
Hail! Let those who love her best give praise.
Wrym’s teeth sharpen the wine and I raise my cup:
I who counted breaths in hushed night, homebound,
praying for your footfalls: I who fell upon you three,
my loves, flame-braving, loud with life and pain
and closed your blackened wounds with kisses.
Now I shout to wake the world.
May you live–we live–whole with this joy,
Through every coming rain of arrows–Hail!
Hail! She holds them all around her now,
Fourfold laurels, earned, and shared with all.
Hail! For love that ends in victory.
AUTHOR BIO: Ada Hoffmann commutes to southern Ontario from an obscure globular cluster populated mostly by elves. Her poetry has appeared in Star*Line and Goblin Fruit. You can find her online at http://ada-hoffmann.livejournal.com or on Twitter at @xasymptote.