Berserkergang by James Frederick William Rowe

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Narrated by James Frederick William Rose



A cold wind shakes
A cold wind shakes my body
My bones shake my body
My bones are a cold wind

A drum thumps
A drum thumps within my chest
My heart thumps within my chest
My heart is a drum

A fire burns
A fire burns my face
My blood burns my face
My blood is a fire

A horn-blow sounds
A horn-blow sounds in my ears
My shout sounds in my ears
My shout is a horn-blow

A bear stands
A bear stands before me
I stand before me
I am a bear

And then…blackness

I come to when all has passed
To witness the carnage that I must have wrought
As I wear blood that is not my own
And my shield is torn by my own teeth

I fall into a melancholy
It will not abate for many nights
I eat not, and drink sparingly
I am as if dead

I am empty, lost to sense and self
I weep not
For to weep is to know grief
And there is no room for such in my desolation

The all-father died for seven days
For the sake of wisdom won he hanged
I too die for a week
But it is the price, not the reward

Finally, I return to my senses
My voice to song, my heart to joy
I am again at ease
I live once more

But how long will this last?
It is not I who musters the men
The fires of war are not lit by my brand
It is beyond my ken, I know not

But this I do:

As the life of an oak is reckoned
From the time it is an acorn
Till the wind which will fell it
So too is mine before I will fall
To the storm of my rage again


BIO:James Frederick William Rowe is a Rhysling-nominated poet and author out of Brooklyn, New York. In the last few years, he has cut out a substantial niche in the speculative poetry front, having seen over twenty-five poems published internationally in such markets as “Big Pulp”, “Songs of Eretz”, “Tale of the Talisman”, “Bete Noire”, “Heroic Fantasy Quarterly”, and “Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine”. When he is not writing verses and crafting yarns, he is employed as an adjunct professor of philosophy in the City University of New York, is pursuing a Ph.D. in the same subject, and works a variety of freelance positions.

The poet’s website can be found at