To Loki Who Listens

Hail Loki, brother of Helblindi and Býleistr,
sons of needle-thin Laufey and the Jötunn Fárbauti,
full of deviousness and destruction like a thunderstruck
fire roaring through a dense thicket of leafy trees after
a sudden summer downpour; Lord of the stinging gadfly,
and the spider that creeps about on eight legs, the scorpion
that brings sudden, painful death with its venom, and the wolf
whose howl fills even stout men with dread; expert at tying knots,
master of the hook, bind-loosener, uncommon crook, you who can
open any lock and enter any room you please, inventor of the fishing net,
wielder of keys, and rider of breezes; Loki lie-smith, who knows how
to mix malice with mead, world-breaker, earth-shaker,
borrower of the cloak, teller of excellent jokes,
father of the worst of serpents and mother of the best of horses,
eater of hearts, speaker of unpleasant truths, Sigyn’s clever man;
I call to you, Loki of many names and many guises, whether you are
visiting your dear daughter in gloomy Helheimr, or walking with Óðinn
and Þórr, Mjölnir’s master, along the backroads of Iceland where the soil
is Nótt-black from volcanic ash and the people all eat fermented fish
and salted licorice, if you are flying over the snow-capped Føroyar cliffs
in falcon form or swimming against the swiftly eddying current as a
Vínland salmon, devising some elaborate scheme to use against
dull-witted Danish Trolls, or harassing a bunch of unbathed monks
so that they could not complete their matins prayers
in Northern Italy, where the long-bearded German kings came to settle,
or if you are sailing in the Black Sea with Hrymr at the helm of Naglfar,
your ship made of the nails of the slain, which you will use to ferry
your Ice Giant kin to the final battle at Vígríðr plain on the long foretold
day of doom; wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, Loki,
may my words reach your ear and turn your unquiet mind to me,
for I have much that I would convey to you, O much-loved
and much-hated Court Jester of the Æsir.

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