What’s In a Name?

I shared this earlier in the week on Stitched Smile Publications’ WordPress, but as it ties neatly in with Beowulf: The Midgard Horrors, I thought I’d make you wait one more week before we trip backwards in time. I know … The dragon deity has your interest piqued. No worries. Next week, she and Gandolina shall return. Today we’re focusing on my favorite character from Beowulf: Grendel’s mother. We’re learning a bit about who she is, at least through my imaginative thought process. As a lover of all things dark and fantastical, she has always appealed to me. As a child, I remember thinking, “Why doesn’t she have a name?” Perhaps you’ve wonder this as well? I mean, even the men who had little to no part in the overall structure of Beowulf had a name. Perhaps it was a sexist ploy? Perhaps it can be summed up in the ancient manner, which still has an unfortunate resonance today, of devaluing women. Or maybe it’s something altogether different. If you’ve been reading the Saturday posts, then you know her name already. If you’re new, welcome, and prepare to learn a secret hidden for centuries. Some of you have also born witness to the connection I’ve made through her with Unferth, and his ever failing blade, Hrunting. Mysteries shall be unraveled and secrets revealed. Here you will see it was indeed intentional on her part to keep her name removed from the annals of history. The world knew her only as Grendel’s mother, but she had her reasons. Prepare yourself for the coming of Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. Adventure awaits …

What’s In a Name
(The Seduction of Unferth)

“Cain’s descendants mated with the angels shunning grace.
Those of us remaining hide among you in this place.
Skin as stone and snake hide; hair like tentacles and scale;
Ruling from these caverns underneath where we prevail …
Magical and horrifying, sorcery and sword …
Weapons we have crafted will not harm me or my horde.
Hrunting I present you; it will grant the strength of ten.
Something in your eyes says you want more than mortal men.
Go ahead and take it; touch the blade and feel it burn.
Hrunting will possess you; it can sense the way you yearn.
Many splendid wonders in my kingdom I have made.
Over on the wall, some from my ancestors displayed.
Giants and the fallen angels course within my veins.
Mortals best be wary as I free their fear from chains …
None above on Midgard have the will to conquer me.
Yet the spirits whisper darker days that they can see.
Future set in motion can be altered if by chance.
I have seen this future; still I long for this romance.
Even evil beings know the treasures held in love.
Curse the ones who hate us; curses on God high above!
He condemned my fathers and my mother’s long ago,
Still they knew what love meant; still their hearts found room to grow.
Unferth, you shall wed me as you bed me in my home.
Grendel has departed up to your lands, set to roam.
Others, yes, my siblings, but you’ll never find them here.
Most are dead; forgotten; others hide bereft of cheer.
No one knows my name, for if a name becomes well known,
It can give the wielder power over flesh and bone.
Grindylin, I tell you, for to trust me is my aim.
Grindylin, dear Unferth, is my secret; is my name.
Only you and others, sisters, husband, and my brother
Ever will I share this; to the world, I’m Grendel’s mother …
Yes, I’m Grendel’s mother, Unferth; let me make that clear.
Soon the lands of Hrothgar’s keep will tremble, washed in fear.
I am darkness coming; I am nightshade; I am death.
Come to feast on mortals; come to taste a final breath!
Lay with me, my Unferth, lay while moonlight fills the skies …
Lay with my, my Unferth; drink the venom from my thighs …
Let yourself be welcomed by the love in my embrace,
Given all you’ve longed for in the pleasure of my space.
Heed a single warning, power in the name I grant …
Beowulf; beware him; now come nearer as I chant
Filling you with magic like no other witch can do.
Come and take me, Unferth; be the man I see in you!”

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Grendel’s mother, Grindylin …
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Author: jamesmatthewbyers

James Matthew Byers resides in Wellington, Alabama with his wife, kids, a dog named after an elf, and two tortoises. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master's in 2010. His next epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, will be published by Stitched Smile Publications, LLC in late 2017.

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