The World Tree

(Odin recounts his hanging)

In the great gap was the tree
before I was blinded  
it was firmly planted 
and I laid my noose taught

The tenses swirled below 
sentient as hungry tendrils
while I, a child, stretched
blue for killing a parent 

I built my life in its branches
scratched my initials in bark
it would be known 
by only my name

It was gnawed at by snakes
in the floating vacuum below 
split at seams by bird chortles
that frayed bloom tips above 

I hanged myself from it
creak-screams snapped air
but I didn’t die
my ego, too heavy for stems 
was caught in defiant leaves
before I fell completely 
into knowing another way

Z. D. Dicks

3 Questions for Z. D. Dicks

What was your process for creating these poems?

I looked to the Norse myths themselves and tried to capture a small part of each one and flesh out some detail. I wanted to explore what it would actually be like to exist in that space.

What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?

I used a free form for the poems as it represents a more contemporary feel to a very traditional subject. Norse mythology boasts some of the oldest poetry and I felt compelled to put my own slant on it.

What is the significance of this work to you?

These three poems represent the birth of Norse mythology, a navigation of the world tree and the often overlooked wife of Loki. The significance is to touch on the pain of creation, initially with the world and then between inhabitants of a shared space and then full circle touching on the mother of monsters. The point, if there is one, is that suffering is constant and it isn’t how to avoid it but rather accept it. There is a lot of esoteric knowledge touched on in Norse mythology and I tried to share a small part of it.

Z. D. Dicks holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. 

In 2016 he founded the Gloucestershire Poetry Society and the Gloucester Poetry Festival. His poetry is widely published.

He currently has three collections 'Malcontent' and 'Intimate Nature' with Black Eyes publishing (2019) and one 'Vexed' with Hedgehog Poetry Press (2020). 

Helen Ivory (Ink, Sweat and Tears) described his work as 'muscular language' and is himself 'a gothic Seamus Heaney' according to Anna Saunders.

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