A Battle in Ulster by George Mackay Brown

Remarking, 'It is not my taste
To Wheeze on a white pillow
Nor to toil gravewards on a stick, murdered slowly
By avarice, envy, lust,'
Einar ran where the swords fell thickest.

An Irish axe
Struck the right shoulder of Sweyn the skald.
'In future,' said Sweyn,
'I will write my poems with the left hand.
I will sup a sinister broth.'

Near the end of the battle
Rolf returned to the ship, downcast.
'Gudrun,' he said, 'is a proud woman.
She will not bed with boys.
Hard wounds I sought
For thigh and chest and forehead today.
All I have got
Is a broken tooth, an eye as blue as an oyster,
And my pinkie scratched.
From now on, Gudrun,
I will court less particular girls.'



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