A poem, by a young lady who has reason to know.
Wagner got it wrong, you know.
There are no winged horses,
no gleaming breast plates
no long blonde braids flying
over a pristine battlefield.
The Valkyrie doesn’t gleam
Sticky carbon residue
from years of burnt jet fuel
paints her metal raven dark.
Red dyed hydraulic fluid
pumps through her veins
instead of oxygen enriched blood.
Though, truth be told, her cabin has been washed in both.
This dual bladed, semi-rigid, underslung raven
slows. Her circling wings beat the air staccato.
She and her crew of wolves,
have followed the concussive silences,
the stench of fear and sulfur,
To where men lie in ragged pieces
or crumpled around themselves
their body fluids leaking onto the ground.
Even during the battle’s rage
through the smoke
and the bullets pinging on her fuselage
the raven and her wolves choose:
The Valkyrie lifts the ones she’s chosen
and carries them to her hall of healing,
guarded by her wolves from further harm
until next time.
How can you tell blood from hydraulic fluid?
Blood dries tacky.
Hydraulic fluid makes you slip.
© 2007 by Kacey Grannis
One of the more interesting books I've read recently is John Grigsby's Beowulf & Grendel, which takes a comparative mythology and archelogical approach to reconstructing ancient Indo-European religions. Or, I should almost say, "'the' ancient Indo-European religion," as it appears to have had strong resemblances in every place practiced -- much in the same way that philologists can speak of a single Indo-European language, which lies behind Greek and English and many other tongues.
The Valkyries have strong parallels in the Keres of ancient Greece, and the Morrigan of the Irish stories, and many others. Grigsby devoted a chapter to the subject of how these various goddesses were seen across Europe, and how they had both bright and dark sides. Like a human woman, who can be the sweetest thing in the world, and the source of the greatest pain in life, these goddesses were loving and murderous, even to the same man.
It makes for interesting reading, should any of you be curious about the topic.