Odin didn’t have to give it up,

you know;

didn’t have to pluck out that Nordic orb,

that gob-stopper, whose twin, it’s said,

was the sun.

He didn’t have to give it up

because he was chief of the gods, you know,

and rank does have its privileges;

but Mimir the dwarf said it

was the least he could do

to drink from the fount of wisdom.

So "plop" it went out of the socket;

and Odin got his drink.

Did he guzzle it down and smack his lips,

or savor it drop by drop?

Or was it, you know,

thick and bitter

and smell all of the grave?

Odin later died, of course;

all the Norse gods did.

The Frost giants got the best of them.

One-eyed Odin was wise by then and saw it coming;

but when your destiny’s to be chow for a wolf

isn’t it better to own all your parts

in happy incomprehension

than it is to know that all myths are as grass,

that they wither and perish as leaves on the trees?

And what was in it anyway,

in that chalice that made him wise,

beyond grief and pain and patience

and all the loved things we have to fling over

to be as wise as dwarves?