The Song of the Valkyrs

By George Sterling

Horizons of the world, what hide ye from our sight?
    What Fates sing now from darkness their ancient battle-song?
Are those the armored Valkyrs men hear across the night?
    What god hath set the trumpet to lips austere and strong?

The deeps and heights are shaken. The walls of the Dark
    Tremble with all their stars, and all stars reel.
Shadows from outer night draw closer now to hark
    The echo of what thunders, the music of whose steel?
On The Great War

Whose is the war? Who first hath drawn the sword?
    "A king!" cry the Valkyrs, "whose rule is on the race!
Woe to the many, who hold one man their lord!
    For one hath loosed the tempest, and hid the heavens' face!

"War's gate is down, and Thor! Thor is forth!
    He hath thrown off old harness, to forge him weapons new.
The gaunt guns toll, sounding from south to north,
    To call young men to doom, till young men are few.

"The old men shall call, and the young men shall hear,
    Hear and set out, who never shall come back—
They that might have sown in the spring of the year,
    They that now shall reap the bitter grain and black.

"The tides of doom's sea are mounted unto flood;
    The long dykes are down, sundered at one man's breath.
All the youth of Europe shall render of their blood.
    All the youth of Europe shall sit at dice with Death.

"Ravens, appear! and come, ye birds of prey
    From high and lonely places, for now is food for all.
Wolves of the night, be early on your way!
    The fold is left open; they guard another wall.

"Thor! Thor is forth! Hark to his ocean-voice!
    The blood of the world makes scarlet his hands.
Thor is forth upon the dark! Sisters, rejoice!
    A king hath loosed the god whose sword is on the lands!"

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