The Ship of Nails

Naglfar by Dhattura (2012)

“Naglfar” by Dhattura (2012)

One of my favourite things is mythology.  In particular, Norse mythology has always fascinated me.  With its rich tales and sagas, characters, gods and events, the old Norse stories have always been a source of inspiration.  I wrote this short piece a while ago about Naglfar, the ship of nails, and decided to post it here finally.  Hope you enjoy!  Originally written on the 23rd June 2016.


The Ship of Nails

It anchors in the fracture somewhere. Harboured in a cold world between the now and the imminent.

It is a ship. An infinite-masted hulk of immense age, one made entirely out of the fingernails and castings of the gallant dead. Behold tearful eyes to grand Naglfar, ship of the perished.

A ghastly vessel with a purpose as yet unrealised, it idles in meditation within the dead calm of the in-between. For a glacial eternity it has waited patiently for the moment the horns call its name; the rapturous trice Ragnarök comes to cleave the world asunder.

And when the time-encrusted and long submerged anchor is finally raised, Naglfar will set off, silencing into the new dawn, sails billowing with the gnashing winds of resolute cataclysm.

Vígríðr, attainable destination of the destinationless. Journey’s end for the driven cleaver of ancient waters. An unsettled harbour, an imminent surging of war, all this and oblivion lie beyond the vermilion curtain of horizon.

Below decks of weathered nail, chained to desiccated corpses, a horde lies in cargo. They will be ferried, fate-bound to engage in the great battle, a final confrontation with the stricken old gods. And all around them, as the ravaged skies fall like shattered ice, a lone wolf shall take the sun in its mighty jaws. And in his ravenousness, swallow it whole.

He of the jötunn will take the ship’s helm. An old sea captain, Hrym is his name. From Jötunheimr of the fracture he hails. His stern nod shall raise the anchor, heavy with the rust and barnacles of woe, and in his dying breaths direct the cadaverous hands that command rope.

He of Fárbauti and Laufey, father of the wolf will be the master’s equal. Together making unheard passage towards solemn Midgard, they will approach the decay of grandeur: the swallowing of time absolute.

A skeletal ship of nails heralding desolation in its spectral wake, it cuts the waters of the now and the imminent. A dying, muted symphony of portent separating the threads between worlds. The Harbinger of Dissolution will drift towards ruin, slicing its steadfast path into the murky unknown of futures untold.

Boldly, Naglfar sails on.

15 thoughts on “The Ship of Nails

  1. Wooooowww… That was something! A great poem Sturlason himself would be reading with devotion. Great story, I really like the old Norse sound to it, the poetic rythm in the words. I learned a couple of things as well:)

    Liked by 1 person

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