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Niveous Skies

This story is a wind
Arriving from the sun
Magnetospheric particles collide
Birthing aurora borealis,
Prismatic ribbons of light

Forming above the Kara Sea
Past the Nordenskiöld Archipelago
Magnetic fields demarcate
These lines of extinction
Drawn in distant reaches

Siberian land of the polar bear
Seal-hunter at the edge of sea ice
Maritime transmutative shamans
Mythic shape-shifters
Become human at home

Breathed into being by Daedal Spirits
As foretold Polaris is born
Guiding star of a lost tribe
Daughter of Ursa Major,
Resplendent mother of the night sky


Polaris bundled, newly formed
Left on Artemis’ threshold
Raised with the knowledge
In the summer of her third year
She must journey to a place
Beyond her imagining

Artemis, Wild Woman, warns
Of the myriad dangers:
Ice Wraiths with hypothermic
Breath spread madness
Treacherously thin ice floes
Carrying everything far out to sea
Sloughing glaciers sending
Animals to watery graves

But the worst fate
To be enchanted by
The siren call of Hearth Fires
Pernicious creatures, specious promises
Desire demons that consume the soul
Paralyzing monsters that trap
An eternity of wasting away

As Polaris grows she learns
Of the fantastical menagerie
Artic animals of special powers
Sagacious and far traversing terns
Narwhal that know the secrets of death
Their songs, talismans against the end
Caribou that resonate harmony
Trickster foxes with capacious minds

Around the home fires
She begins to understand her human form
Its drives and intellections
Streams and sanctuaries of creative flow
She prepares a fitting place and learns
The 1000 sacred names of snow
How to be invisible in her bear cloak
White on white, moving like the wind
Across this icy land

She explores, tests her strength
Contemplates being, leans into life
Scrying colored lights in the dark
Feeling the warmth of midnight sun
Pulse of life deep within calling her forth
She awaits the catalyst, transformation
That will initiate her quest
Her journey to the source

Novaya Zemlya

And so she waits breathing
Beauty into the world
Sings new songs of awakening
Her streams becoming rivers
Roaring across her inner landscape
As the Kara flows through
Baydaratskaya Bay to feed the sea

In the Spring of her third year
Prowling the northern borders
She arrives at Novaya Zemlya
Ice-scoured fjords, narrow inlets,
Guarded by skerries
Upon the wind is a melody
Like none heard before

Lured closer she learns too late
Of the infestation of Hearth Fires!
Their radioactive contamination
Lairs in nuclear submarine reactors
Half-life remnants of the Cold War
Becquerel bravado still feeding evil
Melodies turn to piercing cries
Polluting her sanctuary of creativity
Poisoned, weakened, she seeks counsel
Artemis, now contaminated cannot aid her
Sends her to speak with the narwhal

‘All my songs have been stolen by the wind
My mind and purpose are clouded
This hunger for art is now insatiable
Artemis is also sickened, please help us’
The keeper of death’s secrets
Intones into Polaris to discern
A cure, ‘This pollution is a fire
Malevolent psychic complex
Devouring your spirit,
Only the aurora borealis
Can heal your wounds
You must now journey to a place
Beyond your imagining’

Midnight Sun

‘How will I make it
Carrying this burden of disease
Though these vast wilds?’
‘You must learn to trust
Overcome your fear and begin
I will give you this iolite amulet
When the time comes you will
Know its purpose, now go’

So Polaris, invisible in her bear cloak
Walks along the path that
Will take her to the edge of
Everything she has known
The nights become like days
She remembers little of life before
Forgets why she is searching
Loses her sense of direction
Beleaguered and exhausted
She digs a den beneath the snow pack

Taking off her bear cloak
Visions of her inner life return
There were sacred names
Hands that made things
A riverbed; was there a river?
Her voice croaks a broken song
She burrows deeper
Ice wraiths gather seeing
That she does not wear her fur
Stalk and whisper frosty exhalations:

‘Sleep, sleep little one
Stay, tell us your troubles little one’
Polaris closes her eyes dreaming
Of the song the Hearth Fires sang:
‘Come rest here by the fire
You are so very cold,
This will warm you from the inside’
She is offered a metal chalice
Peers into the cup
Blue flame dances within
‘Drink it, we will care for you’
One sip and the song’s melody
Transforms to piercing screams

‘You are in our domain
Your passion is now ours
We have marked you with our wounding
Stolen your music and laid claim to your life
All your days you will wander lost
Unable to mend your inner being
Your voice will bear our fire!’

The wraiths combine into one
Circinate being, move in for the kill
Wolves, drawn by the whispers
Snarl, growl, and destroy the Wraiths
Wrap Polaris in her cloak
Curl their white furred bodies
Round her in a healing circle


“We are powerful hunters
Have found you hidden here
Saved you from the Ice Wraiths
Yet even we see that your wounding
Goes deeper, a censoring that
Stole your voice, your songs
Disease spreading through Artemis
Burning all it touches
We will guide you to the aurora borealis’

So the Wolves take her to the farthest point
‘Here we must return to our lands
Tonight in the liminal space
Earth and Sky unite and you will speak
Through the prismatic lights to the
Daedal Spirits that created you
Returning to Earth to share your healing
Curing the North of this radioactive plague’

Polaris waits, tries to craft a song
For the approaching ones
But the fire scorches her throat
Weeping and weakened she clutches
Iolite amulet to her heart
Night’s curtain falling she looks
Toward Ursa Major
Niveous sky clears as the
Lights gather, sweeping in spirals
Vortex of blue, green, and red

Daedal Spirits speak
‘You are ill, contaminated by
Man’s industry, Hearth Fires
Severing your connection to
Our creative flow
We are the source
You must clear the channels
Let the eutrophication of the river end’

‘How do I remove this poison?’
Daedal Spirits swarm about her
Lift her into the space between
Earth and Sky, singing harmonics
Trembling from the sound that
Resonates within, her iridescent amulet
Pleochroic iolite radiates prismatic light
Polaris sings her own songs joining the melody
Hearth Fire no longer igniting inside
Passion and meaning coalesce
She is returned to Earth

‘Remember the sacred names of snow
Run with the Wolves
Quell the Hearth Fires, banish them
We did not create you to be constrained
To be beholden and broken
Be wild, allow the river to rage’

This poem, which was begun on day 22 of NaPoWriMo concludes today and is linked to Victoria’s excellent prompt on allegory (how serendipitous);