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Today’s prompt reads:

Write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth.

Upon my research of Norse mythology, I found out suicide was more valued than natural death.

The Goths and the Celts believed that to die naturally was shameful. Vikings unlucky enough not to die in battle fell on their own swords or jumped off cliffs in order to be able to enter Valhalla (the great hall of Odin for slain heroes in Norse mythology).

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When you first died,
we questioned how someone so brave
could leave the rest of us feeling so weak.

We did what we had to do to get by–
I took care of others,
others took care of placing blame.

Later, as reality sunk in,
it was realized that placing blame
had no way of bringing you back.

Your words, spoken a year earlier,
stung harder and sharper
than a swarm of 1,000 wasps.

“We always question the people who look more upset
and depressed than usual, and never think to worry
about the people who don’t seem capable
of expressing any sort of negative emotion at all.”

Was the nonchalance and warrior position
one more step
towards entering the great hall of Odin?

Was the act so many people whispered
“weak” and “cowardly”
actually a Viking battle cry, typical of your demeanor?

There’s a certain reverence that goes unspoken
about the courage of the loss of a life
taken by one’s choice.

By no means should this have been your only choice,
but it was the choice you made
to be a Viking warrior.

Note: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or if you are struggling with the loss of someone to suicide, please reach out to The Trevor Project, IMalive, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Your life matters. You’re worth the fight. Please, reach out and take that brave step.