This poem came from the February 18, 2008 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from tonithegreat. It has been sponsored by DW user jb_slasher. The poem belongs to the series The Asgard Eddas, and you can read more about that on the Serial Poetry page.
Fair she was who came to them,
her hair the color of honey and amber,
her skin the color of cream,
her eyes the color of summer skies.
Tall she was who came to them,
a giantess, straight and strong
as a startreader tree, so tall
she had to duck to leave the spaceship.
Dark they were who watched her come,
their hair and skin and eyes
as many shades of brown as found
in wood and stone and good rich earth.
Small they were, and bowed,
bent to take their place
in this world that belonged to them,
like the dwarves of legend, and yet unlike.
Her people had summoned her, friddkona,
because she had the gift of tongues,
their most skilled negotiator,
their wisest and fiercest warrior of words.
They had summoned her at need,
for the sky was full of diamonds and
swift, sweet lanes for a ship to follow – but
the Bonos had strange ways of keeping commons.
Wherever she went, their eyes
followed her, touching her with attention.
Wherever they went, she watched them back,
observing their ways and their words.
Her supervisors insisted on meetings,
and so meetings were held,
dutiful and deliberate, and as futile
as all that had gone before.
One day the Bonos invited her to visit
their best foundry, where they smelted
skysteel and silver and gold
into tools and jewelry.
They showed her a necklace,
heavy as honor, three curved plates
of gold set with the white fire of diamonds,
as fine as the fabled necklace of Freya.
When she admired it, the Bonos
gathered together the ten craftsmen
who had made it: miners and casters,
gem carvers and polishers.
Even the bashful apprentice
who had worked the bellows came forward.
“You may have this,” the master smith said,
“If you will make peace with us, one night apiece.”
This was the core of the quandary,
for humans preferred to solve problems
with money, while the Bonos preferred
to cuddle and pet and make love.
Only then, when the harsh feelings
had melted in the heat of passion,
would the Bonos come together and
find a solution everyone could live with.
She looked at them, so different
from the men of her people.
They were like apes with bat-wing ears,
alien and exotic and …
they had such hands, such fingers,
long and clever and craftworthy, and
she wondered what those hands might do,
as she traced the carvings of the necklace.
So she lay down with them and
twined her pale limbs with their dark ones,
measuring the marvels of their hands,
teaching what she liked, learning what they liked.
On the eleventh day, they gave her
the necklace of yellow gold and white fire,
as they would give a courting-gift to a Bono woman
with whom they wished to negotiate.
On the twelfth day, the meetings bore fruit:
land for a spaceport, diamonds for those who liked them,
one lane for galactic traffic, one for the Bonos’ future need,
engineers and teachers for the Bonos to learn new skills.
And one more rule – the humans and the others coming
to this place must abide by its ways,
and make peace instead of conflict,
so that all things might be shared in harmony.
Her supervisors were horrified by her methods,
but nobody could deny that they worked.
So the supervisors bit their tongues
and moved the meetings to a suite
with a bed in the second room, and paid for
the yellow sequined evening gown that matched the gold.
When things got difficult, she would smile,
touch the necklace for luck, and make peace.
Years later, when the first Bono spaceship took flight,
they held a festival in the common field,
the negotiator and the ten craftsmen and their friends.
They spoke of the challenges and the rewards
of bringing different species together.
It was then she told them the legend of Freya,
and that too became part of their history, a rebirth
of the Forging of Brisingamen.