Grendel's Supper

Written by: Gail DeBole

Written by Gail DeBole  

Note: Grendel was the monster in the old English Heroic poem titled Beowolf written by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet.  John Gardner wrote a related book titled Grendel in the 1970's that told the same story from the monster's point of view.  Soon after reading Grendel, I wrote this poem.


"My God, Grendel!  Are you Godless?
You hold heads that drip with hate-deeds!
All your fury 'voids compassion.
Are you spiritless?  Don't eat me!

I see eyeballs in your teeth-sneers.
Faded lips you chew with ease.
You are laughing - yet I've cry-tears.
Here's a toothpick.  Now let me be!

I, leathery, bony, meatless;
Old gruff meat that breaks your teeth.
Unferth's ready, willing, fearless.
For you, I'll fetch younger meat.

Backed up now, your breathing eats me.
Close as bricks glued back to back.
Grendel, hear me!  I will save you!
I will give you what you lack!

Name the fortune that you'd like.
I have charts of riches hid.
Under soil, far from man-sight.
I will give you what you bid.

Or think of mothers.  You have one.
They're forsaken without sons.
And my mother's just the same.
For her sorrow, you'll take blame!

Grendel!  Grendel!  Let me go!
I am old, but I will fight.
Why, you vile, formless, foe!
I will tell you where"...