Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Pre-War Poem


This weekend I head to War!  In Cooper's Lake Campground, near Butler/New Castle, PA, the SCA will be holding the 40th edition of the Pennsic War and I'll be there with 12,000 of my closest friends.  For those of you who will be there, look for me around Highrafters Camp or at Heralds Point or the Pennsic University where I'll be teaching.  I also suspect that I'll bring home more poetry and a continuation of the Haakon Saga (the Pennsic atmosphere seems to be conducive to writing), as well as various new possessions.

Today, in advance of vacation, I'm posting short verse.

The first, "The Silk Flood" (a verse meant to be the stef describing a poet's work) is written in a form Snorri calls iðurmæltr "repeatedly said", an echoic verse in which the last emphasized syllable in each line is echoed in the first syllable of the next.  An example from the Old Icelandic corpus (Heilagra meyja drápa ‘Drápa about Holy Maidens’, verse 5):

Sæt Máría gjǫrði at gráta 
gráti mædd í sonarins láti,

lát Júðanna fældi at fljóði,

fljóðit horfði á krossinn rjóðan;

rjóðandi þá flaut ok flóði

flóð táranna niðr um móður,

móður brjóstit strengt af stríði

stríðit bar sem engi síðan.

My verse:

segðú fjöl-dýr silk-Syf 
silki-röddu brodda 
broddinn riða brandéls 
brandi-æfi væfi.
vefari af vill-draumr 
draum-maðr fekk inn-saumar 
saumlauss féll straumr-silki 
silki-blaut þinn hlaup-mál 

Prose order translation:

speak glorious silk-Syf [POET] / 
silken-voice goads us / 
goading fever of sword storms / 
sword-ages you weave / 
weaver of the wild dream / 
the dreamer grasps the seams / 
seamless flows the silk-stream / 
silky smooth your word-flood.

English translation:

Speak o glorious silk-Syf
Silken voices fill us -
Filled with sword din's fever 
Fevered tales you're weaving.
Weaver of our wild dreams
Dreamers grasp your seemings
Seamless runs the silk-stream
Silky-smooth your speeches.

The second pair of lausaversir is from a series of "practice poems" I wrote during last winter, 
exercises to keep my hand in as it were.  It's in English (forgive me, please!).  
The two verses together describe a phenomenon noted by my Laurel - 
morning with a large number of blackbirds roosting in the trees over his car:

Odin's heralds unleash
Untold voices under 
skald-lord's window. Sunna's 
song-thralls end our long sleep.

Rain from war-gulls rattles
Wrath on gold-slopes Hrafni
Fire-drake shivers frightened
Flees from corse-hawks leavings

Hope you enjoy these.  Comments are gratefully accepted!

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