Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sker-garðr (Rock-reef) [NaPoWriMo # 2]

Today is November 2nd ... Poem # 2 ...

Near our house runs a section of the Canandaigua Outlet, a prosaic name for a lovely stream that flows from the north end of Canandaigua Lake to the Seneca River to Lake Ontario.  For a number of years, I have seen a great blue heron fishing the outlet, and, as part of my November poetry project, I'm setting out to capture him on film. Today was day one of "The Hunt for Big Blue" which produced no heron, but several lovely photos. I've chosen a couple to inspire today's verse.



Old Icelandic Line-by-Line Prose-Order Translation
Ek sá veg-sviðr ís-á
(eyju-þoka) flótinn
(stóð í miðju strauma)
(stutta) át haf, djúpastr.
Synt gæti (ey frá-skila)
át strǫnd þaðan ønginn -
stór-grýtta ey sker-garðr
(sá blódhólm-ganga) kǫlluðu.
I saw way-swift ice-stream
(islet-misty) flowing
(stood in mid-stream)
(stunted) to the ocean, deepest.
Swam from (island isolated)
to shore there no one -
Stony island "rock-reef"
(saw bloody duels) was called.
I saw a deepest, way-swift
ice-stream flowing to the ocean.
In mid-stream, a stunted misty
islet stood. No one could swim
from there to the shore;
The lonely island saw bloody duels;
The stoney island was called


The verse is intended to be the first of two or three describing a hólm-ganga or duel, fought on an island or within a restricted space. The finished poem will be included in a longer prose story called a þáttr. You can see one þáttr that I've written already here. I hope you enjoyed today's verse.  Please comment!


  1. I really love the imagery int he poem. Reading it, then looking at the pictures, you truly captured the setting!