Monday, December 31, 2012

# 101 - Nýjárs ríma

This is my last post of 2012. And it also is my One-hundred-first posting on this blog!

As is appropriate for the occasion, a New Year's poem is in order. This one is ríma. t has a couple of Icelandic New Year's eve beliefs: that seals walk and cow talk on New Year's Eve.

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some_text

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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Er brim hrosta flóa
ok orðabelgar hjlóa
Er selahúðir ganga
ok barri ulfa hanga
Er Fjósakarlar skína
ok slefumæltr kollar inna
Þá ek til ølfrændr drekka
ok ríð á nýjárs brekka
When the malt wave flows
and the word-bag roars
when the seal-skins walk
and wolves' barley hangs
when the byre-karls shine
and drawling cows perform
Then I to ale-friends drink
and sway on new year´s brink


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Kennings and Images Used


brim hrosta > malt wave > ALE
orðabelgar > word-bag > DRUNKARD
selahúðir > seal-skins > SEAL FETCHES
barri ulfa > wolves' barley > CORPSES
Fjósakarlar > byre-karls > ORION'S BELT
slefumæltr kollar > drawling COWS


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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Harald's Christmas Preferences

This is from the Haraldkvæði by Þorbjorn hornklofi, which dates to the 11th century and is found in AM 45 fol. Also known as the Hrafnsmál, it is described by Lee M. Hollander, in Old Norse Poems, as follows
As here given it is pieced together from fragments found mainly in the large historical work called Fagrskinna, which contains a history of the Norwegian kings. There is considerable difficulty about the authorship of these portions, some editors considering stanzas 7 to 11, in particular, as a separate poem dealing with the battle in the Hafrs-firth. The remainder, with descriptions of the life at Harold’s court, is probably incomplete.

 The structure of the poem is simple. After the usual admonition to the assembled court to lend their ears, the poet tells us what he heard a raven—scavenger of the battle-field—say to a valkyrie who questions him about Harold’s deeds—naturally all warlike ones. For once, the scenes of carnage here described are individualized. There is grim Viking humor, a dramatic tension, a zest in these descriptions which one inevitably associates with a contemporary and participant. Upon her further questioning we are given realistic, even coarse-grained, glimpses of Harold’s youth, his many marriages, and his life at court with berserkers, skalds, and jugglers. In all this, the poem is likely to have set the fashion; possibly also in the alternation of meters. The greater part is in sonorous málaháttr, smaller portions also in lióthaháttr and fornyrthislag.
For Jóldagr, here is verse 6, which presents Haraldr as a hardy, battle-loving youth:

Úti vill jól drekka,

ef skal einn ráða,

fylkir enn framlyndi,

ok Freys leik heyja;

ungr leiddisk eldvelli

ok inni at sitja,

varma dyngju 
eða
vǫttu dúns fulla.

Fain outside would he drink
the ale at Yule-tide,
the fight-loving folk-warder,
and Frey’s-game play there.
Even half-grown,
he hated the hearthfire cozy,
the warm women’s room,
and the wadded down-mittens.

(þorbjorn hornklofi, Haraldskvæði (Hrafnsmál), v. 6; trans. Lee M. Hollander)

I don't know about all of that. I'll bet those vǫttu dúns fulla felt pretty good some cold Jólmorginn!

Gleðileg Jól

To all my readers,




Fridrikr / Tom

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sólmyrkvi: Lausavísur on the recent solar eclipse

I am often in search on inspiration and, as a recent pizza ad says, "the answer is in the stars" (or in this case, the skies over the Southern hemisphere). I wrote the following verse on the occasion of the solar eclipse this past autumn. In it I incorporated several Norse myths about the sun. The usual pattern here, two verses plus English poetic translations, followed by a key to the kennings and heiti used.

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some_text

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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Hyrrinn brenna heiðs
hnoðrum skýa á ǫski
en alskíra himins eltask
ártali skarptoski.

Skjaldar himna Skǫlli
skapthár flýgr frá bólginn.
Ljósgim fengit lastvarr
ljómandi hafði faststar.
Fire of the clear-sky
burns sky-fleece to ashes,
but year-counter sharp-toothed
chases heaven's all-bright.

The shaft-high heaven's shield
flees from Skǫll wrath-swollen.
Hard-eyed Gleamer captured
guileless light-jewel.

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video




Kennings and Heiti Used

Hyrrinn brenna heiðs > Fire of clear sky > SUN
hnoðrum skýa > sky-fleece > CLOUDS
alskíra himins > heaven's all-bright > SUN
ártali skarptoski > sharp-toothed year-counter > MOON
Skjaldar himna skapthár > Shaft-high heaven's shield > SUN AT DAWN
Skǫlli bólginn > Skulker swollen > MOON
Ljósgim lastvarr > guileless light-gem > SUN
ljómandi faststar > Hard-eyed Gleamer > MOON

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Like It! Love It! Got Questions?


You can leave comments below or send me E-Mail

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some_text

May the Jólabál burn brightly in your heart!

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Mansǫngr

"If a man composes a love-verse on a woman, then the penalty is full outlawry. The case lies with the woman if she is twenty or older. If she [is younger or] will not have it prosecuted, then the case lies with her legal administrator." - Gragas II, p. 198, K § 238.

A love-verse or mansǫngr was a ticket to a death-sentence in Commonwealth Iceland. As Gunnora, The Viking Answer Lady, says at her site:
The prohibitions against love poetry help to explain why courtships were little practiced in the Viking period. While the goddess Freyja was the patroness of *mansongar*, and delighted in love poetry, mortal women had to be more cautious. Love poems were viewed in law as a distinct slur upon a woman's reputation, suggesting that the poet had had a more intimate knowledge of his beloved than was considered seemly (Foote and Wilson, p. 112). The reputation of a woman reflected upon the honor of her family: if her honor was tarnished, so was that of her father, brothers, uncles, cousins and sons. Any dalliance with a woman's reputation was likely to bring down the wrath of her entire lineage upon the hapless suitor!
Unlike our more lenient society, the Icelanders were very concerned with the appearance of rectitude, especially when it pertained to unmarried women. An unmarried woman could be viewed as "social capital" and anything that would make her less than marriageable was a threat to the economic well-being of her family and herself.

However, there likely would not be a law prohibiting the writing of mansǫngar unless the problem existed. In the poem/song I present to you today, I have tried to imagine what such a mansongr might sound like.

Below, you have the poem which has been set to music, the score, and the standard recording. The melody is a variation on a modernization by Åke Persson of the 14th century Danish melody, Drømde mig en drøm i nat.

Please leave comments at the bottom. Enjoy!

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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Silki logi skýja
Sága vakir svæla
singrað kvikligr sǫngr
skyli hjartinn fylla

Grásvíðr liðmjjukr gráreygn
grænblað dýrhallr fagrbuínn
spenja á þin svefna
skirdræpr Freya hýrlega.

Gefa minna gáfar
gulla hornstraum fulla
Horna gjallar hvítings
hlátr fylgja sálsgata

Hrein seiði hǫrbrekka
hjartataugar tugu
skírdræpt sæt fagrgala
sverðsegg gullin skerpa

STEF:

Beina rausta mína
Njorun silkiskorðu
Beina astir mína
Æskiselja ǫls.

Silken gods-flame
Saga wakes you sultry
Singing brisk song
shall the heart fill.

Willow deer-slope grey-eyed
green-blade lithe bright-dressed
Draw (me) to your dreaming
dazzling Freya smiling.

Give my gifts to me
golden horn-storms full
Horna's ringing ale horn
laughter guides souls-path.

Pure enchanting flax-slope
You tug at my heart-strings
Dazzling soft love song
sharpens golden sword-edge.

REFRAIN:

My voice rises to you
Goddess of Silk-trees
My love rises to you
Ale's wishing-willow.


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video

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Kennings Used
Silki Sága > Silken Goddess > WOMAN
logi skýja > gods-flame > SUN
Grásvíðr dýrhallr > Willow deer-slope > WOMAN
grænblað > green blade > WOMAN
skirdræpr Freya > dazzling Freyja > WOMAN
hornstraum > horn-storms > SONGS
Horna gjallar hvítings > Horn's ringing ale-horn > WOMAN
sálsgata > soul's gate > HEART
hǫrbrekka > flax-slope > WOMAN
fagrgala > love song > WOMAN
sverðsegg > sword's edge > MAN'S LOVE
Njorun silkiskorðu > Goddess of the silk-tree > WOMAN
Æskiselja ǫls > Ale's wishing willow > WOMAN


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Write in the box down there ☟☟☟ or send me an e-mail

Friday, October 19, 2012

Haustdag hástoðum

Today´s offering is a poem of the harvest. It is written in haðarlog, a dróttkvætt variant. Snorri cites it in the Hattatal, section 79 (p. 211 in the Everyman edition of the Edda). It is the same as dróttkvætt, except that there are only five syllables per line. The prime example of haðarlog may be Hrafnsmál by Sturla Þórðarson. You can read it here. In her notes on the poem, found in Poetry from the Kings Sagas, vol. 2, pp. 727-745, Kari Ellen Gade notes, "Because of the restrictions imposed by the metre, the poems contains a wealth of nominal compounds, many of which are hap[ax] leg[omenon]" (words or terms not found elsewhere) "and some of which are very awkward." In other words, the missing syllable forces you to invent new compound words for the poem. It's nice to know that Sturla had the same challenge I did in this matter.

The verse, which started life as a gentle pastoral, turned into an extended metaphor for war, as ON poems are wont to do. Snorri would call this use of the same metaphor throughout the verse nýgjǫrvingar "allegory" (Hattatal, section 6; Everyman, p. 170)

There is a recording, as well as the verse and its translation. The music is mine, based on a version of the Lilja, a medieval Icelandic song, which you can find here
.
Enjoy!
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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Haustdagr hástóðum
Hornar gullkorni
gransíðr góðþegnar
gáfa þorpskáru.
Vélinn ljárvaldi
vaðblóði mýgjaðu
ok fargað vínberjum
fyr fínast ulfsvínsgǫrðr.

On Fall days high-stood
Freyja´s golden wheat
good thegns Long-bearded
field-sheared the gifts.
Good-men scythe-wielders
mowed-down blood-waders
pressed the wine-berries
for the fine wolf-wine.

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video

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Two beautiful ladies helped make this poem better: Emer Holbert, who has given me the courage to dig for music for my verses; and Lilli Haicken, who suggested the hap. leg. þorpskáru in line 4.

Kennings Used

gullkorni > "golden wheat/corn" > WARRIORS (in shining armor)
ljárvaldi > "scythe-wielders" > WARRIORS
vaðblóði > "blood-waders" > WARRIORS
ulfsvín > "wolf-wine" > BLOOD
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Thank you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tolftinn Sǫngr (The Song of Twelve) NOW WITH A RECORDING!

NOTE: This is a reposting with an added recording.

A very good friend of mine and great story-teller, Mistress Morgana Bro Morganwg, tells an inspiring tale of Jarl Haakon and his skald, Haukr. In the tale, the skald "stands in two worlds" - the world of man as well as that of the gods - and can sense things beyond the ken of mortal man.

In the tale, Haukr sings a battle song which so moves the valkyrie, Orðtrúaðr "Word-believer", that she spares the lives of Haakon and his men, and kills the Jarl's traitorous brother, instead.

In the poem I have written, I have imagined that song. The song is written in ríma, a "non-skaldic" form that can only be found at Óláfs ríma Haraldssonar. As I said in a previous post, this verse form seems to feature
  • four lines to a verse
  • six to eight syllable in each line
  • alliteration in odd-to-even lines
  • a rhyme scheme of abab

I have tried to follow that form as closely as possible in this poem.

Since I wrote this poem, THL Emer nic Aidan, a good friend from Toronto, and an amazing talent in her own right, has helped me find my musical "voice". Because of her inspiration, I have put Tolftinn Sǫngr to music. The music is based on the ancient Danish song, Drømde mik en drøm i natt which may be found at Viking Songs.

You can hear Tolftinn Sǫngr here:

video

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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation

Gæzku-fullr jarl gǫfgastr -
glaðar eyðendr geimar -
til frænda vartu trúfastr
ok trǫlltrygða til þín beimar

Drengi hôr hringdrífr
hjalmôru þín leiddir
fylgdu banar-hlifa
til bardaga, hrafngreddir

Koma lát sigrmeyjar
sálur vár úpskera!
af vár skjaldum linna
lœblandinn dauð úpsnara!

Blétuð karlaskar fjándum
með jafnan kappi miklu
ok Æsir yfir lóndum
at yndi eggmôts bliku.

Er kallaði bróðir
utan ef broddrjóðr
kvaddi spjarrar tólfir
komu þeir, sversbjóðr.

Koma lát sigrmeyjar
sálur vár úpskera!
af vár skjaldum linna
lœblandinn dauð úpsnara!

At þín boði ríða
borðhesti heiptfíkinn
of ferla flausta, greiða
Móða-flein fulbluíkinn.

Á hjarta lagar, gjaf mildr,
á meðal tolftinn stóttú -
á útstrǫnd sendina, skyldir,
gnístinn svikdóms fráttu.

Koma lát sigrmeyjar
sálur vár úpskera!
af vár skjaldum linna
lœblandinn dauð úpsnara!

Hríðkǫttr kallar frændum
ásjá þín hverr beðit
en kǫttar sonr snuízk í fjándum
ok seimtýnir forréðit.

Hverfa þú hringstríði
tolftinn ulfgœðendr;
Jarl Þú ert í fríði
með Þín fleinhristendr!

Koma lát sigrmeyjar
sálur vár úpskera!
af vár skjaldum linna
lœblandinn dauð úpsnara!

Gracious faithful jarl -
clearer of seas horses -
faithful to your kinsmen
and to your men troll-true.

Gallant lofty ring-strewer
led you helmet envoys -
banes of shield walls followed
to battle, raven-feeder.

Let the victory-maidens
Ours souls come to harvest!
From our shield-snakes raging,
let death ensnare the traitors!

Enemies' souls you offered
Aesir with great zeal
whose love of edge storm shone
upon you, brave land-ruler.

When called to you your brother
point reddener without doubt
you summoned twelve spears to you
came they soon, sword-greeter.

Let the victory-maidens
Ours souls come to harvest!
From our shield-snakes raging,
let death ensnare the traitors!

At your bidding, Jarl,
journeys plankhorse mighty;
sped across the ship's path,
Móða's spear full-gleaming.

Stood you on water´s heart-beam
with dozen open-handed-
on sea-strand, troop obliger,
treason's snarling heard you.

Let the victory-maidens
Ours souls come to harvest!
From our shield-snakes raging,
let death ensnare the traitors!

Snowcat called you kinsman
who begged for your protection
but foeman turned the cat's-son
betrayed you, gold-destroyer.

Surrounded you ring-harmer
the dozen bold wolf-feeders;
Safely kept my Jarl
Your kinsmen, all spear shakers!

Let the victory-maidens
Ours souls come to harvest!
From our shield-snakes raging,
let death ensnare the traitors!

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Kennings Used

sigrmeyjar > the victory-maidens > VALKYRIES
skjaldar linna > snakes of the shield > SWORDS
lœblandinn > the baleful > TRAITORS
glaðar eyðendr geimar > clearer of the horses of the sea > clearer of ships > SEA-WARRIOR, JARL
trǫlltrygða > troll-true > loyal til death > FAITHFUL MAN, JARL
hringdrífr > ring-strewer > RULER, JARL
hjalmôru > helmet envoys > WARRIORS
hrafngreddir > raven-feeder > WARRIOR, JARL
eggmôts > edge-storm > BATTLE
broddrjóðr > point reddener > WARRIOR, JARL
spjarrar tólfir > spears twelve > TWELVE WARRIORS
sversbjóðr > sword greeter > WARRIOR RULER, JARL
borðhesti > plankhorse > SHIP
ferla flausta > ship's path > SEA
Móða-flein > Móða's spear > WARSHIP
hjarta lagar — ‘the heart of the water' > ISLAND
gjaf mildr > open-handed, generous > JARL
skyldir > obliger > COMMANDER, JARL
gnístinn svikdóms > snarling of treason > TRAITORS
kǫttar sonr > cat's son > BASTARD
seimtýnir > Gold-destroyer > JARL

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Thanks for reading this long poem. I hope/plan to write two more: a song of Orðtrúaðr and an elegy for the Jarl, but they will have to wait for now. Please, leave me comments on this poem, either in the comments box below or send them to me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Valkyrjars Sǫng

This poem is intended as a companion piece to a tale told by Mistress Morgana Bro Morganwg of Jarl Haakon and his skald, Haukr. In the tale, the Valkyries, led by Orðtruðr (“word-trust”), spare the Jarl and his men, while destroying their foes. This happens because of the war-song Haukr sings. I've heard and admired the tale; it is one of my favorites. Since neither Hauk´s song nor the Valkyries' song appears in the tale, I have made bold to imagine them.

The form is a variant of togmælt [journey-spoken] with four-to-five syllables per line, alliteration, half-rhymes, and full-rhymes as in dróttkvætt. The shortness of the lines makes the rhythm and rhymes work together more completely. You can find an example from Snorri here.

A careful reader will note that three verses are different from the others in their rhyme scheme. I freely admit to having borrowed them from the Eddaic poem, Darraðarljóð, a poem quoted in Njals Saga, chapter 156. It describes the Valkyries as weavers of man's fate.

Now you can hear it:

video


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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Ríðum stríðum
strjúka á fljúgjask
Sigbragnum þegna
þáttu kvattú.

Gengr hildr vefa
ok hjǫrþrimul
sangríðr svipul
sverðum svipul
skapt mun gnesta
skjöldr mun bresta
mun hjálmgagarr
í hlíf koma.

Orðtruð herjarn
orrust hjǫrtu
til Freyja borit
með blóði gollin.
Rǫgnis valdrǫs
reið um leiðir
á býskips systr
skeiðbrimi fimmtandi

Ríðum stríðum
strjúka á fljúgjask
Sigbragnum þegna
þáttu kvattú.

Geðum heiðrs
Þungra hungrað -
skalt vera berþrek
blóðkorgr bǫðvar.
Hjálmtrjám dómsorð
hæfa hafstrandar.
fara til skera
framast malmrunnum

Reyfarar ríða
rafstráit of hafstrǫnd
veiðifúss at líkar
líflauss ok drífvit.
Haukr heyrðr
hrylling frýja
hildar hjaldr
hinkrask, blindandi.

Ríðum stríðum
strjúka á fljúgjask
Sigbragnum þegna
þáttu kvattú.

Vindum vindum
vef darraðar
þar er vé vaða
vígra manna
látum eigi
líf skalds britast
eigu valkyrjur
vals um kosti.

Svika þær tók
svartast hjartu
bálfjandar til helvítis
blak vatt gata!
Snefga gǫfgað
vítskáld Valmey -
hljómr líðinn
hollr ok gólligr.

Ríðum stríðum
strjúka á fljúgjask
Sigbragnum þegna
þáttu kvattú.
Ride to battle!
Join the blood-song!
Sing of Victory
Chieftain's thegns!

Go they weaving
with swords drawn
Hild and Hjorthrimul,
Sanngrid and Svipul.
Spears will shatter
shields will splinter,
Swords will gnaw
like wolves through armor.

Ortrudr warlike
warriors' hearts
with golden blood
to Freyja carries.
Slaughter goddess
rides the hawks' paths
on bee-ship's surf-steed
summons sisters.

Ride to battle!
Join the blood-song!
Sing of Victory
Chieftain's thegns!

Þungra hungers
for honor's souls -
shall be bear-bold
battle's blood-dregs.
To sea-strands helm-trees
doom-words mete we;
go to mow down
boldest sword-trees.

Above seastrand ambered
Ride the rievers
hunt for bodies
snow white lifeless.
Haukr hears she
horrors cursing
battle's Hildr
halts, she staring.

Ride to battle!
Join the blood-song!
Sing of Victory
Chieftain's thegns!

Wind we now
the web of war
where warrior banners
are forging forward.
Harvest we not
bright skalds' spirit
Valkyries only
choose the slain.

Took they then the
traitors black hearts
pyrefiends to Hel's
black gates hurled.
Blessed then Valmey
wit-skald swiftest
gliding song-voice
true and joyful.

Ride to battle!
Join the blood-song!
Sing of Victory
Chieftain's thegns!
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Kennings:

Rǫgnis valdrǫs > Rǫgnir's [Óðin´s] slaughter woman > Valkyrie
býskips skeiðbrimi > bee-ship's surf-racer > air's horse > Valkyrie's horse
Þungra > Freyja
berþrek > bear-bold > warriors
blóðkorgr bǫðvar > blood-dregs of battle > the dead
Hjálmtrjám > helm-trees > warriors
dómsorð > doom-words > justice
malmrunnum > sword-trees > warriors
rafstráit > rievers > Valkyries
hildar hjaldr > battle's Hildr >Valkyrie
skalds britast > skald brightest > Haukr
bálfjandar > pyrefiends > traitors
vítskáld > wit-skald > Haukr

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Do you like it? Hate it? Have questions? Plase let me know by commenting below or by e-mail

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Old Poems

So, I was cleaning out my songbook recently, and I came upon a few poems that I wrote over 30 years ago. I tried one or two out on folks at Pennsic. I was pleasantly surprised at the positive reception they received.

When I stop and think about what I was reading and being affected by half a lifetime ago, I realize that the Irish legends and myths I was reading then are a strong basis for the poetry I write today. So, I will share two of these Brian Boru and Cú Chulainn inspired poems with you today.

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Brian's Lay

What man does rise to reign
but gods do cause to fall
do set snares but baited bold
so it haps today as fate foretold.

Bold Brian, man of blood and bone
to us sword singer, Saxon foe,
did stand on Eire's shore undaunted
by bastard Britons, foemen flaunted.

Bold Brian, he who harped and harmed
who sang his love, his lust, his gaudy greed
his wildest wanderings we did take
to field; we fought and fell for Brian's sake.

His foemen's blood he spilled, and gave rebirth
to Antient Brian's game, brave Boru's way.
The Saxons fell yet went not home as whole;
their faces grinned as Brian bared his soul.

They, at our feasts, our trophied heads stared down
and listened, blanching not at bloody tales --
Thus Brian inspired our souls to battle bold
of which our kindred's kin shall ere be told.

Yet gods do find no joy in joy unknown
to THEIR fine names and spirits' debt.
But rather envied Brian his foemen's fall:
they struck while beauteous Brian thus stood tall.

The greatest good in human heart has burst --
thus Brian passes to his fate unfair:
Sing out his tale, his fame, his bravest deeds
whose soul shall ere return at Eire's need.

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Clairseach

Many wars I have seen, many battles fought
stood by my king, masterless slave;
knowing not why my songs have such meaning
knowing the sagas I only may save.

In Cuchulainn's war marches I too strode
Sharp-singer of tales to push on the wave.
My holder, he fell to the swords of the heathens
knowing his sory I only could save.

O'Donnell, he took me by force to the North.
The kin of my fathers he put in the grave.
He, too, fell silent, King of the Isle,
knowing his memory I only could save.

Now call me, o great one of white hands and red hair
as blood and sword your road to glory must pave.
Remember! You'll die but my harp will live always!
Know that your soul, I only may save!

Many wars I have seen, many deaths I have known,
mothers and children of Eire-men brave,
A voice with no master, bound to live always
knowing the sagas I only may save.

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And there you have them. Like them? Hate them? Comment below or write me.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Songs of the Twelve, Part One

A very good friend of mine and great story-teller, Mistress Morgana Bro Morganwg, tells an inspiring tale of Jarl Haakon and his skald, Haukr. In the tale, the skald "stands in two worlds" - the world of man as well as that of the gods - and can sense things beyond the ken of mortal man.

In the tale, Haukr sings a battle song which so moves the valkyrie, Orðtrúaðr "Word-believer", that she spares the lives of Haakon and his men, and kills the Jarl's traitorous brother, instead.

In the poem I have written, I have imagined that song. The song is written in ríma, a "non-skaldic" form that can only be found at Óláfs ríma Haraldssonar. As I said in a previous post, this verse form seems to feature
  • four lines to a verse
  • six to eight syllable in each line
  • alliteration in odd-to-even lines
  • a rhyme scheme of abab

I have tried to follow that form as closely as possible in this poem.

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Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
STEF:

Koma lát sigrmeyjar
sálur vár úpskera!
Af vár linna skjaldar
lœblandinn dauð úpsnara!

VERSIR:

Gæzku-fullr jarl gǫfgastr -
glaðar eyðendr geimar -
til frænda vartu trúfastr
ok trǫlltrygða til þín beimar

Drengi hôr hringdrífr
hjalmôru þín leiddir
fylgdu banar-hlifa
til bardaga, hrafngreddir.

Blétuð karlaskar fjándum
með jafnan kappi miklu
ok Æsir yfir lóndum
at yndi eggmôts bliku.

Er kallaði bróðir
utan ef broddrjóðr
kvaddi spjarrar tólfir
komu þeir, sversbjóðr.

At þín boði ríða
borðhesti heiptfíkinn
of ferla flausta, greiða
Móða-flein fulbluíkinn.

Á hjarta lagar, gjaf mildr,
á meðal tolftinn stóttú -
á útstrǫnd sendina, skyldir,
gnístinn svikdóms fráttu.

Hríðkǫttr kallar frændum
ásjá þín hverr beðit
en kǫttar sonr snuízk í fjándum
ok seimtýnir forréðit.

Hverfa þú hringstríði
tolftinn ulfgœðendar;
Jarl Þú ert í fríði
með Þín fleinhristendar!
REFRAIN:

Let the victory-maidens
our souls come to harvest
From our shield-snakes raging,
let traitors death ensnare!

VERSES:

Gracious faithful jarl -
clearer of the seas horses -
to kinsmen were you faithful
and to your men troll-true.

Gallant lofty ring-strewer
led you helmet envoys -
banes of shield walls followed
to battle, raven-feeder.

Enemies' souls you offered
Aesir with great zeal
whose love of edge storm shone
upon you, brave land-ruler.

When called to you your brother
point reddener without doubt
you summoned twelve spears to you
came they soon, sword-greeter.

At your bidding, Jarl,
journeys plankhorse mighty;
sped across the ship's path,
Móða's spear full-gleaming.

On water´s heart, stood you,
open-handed with the twelve -
on sandy sea-strand, troop obliger,
treason's snarling heard you.

Snowcat called you kinsman
who begged for your protection
but foeman cat's son turned
betrayed you, gold-destroyer.

Surrounded you ring-harmer
the dozen bold wolf-feeders;
safely kept my Jarl
your kinsmen, all spear-shakers!

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Kennings Used

sigrmeyjar > the victory-maidens > VALKYRIES
skjaldar linna > snakes of the shield > SWORDS
lœblandinn > the baleful > TRAITORS
glaðar eyðendr geimar > clearer of the horses of the sea > clearer of ships > SEA-WARRIOR, JARL
trǫlltrygða > troll-true > loyal til death > FAITHFUL MAN, JARL
hringdrífr > ring-strewer > RULER, JARL
hjalmôru > helmet envoys > WARRIORS
hrafngreddir > raven-feeder > WARRIOR, JARL
eggmôts > edge-storm > BATTLE
broddrjóðr > point reddener > WARRIOR, JARL
spjarrar tólfir > spears twelve > TWELVE WARRIORS
sversbjóðr > sword greeter > WARRIOR RULER, JARL
borðhesti > plankhorse > SHIP
ferla flausta > ship's path > SEA
Móða-flein > Móða's spear > WARSHIP
hjarta lagar — ‘the heart of the water' > ISLAND
gjaf mildr > open-handed, generous > JARL
skyldir > obliger > COMMANDER, JARL
gnístinn svikdóms > snarling of treason > TRAITORS
kǫttar sonr > cat's son > BASTARD
seimtýnir > Gold-destroyer > JARL

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Thanks for reading this long poem. I hope/plan to write two more: a song of Orðtrúaðr and an elegy for the Jarl, but they will have to wait for now. Please, leave me comments on this poem, either in the comments box below or send them to me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's a Beginning, Part two

So, in the past two days, three more verses of The Song of the Twelve have been written. They are not in their final order (a couple of intervening verses need to be written), but they are in pretty close to their final form. Those who know the tale they go with will recognize that I've changed the villain's name; it's, ummm, irony. For those who like that kind of stuff, here you go (Old Norse verses, followed by poetic translation; kennings at the end. The form is ríma - see "It's A Beginning" for details):

Old Norse

Drengi hôr hringdrífr
hjalmôru þín leiddir
fylgdu banar-hlifa
til bardaga, hrafngreddir

Blétuð karlaskar fjándum
með jafnan kappi miklu
ok Æsir yfir lóndum
at yndi eggmôts bliku.

Hríðkǫttr kallar frændum
ásjá þín hverr beðit
en kǫttar sonr snuízk í fjándum
ok seimtýnir forréðit.

Poetic Translation

Gallant lofty ring-strewer
led you helmet envoys -
banes of shield walls followed
to battle, raven-feeder.

Enemies' souls you offered
Aesir with great zeal
whose love of edge storm shone
upon you, brave land-ruler.

Snowcat called you kinsman
who begged for your protection
but the cat's son turned your foeman
and betrayed you, gold-destroyer.

Kennings Used

hringdrífr > ring-strewer > RULER
hjalmôru > helmet envoys > WARRIORS
hrafngreddir > raven-feeder > WARRIOR, JARL
eggmôts > edge-storm > BATTLE
kǫttar sonr > cat's son > BASTARD
seimtýnir > Gold-destroyer > JARL

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When the entire set of songs (probably totaling 12 to 15 verses) are completed, I'll post a reading of it all. For now, I hope you like it. Please give me comments below or Send Mail

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's a beginning

I'm working on a new project, a series of three songs that will go with a story an SCA friend tells. In the story she speaks of a skaldr singing a song that moves a valkyrie to action. But, being a good storyteller, she doesn't tell us the contents of the song.

This is where my impertinence comes into play.

So, here is the first verse. The poem/song is in a "non-skaldic" form called ríma. My analysis of the major example of ríma: Óláfs ríma Haraldssonar seems to show that there are four requirements:

  • four lines to a verse
  • six to eight syllable in each line
  • alliteration in odd-to-even lines
  • a rhyme scheme of abab


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Original Word-for-Word Poetic Translation
Gæzku-fullr jarl gǫfgastr -
glaðar eyðendr geimar -
til frænda vartu trúfastr
ok trǫlltrygða til þín beimar
Gracious jarl faithful -
horses clearer of the seas
to kinsmen were you faithful
and troll-true to your men.
Gracious faithful jarl -
clearer of the seas horses -
to kinsmen were you faithful
and to your men troll-true.


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Kennings used:

glaðar eyðendr geimar > clearer of the horses of the sea > clearer of ships > SEA-WARRIOR

trǫllatrygða > troll-true > loyal til death

The second kenning, trǫlltrygða, is a very interesting one. Cleasby-Vigfusson has the following explanation:
In one single instance the trolls, strange to say, play a good part, viz. as being grateful and faithful; trolls and giants were the old dwellers on the earth, whom the gods drove out and extirpated, replacing them by man, yet a few remained haunting lonely places in wildernesses and mountains; these trolls, if they meet with a good turn from man, are said to remain thankful for ever, and shew their gratitude; hence the phrases, tryggr sem tröll, faithful as a troll; and trygða-tröll, hann er mesta trygða-tröll, a faithful soul, faithful person; trölla-trygð, 'trolls-trust,' faithfulness to death;
For me, it is a wonderful image.

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I hope to continue this first song for about eight verses. I'll post more as I finish them. Please, leave comments below, or send them to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hrafnars ýr (Ravens' yews)

In the Barony of Thescorre (located in Rochester, NY), we have excellent archers. In celebration of these fine folk, I wrote the following poem. It involves an attack by certain raiders from the Kingdom of Ealdormere and how they are repelled by the brave archers of the Barony. From what I understand, this  poem may well start a bardic war with our friends from across the Inland Seas.

If so, while I may perish, I will struggle to the end. To wit,


"HAVE AT YOU, WOLVES OF THE BREED!"

====================

                
Hrafnars ýr

Fram norðt vargsfjǫll fimvig
fjándr sigla svandalir;
nautfé kaupangs unýtast
níðings-sunnar rifsa
gangandi til gunnar
geirviðir af myrkskógi -
akraspillir ekrum
undír traðkað sunnhreinn.

Athos goði ýskelfir
ættfólk kallar snjallast:
Virkismenn varðatu
vals Yggs heim með hagl skóds.
Á barna gylðis berbeinn
bogaþruma dundu!
Með undreyr svartast svǫrrblóð
svíneyg ulfgrár dreiftu!

Svara ýglǫð Eadmund
enski : Bogar bendum
svarttyrf hrafnars sverjum
með skirir Hǫgna firra!
þrir skora bog-menn þermsligr
þrymu Ullar fljúgask.
Hergaupur harki
hagli Finna vinna.

Nóttfǫrullars norðr
nóra hlaunnar ǫrbursti.
Flyja dreypandi frenjar
til festa gaula hestr.
Of vǫll lunda válandi
vargmenn sigǫrs targa;
rekald vargham Roaks
hrylla til heim sigla.
The Ravens' Yews

War-skilled fiends from wolf-fells
northern sail swan-dales;
niðings-bastards pillage
townfolk's useless cattle.
Spear trees from dark woods
marching to battle -
destroyers of fields
trample sun-bright acres.

Athos bow-shaker, chieftain,
calls to his best kinsfolk:
Yeomen, Yggs gull's homeland
defend with weapons hail!
On Gyldis's-bastards bare-legged
rain down your bow-thunder!
With blackest blood-birds' wound-reeds
scatter swine-eyed grey-wolves!"

Edmund yew-glad English
answered: Bend we bows -
Raven´s black-turf we swear
to defend with Hogni's showers! "
Three score fittest bow-men
Join in Ullar´s Thunder;
Rabble of war-lynxes
suffer Sami's hail.

Little northern night-thieves'
buttocks arrow-bristle.
They flee to mooring-horses
dropping cattle lowing.
Across the plain of puffins
wolfmen – war-shafts targets;
Roak’s wolfish jetsam
horrid sail homeward.
====================


Kennings Used

svandalir > swan's dale > SEA
níðings-sunnar > níðings sons > RAIDERS
geirviðir > spear trees > WARRIORS
akraspillir > destroyers of fields > WARRIORS

vals Yggs > gulls of Ygg > RAVENS
vals Yggs heim > gulls of Yggs home > THESCORRE
barna gylðis > Gyldis's bastards > RAIDERS
bogaþruma > bow-thunder > ARROWS
undreyr svartast svǫrrblóð > blackest bloodbirds' wound-reeds > blackest ravens' wound-reeds > ARROWS
ulfgrár > grey wolves > RAIDERS

skirir Hǫgna > Hogna's showers > ARROWS
þrymu Ullar > Ullar's thunder > BATTLE
hagli Finna > Sami's hail > ARROWS

Nóttfǫrullars > Night thieves > RAIDERS
festa gaula > mooring horses > SHIPS
vǫll lunda > plain of puffins > SEA
sigǫrs targa victory (or war) shafts targets> arrows' targets > RAIDERS
rekald vargham Roaks > Roak's wolfish jetsam > RAIDERS


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LIKE IT? HATE IT? GOT QUESTIONS? WANNA RETALIATE?

Leave your comments below, or contact me directly!

Thanks for your continued readership and support.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Foes and Friends Forever

For those of you who are in the SCA, you may have heard that I was elevated by TRM Andreas and Kallista to the Most Noble Order of the Laurel. Her Majesty then invited me to be one of her bards for the Known World Bardic Challenge at the Pennsic Wars. As you read this entry, the circle has ended, and the following poem received its world debut.

The theme of the circle was Enemies and Friends , and this poem catches the theme, I think.  It is written in English, in the dróttkvætt meter. The kennings are pretty simple.

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Foes and Friends Forever
Battle joined by bitter
bold foes crying old gripes -
blood is let by blade-Tyrs
blasting horns call fast spears.
Sword-storm's lightning seering
seething helm-lines heaving -
Iron-gods' knights-errant
On field reddened yield not.

Day's heat on the hot field
hammers foes in gam'sons
drives the sword-tree droves
drained of precious rains-gift.
Seek the helm-folk sacred
sups of Odin's cup-streams.
Find they there the fiend-men
friends to glad-night's ending.

Joined by valor's gentle
jumbling, spear-foes humbled
honor's love find intact.
Armored not gainst harm now,
point-din yields til pint-song
peals from laughing steel-oaks -
spear-trees come from spar-storm
sword-gods hug their war-friends.


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You can hear the poem by clicking below:

video


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I hope you enjoyed the poem. Please let me know by commenting below or by writing me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hrafnar Syngja

So, here it is, late June, and I haven't posted in like forever. It has been busy and I have been very distracted by life. Still, things have been in my mind and one of them escaped that dark black pit of despair recently.

As most of you know by know, I'm a resident of the Barony of Thescorre, in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc. The barony's heraldry is "Argent, on a pall azure between three ravens volant sable, a laurel wreath Or."

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================================

In the lore of the barony, the ravens have been named: Hugin, Munin, and Bob (!) - the third raven who does what the other two think of and recall. As the newly appointed Baronial skald, I see it as my duty to instruct the folk of the ravens and how they sing. Thus, the latest poem.

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Old Icelandic Verse Prose Translation
Stef:

Vargǫld syngdu virðiligr
valir axlar aldinn.
Morðarákefð merkvalds
magnið sárgǫgl bragir.

Vísur 1 (af Hugin)

Hugrenning þin hagrádr
hjálms gný aptr kallað:
Ráðagǫrð af róðrvíd
reiðar at leiðadu.
Dýfjarðar fyrðar
fljúgask með tré-konung:
með spakleik þin siklingr
slagr gefa dólgmann.

Verse 2 (af Munin)

Aldinn draumar íllir
ǫrlǫgs brenna knorr-muns
orras hjaldrs eyrendi -
aptir dagstingr minna.
Gefa hásæt gjafar -
gnýr minna fyr dýjarl;
Gefa þiljur gjafar -
geira-mun fyr herjar.

Verse 3 - (af Svart-Rob)

Flǫgrað vígstars fljúga
fjarri ofan merkjum.
Dýfolk fylgdu dagfar
djarfum á gnýs darra.
Drukk af fors horn drekis
drógdu þeima heima;
Sennu vápna syngdu -
sælligr með dýfolk hlæðu.
Stef:

Sing of ancient age of wolves,
worthy hawks of the shoulder.
Best of wound-gulls, you raise
mark-guards' slaughter-rashness.

Verse 1 (about Hugin):

Wise-counselor, your mind's wandering
calls after helmets' din:
Lead you the raiders
to blood-storm counsel-taking.
The warriors of the bog-fjord
fly to battle with Tree-King;
With your wise-play the king
gives his foes defeat.

Verse 2 (about Munin):

Ancient dreams of evil's
doom burn the mind´s ship;
The battle´s blackcock´s errand -
be-minded after day's sting.
Give gifts of din-dreams
to Bog-lord in high-seat
Give gifts of spear-thought
to warriors on benches.

Verse 3 (about Black-Bob):

Fly far above slaughter-
starling's banner fluttering.
Guide the bog-folk bold
on the spear-roar´s journey.
Lead them homeward
drunk on dragon's-horn-wave;
Sing of weapon-quarrels
Laugh with bog-men happy!
=================================================


video


================================================== 

Kennings Used

NOTE: As you know, if you read my blog often, a kenning is a specialized form of metaphor. Ordinarily, I would refer to Thescorre as hrafna heim "Ravens' Home", but in this case, I've changed the base noun to "bog" after the old description on Thescorre as the Barony of the Bog.

Stef:

Vargǫld > age of wolves > WAR
valid axlar > Hawks of shoulder > RAVENS
Morðarákefð > slaughter-rashness > BRAVERY

Verse 1:

Hugrenning > mind's wandering > THOUGHTS
hjálms gný > din of helmets > BATTLE
Ráðagǫrð > counsel-taking > ADVICE, PLANNING
róðrvíd > blood-storm > BATTLE
Dýfjarðar > bog-fjord > THESCORRE (Barony of the Bog)
tré-konung > Tree King > KING OF ÆTHELMEARC
spakleik > wise-play > WISDOM
dólgmann > enemy-men > FOES

Verse 2:

knorr-muns > ship of mind > MEMORY
orras hjaldrs > battle's blackcock > RAVEN
dagstingr > day-sting > DAWN
gnýr minna > din's memory > BATTLE
dýjarl > bog-earl > THESCORRE BARON
geira-mun > spear-memory > BATTLE

Verse 3:

vígstars > slaughter-starling > RAVEN
Dýfolk > bog-army > THESCORRE ARMY
dagfar > day-faring > JOURNEY
gnýs darra > spear roar > BATTLE
fors horn drekis > dragon's horn-wave > BLOOD
Sennu vápna > weapon-quarrel > BATTLE




===========================


In other news, this past weekend, Their Majesties of Æthelmearc, Andreas and Kallista, gave me a writ for elevation to the Order of the Laurel. This document orders me to appear before Their Majesties to be inducted into the order, which is the highest order our "medieval recreation" group offers in the Arts and Sciences. It is a great honor and I thank Their Majesties for Their generosity.




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So, please comment on the poem. I'd appreciate any comments you have.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two verses on The Avengers

Yep. The Avengers is out on DVD. I saw The Avengers, and I enjoyed it, even if Steed and Mrs. Peel weren't in there. One battle scene was Elder Edda-ish for me and I've described it in there two verses, again in English.

Just For Fun!!!!! Anyone taking these seriously should get out more often......

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Stood then Loki steadfast
Stared at Green skinned terror,
Took in Chaos's cousin
Cool commanded, "FOOL!"
"Think I fear you Forsworn
Frog-hued Jotun's dog-leashed?
Kneel before me Null-brain
Now at my Wrath Cower!"

Jotun's leaf-man laughed then
Leered at Muspell's steersman,
Oðling tore from Terra
tossed the Trickster crossways.
Dale of Dain's kin dented 
Deep with godling creepy:
Green-clad Hulkster grinning
Growled, "Loon god's puny!"

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So, Jotun is a giant, the Muspell are monsters, Oðing is one of Loki´s aliases, Dain is a Dwarf, his kins' dale is the Earth.

I hope it works for you. You can comment below or here.



The Fisherman (in English this time)

I've been working on a poem with an eye to a lesson on how I transform ideas in English to poems in Old Norse-Icelandic. On the way there, I wrote a poem in English, something I seldom do because, well, "Dammit, I'm a skald, Jim, not a poet!" However, I think this one turned out pretty well. So I'm swerving from my usual path and publishing a poem in English here. It's called "The Fisherman" and it's about much much more than its title promises. It's for Cy, Aunt Ellen, and a myriad of others I've never met.

=====================================

On morning's light  you'd go to let
the fish come jump into your net
and every one you could recall.
No matter be they large or small
You'd fish and each became a grain
to think upon when morn brought rain
to darken skies. You'd calmly set
your bait, your hooks, and then your net.

Your bait, your hooks, and then your net
in high noon's warmth you'd always set
to bring home more. And then compare
with those you caught from everywhere
and some you'd keep, still more you'd free
to go back to the loving sea -
For now the sea your net fills full
with fish, to think upon and mull.

With fish to think upon and mull
until they overflow the hull
of ship. And yet by night your seine
unravels and by day your mein
no longer pulls a net to give
you fish, but rather pulls a sieve.
And thus into the night you sail
but fish no more, your nets have failed.

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I hope you enjoyed it. You can post comments below.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Geirþeyr (Spear Storm)

This poem is a revision of Vigþeyr which I wrote last year. As I noted in a post not too long ago, the main improvements lie in the stef which is now in true runhendr, in the rhyme schemes which have been tightened, and in the grammar, which I believe has been much improved.

As this is a significantly longer poem than most of my efforts, I know it's difficult to get a grasp on in a blog reading. Because of this, I'm putting it up as a pdf which you can download and read at your leisure. Also, there is a recording you can listen to.

The poem itself is designed as a call to war for the seven baronies of our Kingdom. I hope that many will choose to read it.

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As always, your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

To those of my readers in the SCA, Happy New Year! (May 1 starts the SCA calendar. The New Year is the Year of the Society - Anno Societatis - 47).

To ALL of my readers, my thanks. When I started this blog a year ago, I had no idea if anyone would pay any attention to it. I have been very pleasantly surprised (and sometimes, puzzled) by the response to it. As of last evening when I wrote this blog entry, the views of his blog were a tad short of 4300. While I don'y pretend that I'm setting records or anything, I am both pleased and thankful for your views and support, which has come from over 50 nations on six continents. Simply amazing! Thanks to you all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Teaser for "GeirÞeyr" (Spear-Storm)

This full poem will make its debut on May 5th at Crown Tournament in the Barony of Delftwood (Syracuse, NY). It is a revision of a previous drapa (long poem with refrain). The purpose of revision is improvement, of course; in this case, the improvement has generally been in rhyme scheme, especially the internal rhymes. However, the one verse you will get today is somewhat different. My original thought was to try a quick experiment in runhendr, a verse form with rhymed couplets. Looking back at this one verse, I understood that I had been only partially successful. I had rhyme, but it was only partial or loose rhyme, where runhendr calls for exact rhyme.

In browsing the Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages website, I came across a metre called dróttkvætt runhendr, which may be best described as a hybrid form, with dróttkvætt length lines and runhendr rhyme. Here is an example, a lausavisr (loose verse) written by Bjorn Kálfsson, in approximately 1182:

Fant sék hvern á hesti,
hér's nú siðr enn vesti,
(leið eigum vér langa)
en lendir menn ganga;
hirðmenn skulu hlaupa,
hér esat gótt til kaupa,
(munka mǫrgu kvíða),
en matsveinar ríða.

This verse mocks soldiers fleeing on foot from a battle, for having left their horses behind:

Prose Translation: I see every servant on a horse and the landsmen walking; now here's the worst habit; we have a long way to go. The retainers must run and the cooks are riding; there's no good bargain here; I'm not going to fear much.

You can see the regular line length, the presence of some alliteration (though not as strict as classic dróttkvætt metre) and the addition of the end-rhyme.

This is the metre I aimed at in my revision. Below you have the original verse, which was written in late Spring 2011, on the left and the revised version on the right. The prose translations follow the verses.

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Original Verse Revised Verse
Rúni minna rekka
rikis-faðirs sagna
hug-runr Munin halda
Hugin geirþey á-gætta
holt-græn brynjar  hafta
holt-græn riki heilsa
Bil-seim fríðust blása
Baldr-styr mattig beita
Rúni minna rekka
fǫður Mímirs drekkja
hugrúnar Munin halda
geirþeyar Hugin skalda
brynjar hafta holt-græn!
riki heilsa holt-græn!
Bil-seims fríðust beiddi
ok bága ljóna leiddi


Original verse: Counselor of warriors remember your ancestors' lessons.  Munin holds wisdom and Hugin praises battle [geir-þey  “spear breeze” > BATTLE].  The Sylvan army [brynjar  “mail-shirts” > WARRIORS > ARMY] joins; The Sylvan realm salutes!  Fairest queen [Bil-seim “Goddess of gold” > QUEEN] inspires!  Mighty king [Baldr-styr “God of war” > KING] leads!

Revised verse: Counselor of warriors remember your ancestors' lessons [Mímirs drekkja “Mimir’s drink > Wisdom giant’s drink > WISDOM]. Munin holds wisdom and Hugin praises battle [geirþeyar “spear storms” > BATTLE]. The Sylvan army [brynjar “mail-shirts” > WARRIORS > ARMY] joins; The Sylvan realm salutes! Fairest queen [Bil-seims “Goddess of gold” > QUEEN] inspires! Mighty king [bága ljóna “Fighter of men" > KING] leads!

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The difference may seem subtle, but having the full rhymes makes a big difference in both appearance and sound. In this type of verse, form may trump meaning.

If you have comments or questions, you can leave them here, contact me at Facebook, or write me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Questions! Do We get Questions?

Yesterday, I posted a little bit of a whine about not getting comments on my poetry. A friend replied that she felt unqualified to comment. My response to her (and anyone else who feels the same way) is that ANYONE and EVERYONE is qualified to comment, whether it is a detailed comment on grammar, vocabulary, etc,; or a general comment (I like the part about the raven's beak, or why did you use the blood-goose metaphor?, or how do you do this or that?)

So, here is MY promise to YOU

If you post a comment or question, beit here, on my facebook page, or to my e-mail, I will reply here within 24 hours (I may be asleep when you post it, so give me some time, ok?).

To prove my word, here is a first question from Facebook.

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QUESTION: "I would like to know, do you write in norse language first then translate or do you write in English first?"

ANSWER

Short answer: I start with an English idea, think in English, then Old Norse, then back to English again.

Long Answer: My general routine is to have a topic in my head, then "gather my troops" by hunting down images and words from the Old Norse dictionaries & databases (Cleasby-Vigfusson's dictionary is on-line, as is the Skaldic Poetry database which has a comprehensive list of kennings). Then I build the poem, thinking in English and finding words in Old Norse to "fill in the blanks".

After I've got the lines roughly written, I work on the grammar (using the on-line New Introduction to Old Norse grammar and my copy of the Syntax of Old Norse).

Finally, I translate the poem back into English. I do two forms of transltion: the Word-by-Word is for those who want better undersnd the vocabulary. The Prose Order is to get the over-all meaning to the readers.

Without the interwebs, I'd never attempt this madness. A searchable dictionary and kenning list is invaluable, and the on-line grammar makes things much simpler.

So there you are. Hope this helps. Thanks for the question!

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Ok, now it's YOUR turn. What's your question?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

For Our King

It's only fair....

Since I wrote a verse for Her Majesty, Kallista, earlier this week, it's only fair that I write one for His Majesty, Andreas. I don't want to cause jealousy, after all. So, here you go:

Old Norse Verse Word-by-Word Translation Prose Order Translation
Vannt sigkrónu hvennær
vegmaðr hugsa degum -
Hár þá haslstangir
hristaskjala lézt af.
blóðdrukkinn var biðan
bragning Yggjar gæsa
Fyrir eik fagrbúin
frægða sigrast dag sá.
Won you crown victory when
stately man, I recall day
Hár then hazel-poles
shakers of shield slaughtered;
blood-drunk were biding
hero Yggr’s geese.
For oak beautifully dressed
glory you won day that.
I recall the day when
you won crown victory, stately man;
Then, Hár of hazel poles, you
slaughtered the shakers of shields.
Yggr’s biding geese
were blood-drunk, ruler.
That day, you won glory for
The beautifully dressed oak.

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Kennings Used

Hár haslstangir > Har of hazel-poles > Odinn of the lists > ANDREAS
Hristaskjala > shakers of shields > WARRIORS
Yggjar gæsa > Yggr’s geese > Odinn’s goose > RAVEN
eik fagrbúin > oak beautifully dressed > KALLISTA
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COMMENTS

Please, give me your thoughts, either in the comment box below or at my e-mail.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another Morguhn verse (or Two Couplets Revised)

Good morning! Last summer after my annual vacation at the Pennsic Wars, I wrote a post that has two couplets I wrote while on vacation. It is time for revision of these verses into a full verse.

The couplets with the translations I provided are as follows:
Verse One

haslaði á holm-gang
holinn-menn fyrir gull-hringr

Challenged (he) to holm-gang
bragging-men for gold-ring-the

Verse Two

röskar Morghun rauð-harr
ræti hamingja leitinn

brave Morguhn red-haired
rode (his) fortune seeking
When I looked at these couplets, I saw definite strengths, but considerable weaknesses in three areas: internal rhymes in the first lines, syllable counts, and inflections. These three are difficult, but can be overcome with practice. That caused me to revise these couplets and to expand them into a full verse. That verse follows.

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On Morguhn


Old Norse Verse Word-by-Word Translation Prose-Order Translation
Rǫskr Morguhn rauð-harr
ræti auðna leitinn;
létta skellihlátr
lǫngun ofan ǫnda.
Skora karpinn sverðum
á sártíð fyrir dýrðum
sjaufjald krúnas sinnum
sló menn inni hǫsldala.
Brave Morguhn red-haired
rode fortune seeking
lightened roaring laughter
longing up spirits.
Challenged bragging swords
to wound-hours for treasure;
seven crown's times
slew men in hazel-dale.
Brave red-haired Morguhn
rode seeking (his) fortune;
Roaring laughter lightened
longing spirits up.
Bragging swords (he) challenged
to wound-hours for treasure;
Seven times (he) slew men
in the crown's hazel-dale.


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Kennings Used


karpinn sverðum > bragging swords > FIGHTERS
sártíð > wound-hours > BATTLES
hǫsldala > hazel-dale > LIST FIELD

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Comments

As always, I hope I got the grammar right. There are times when the inflections I use may be inadvertently incorrect. If you see a mistake, please let me know.

I keep coming back to this theme, The Legend of Morguhn, because it has some universal truths in it: chivalry, courtesy, prowess, and fate. I only know that these verities bear further consideration. If you have suggestions on different topics I can use to explore these ideas, please let me know through comments.

Finally, any other comments you have - questions, remarks, likes and dislikes - are very important to me. You can use the box below, or you can e-mail me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

For Queen Kallista

Yes, it's about time --- I know, I'm late. I started this on Saturday last at the Coronation of Kallista and Andreas, Queen and King of Æthelmearc. The verse is relatively straight forward, except that praise lines for Her Majesty are inserted between lines of action. In any case, here is the poem.




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Old Norse Word-by-Word Translation Prose-Order Translation
Sverðtré hvattu svartbrynn
(svanni grœngeils fannvit)
á frágǫrðum frœkligum
(fríðast, sváss ok bliðust).
Drjúgtmanna bjoða dróttningu
(dreglaðr raftré fegna
rauðharr verndar ratitosks)
rausnarkona hraustviðs.
Sword-tree you prompted black-browed
(swan of green-glen snow-white)
To surpassing feats valiant
(most beautiful, sweet, and gentlest)
Crowds proclaim you queen
(ribbon-trimmed amber tree joyful
red-haired friend of squirrel)
magnificent lady of the valiant woods.
You prompted the black-browed sword tree
to valiant surpassing feats
o snow-white swan of the green glen
most beautiful, sweet, and gentlest.
Crowds proclaim you queen,
magnificent lady of the valiant woods
Joyful ribbon-trimmed amber tree -
red-tressed friend of the squirrel.




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Kennings Used

Sverðtré svart-brynn > sword tree black-browed > ANDREAS
grœngeils > of the green-glens > SYLVAN GLEN
svanni fannvit > swan snow-white > KALLISTA
raftré > amber tree > KALLISTA
hraustviðs > valiant woods > AETHELMEARC




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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reykvellir (Reek-seether)

Yes, volcanos. Two volcanic photos that appeared at the APOD blog inspired me for these verses. Once again, these are pretty kenning & heiti heavy.  The kennings and heiti are explained in my notes at the end.

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This is of an Ecuadorian volcano, but it's STILL nifty
(http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120402.html)


This is of Eyjafjallajokull, during its 2010 eruption
(http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100419.html)

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Old Norse Word-by-Word Prose-Order

Borgar liðdrjúg berg-buis
byrræfr braut niðr dýrligt
ok gilja inni gullin,
glóa seyðir Hveðrungs.
Bó­­­tar jǫrðhrist bergklædd
bǫls darka élsólars;
brandar fuðra brenn-steinn
ok bróta duna Hlóriðs


Fortress mighty of mountain-dweller
breeze-roof broke up glorious
and gullies in golden
glow fire-pits of Hveðrung.
Boots earthquakes rock-clad
trouble's stomp of storm-sun;
brands flame of brimstone
and breaks thunder of Hlórið.


Mountain-dweller's mighty fortress
broke up the glorious breeze-roof
and Hveðrung´s fire-pits
glow in golden gullies.
Storm-sun´s trouble´s rock-clad
boots stomp earthquakes;
brimstone brands flame
and Hloriðd's thunder breaks.


Vaðil flæddi váðvæng
velland neðan eld-fjall;
reykvellir er rǫkvið
ropað yfir snóplaxu.
Jotunn brunnum átfrek
ǫska fretar mǫkku;
strangtvið þa er stráfall
strjúpi ǫskeld uppvarp.

Wading streams flow perilous
molten down fire-hill;
twilit reek seether
belches over snow-plains.
Giant burning voracious
ash farts clouds;
strong-woods when straw-fall
bleeding-trunk fire-ash throws up.

Molten wading-streams flow
down perilous fire-hill;
twilit reek seether
belches over snow plains.
Voracious giant farts
burning ash clouds;
when bleeding trunk vomits
fire-ash strong wood straw-fall.




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Kennings and Heiti Used


Verse One

Borgar berg-buis > fortress of Mountain-dweller > VOLCANO
byrræfr > breeze-roof > SKY
seyðir Hveðrungs > Hveðrungs (a heiti for LOKI) seether (fire-pit) > VOLCANO CRATER
bǫls élsólars > trouble of the storm-sun > TROLL
bó­­­tar bǫls élsólars > the boots of the troll > TREMORS
brandar brenn-steinn > brands of brimstone > LIGHTNING
Hlóriðs > heiti for THOR

Verse Two

Vaðil flæddi velland > wading streams molten > LAVA
reykvellir > reek-seether > VOLCANO
Jotunn átfrek > giant voracious > VOLCANO
stráfall > straw-fall > PERISH, DIE
strjúpi > bleeding-trunk (spoken of a neck after the head is severed) > VOLCANO CRATER

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