Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gullin-lappar (Golden-paws) Update: RIP Mr. Sid

[UPDATE: Mr. Sid left us last month. He developed a terrible thing called a "saddle thrombosis" and we had to have him euthanized. We will miss him very very much.]


Himself, at his best

And, as a kitten


I've been knocking this poem around since before Christmas.  It got back-burnered for a very long time, until I decided that I'd better get it done. (There's another one waiting ... maybe by next week.)

We have this cat, Sid Vicious On Your Feet by name, a great tawny boy - reputedly the Most Beautful Cat In The World.

As you can see, he is ALWAYS on the alert.

Last fall, I watched him, at the ready, stalking a squirrel across our yard.  As he moved, the wind blew the leaves and poor Sid jumped, startled.  The squirrel fled into the trees and swore at the feline intruder.  It inspired this poem.


Old Norse Prose Order Translation
Gullinn ferr til geigrðing
gnýstœririnn geira;
kyndug grimm-lig kat-fimr
koma hann um vǫlinn.
Tvistrir mǫgu úvina
valds-maðr likr frjó-korn;
jaga fat-tokt eye-lǫpp
æztan konung trjá.

Skjaldar hirðsmanns silfra
spjalla Dumbs-riks glumra;
Þinga-menn þrǫngvinn
þrapa-þengils kjaptað;
haldinn ef úhræddr
hann trýta deigliga.
forðandi skayti fjarri
flein-þundr ganga smán-lauss.

Gellanði gulli-hagr
grá-skipa í siglir;
gnistan tǫnnum ganga
gunnbráðr þil-fer kong-túsks.
tyrfa í siglu-trján
trú-lauss reð-valdr grufa;
Hann bǫl-vanar hendi
hæst frá greiner skatar.

Flýða þengill fljóta
flé-fot heiman skrefa;
mun beiða á morgunn
mattig tjal-hæst rannari.
The golden one goes to the war-thing
Increaser of the din of spears;
guileful, grimly cat-agile
comes he across the field.
Scatters many-foes
the wolf-feeder like seed-corn;
hunts strong-hearted quick-paw
the highest king of trees.

(as) Shields guards' silver
confidant of Misty-realm's rattle;
Thing-men thronging
of quarrel-king chatter.
Halting but fearless,
he growls softly;
Avoiding missiles far-off
the spear-god presses forward.

Yelling, golden-hair,
gray-ships among sails;
gnashing-teeth goes
battle-fast (to) squirrel-king's decks.
fir-tree within the mast-trees
the infidel tyrant cowers;
he curses hurls
highest from branched tree-tops.

The lord of trees flees
(and) the warrior mighty stalks home;
Tomorrow he will hunt again
the mighty high-branch runner.

Kennings Used

Verse One

gnýstœririnn geira > increaser of the din of spears > WARRIOR
valds-maðr > wolf-feeder > WARRIOR
eye-lǫpp > quick-paw > CAT

Verse Two

Skjaldar silfra > shields of silver > LEAVES
Þinga-menn þrapa-þengils > Quarrel-king's thing-men > SQUIRRELS
flein-þundr > spear-God > WARRIOR

Verse Three

tyrfa í siglu-trján > fir tree in mast-trees > man among the ships

Verse Four

þengill fljóta > Lord of trees > SQUIRREL KING
tjal-hæst rannari > high-brach runner > SQUIRREL


I hope you enjoyed this one.  Of course, now that I've written for Sid & Freya, I owe the other two poems.  Please leave me comments!  Thank you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Þoku-vísur (Fog verses)

Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends!

It does, however, go on hiatus without warning.  I apologize for the past three or four weeks of silence.  Between the holidays, an attack of personal life revolving around getting my daughter back to college, and just plain dog-laziness, I haven´t written in about a month.  But this week, things are coming back.

So, you get two verses for the price of one today.  Both are Þoku-vísur [Fog verses]. They are inspired by a picture that a friend posted to FaceBook and by a verse from Þorleifs þáttr jarlsskálds. The poem, Jarlsnið contains a helmingr from a lost poem called þoku-vísur (Fog Verses). The helmingr is as follows:

Þoku dregr upp et eystra,
él festisk et vestra, 
mǫkkr mun náms, af nøkkvi, 
naðrbings kominn hingat.

I make it out to mean (in prose order):

The fog rises in the east, the snow grows to the west -
The mind studies the clouds, the snake-bed ship comes to the journey.

Between one thing and another, I am fascinated by making the fog come to life in some verses. You have two un-connected verses here. The only relationship between them is the metaphor of the fog. The first is in the first-person - a personification of fog.  The second is in the second-person, addressed to the unnamed person experiencing a fog.


Old Icelandic Line-by-Line Translation Prose-Order Translation
Dregg ek up a Eystra -
jaga ek a lappar;
þyrja fold ek fetum -
fjall ok fjörðu halda.
Hlymr þagga hrossa -
hjaldr breiða skjaldar:
rauðu grá-fá hræflóð
en rekja mara ekka.

Hlébarð sigltu hjúpat
hanka á ólginn jölla -
vápn-þrumu vánar,
vig-stríða þu sæki.
Blindað-þoku bana-
blígja aum-lig á draum-skrok;
hvískum váfa hvæsa
hvaðan aefa heyra.
Rise I up in the East -
hunt on cat´s paws;
I sweep over the fields -
fells and firths I hold.
hoofbeats I silence horse´s -
uproar cloak shield´s:
red gray-paint I carrion-flood -
but unwind nightmares sobbing.

Bear sail you shrouded
cleat's to the swell of strife -
weapon-thunder desire,
spear-strife you seek.
Fog-blind, death's
gaze piteously at dream-fiend;
whispering ghosts hissing
from all sides you hear.
I rise in the east (and)
hunt on cat's paws;
I sweep over the fields (and)
hold fells and flords.
I silence horse's hoofbeats (and)
cloak the shield's uproar;
I gray-paint the red carrion-flood,
but unwind sobbing nightmares.

You sail the shrouded cleat-bear
to the swell of strife -
weapon-thunder you desire,
spear-strife you seek.
You gaze fog-blind
at death´s nightmares
From all sides you
hear the hissing ghost whisper


Kennings Used


hjaldr skjaldar  >  uproar of shields  >  BATTLE
hræflóð  >  carrion-flood  > BLOOD


Hlébarð hanka >  bear of the cleat  >  SHIP
draum-skrok  >  dream-phantom  >  NIGHTMARE


Like It?  Hate it?  Leave Your Comments Below, Please!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I want to wish all my readers a Happy New Year! When I began this back in May, I thought that no one would ever find it and read it. To date, 2400+ hits from around 35 nations. The last part surprises me the most.

 During 2012, I plan to post at least once a week. I hope you will continue to read, enjoy, and comment more often!

For now, though, a nýju tólf mánuðr gróða to all of you!