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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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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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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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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May the Jólabál burn brightly in your heart!

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