Thursday, November 21, 2013

RAVENS (again)!

And, this time, in English!

Wow! I guess I haven't posted anything in a very very long time. My apologies for the silence, but the muse has not been hanging around very much recently.

I have been writing, but I've more involved in music. At the Pennsic War this year (that being a two-week camping event in the SCA), I purchased a replica Sutton Hoo lyre. I've been slowly learning more about the music that would have heard in 12th-13th century Iceland and attempting to write some tunes to accompany my poetry. That has become my excuse for not writing new poetry.

However, recently I've been working in English, transforming my ON poetry into English. In this, I attempt to write good dróttkvætt while keeping or improving the meaning of the ON original. I'm also working on my knowledge of ON grammar, in order to improve my poetry in the original tongue. That will take some time, but I hope to publish some revised poetry during the winter months.

So, here is the first of two poems I have reworked. It is about ravens.

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Gaze on sword storm's glory
gore geese black-eyed soaring.
Hear in harshest whispers
horrid tales of corpse-talk.
Bandying secrets baleful
Baldr's blood-hawks huddle -
Hoar's minions lone hear
harm trees Hel-bound quelléd

Silent fly the soul hawks
Swans drink wine from wound fjord
to gold-tongued sword pierced gallants
goslings sharp-beaked harken.
Tales from fallen telling
Tyr's grace brings to hersir
Offer gifts most awe-filled
arm-rings fit for Herjans.

Home fly swarms of Hugin
(Hanged-gods coal black henchmen - )
Guide the noble guardsmen
(glory sing of war-folk)
Maids of Viðris mighty
(mind hoard keep you kindly)
Savour souls of sword trees
(and sagas sing of ring-gods)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


There are many kennings there. A couple might need expelling. First, in verse in verse one, Hoar is an Óðinn name. Also, in verse two, the last line refers to Herjan, another Óðinn name, as is Viðris in verse three. "Hoar's minions" is a raven-kenning; and "Maids of Viðris" is a kenning for valkyries.

The other word that may jar slightly is "quelléd" at the close of verse one. I chose the word based on the ON kvelja "to torment". Thus, for my purposes, "quelled" means "tormented, tortured."

Please let me know your questions, thoughts, and ideas. And, I'll be back very soon with another new blogpost. Promise!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Transformational Poetry

So, in reading Up Jim River by Michael Flynn, I came across an interesting analogy for translation:
"What a tangled path when we find these Emrikii," Sofwari said. "We have to think in Gaelectic, our earwigs will render that in the loora nuxrjes'r. Watershank will translate that into the tanga cru'tye, and Skins will translate that to murgãglaiz. Any rabbit of thought that makes it through that bramble will surely be skinned by then."
That's how I feel sometimes when I'm moving my poetry through its transformation from English to Old Norse - I wonder how much of the rabbit will come through the bramble patch unscathed and how it will be changed.

The poem I'm publishing today is an example of this process. I am giving you the original poem which is about a far more cruel transformation, followed by the Old Norse transformation with the usual word-by-word and prose-order translations.

*****************************************************************
This poem is an extended metaphor. I leave it to the reader to puzzle it out.

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.


*****************************************************************


And here it is after its transformation:

Old Norse Verses Word-by-Word Translation Prose Order Translation
Fald-dægi fiski róinn
fyrir laxar glóinn
ófut þín net þykku
fiskum grípa upp kvikku;
Hnykkjat bendu netja
bustar fengsæll bretja
aptr húgaðir hverjum
hafs alriðinn hirðum.
Day-break fisher rowing
for salmon glowing;
you wove your net thick
fish to catch quick.
You pulled cords of nets
hauling fish turn-upwards;
after remembered every
sea all-writhing herd.
Fisher at day-break rowing
for gleaming salmon;
you wove your tight net
to catch quick fish.
The nets' cords you pulled,
hauling fish turned-upwards;
After you recalled every
writhing sea-herd.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Dróttkvætt for a Poet & Brewer

This past Saturday, Lord Magnus Hvalmagi was inducted into the Order of the Maunche by TRM Gregor & Kenna, King & Queen of the East. I was honored to write the scroll text. The form is the dreaded dróttkvætt. The translation & notes follow the scroll text. The very talented Lady Isabel Chamberlaine calligraphed and limned the scroll.




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You can hear it here:


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Scroll wording for Magnus Hvalmagi's Maunche

Margnum beinad mikill
meistari raust hrosta
skaðamaðr sanngõfugr
salgauks  bruggað õlblóð.
Fræði gróf at fornskrár
fróða elszk hann sõgu
klifsstaf tárit korni
kallað frem hvalmegi.

Heitað bytár á hverlegi
hvel maðr gullin svelgas -
fleyliðit hann Freyjas
fljóta sem munvágs Dáins
Dimmt þungliga drupu
dvergregn á eyru herrar
áðr Magnus gõrvirõls
á dómi með sõgu koma.

Õlhaf bitið Óðins
ok hornstraum klari fagreygr
Kenna drottning kenst ok
konungr Gregor greypr
Magnus bjorwit beina á
bróðerni stuka ok duppuð
með guðvefr stuka ok gullin
hann albezt hvalmegi

Dæmað þess sexdagr heyannirs, fertugátt ár stofnanar í Líndalfylki á herbúðir.

Gregor, konungr
Kenna, drottning

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Many call out for the
mighty master of malt
most noble slayer of hallcock
brews a bloody ale.
Craft-lore dug from ancient
scrolls Lore-wise makes him -
Whale mighty calls forth
Tears of of gold corn's wave-prow.

Man of golden gurges brewed
bee-tears to cauldron liquor -
His aleships of Freya
float as Dains blithe waves.
Heavily dripped the dark
dwarfrain on the master's ears
ere Magnus ale-maker
brought his tales to court.

Odin's ale-sea and clear
hornstream moved
faireyed Kenna queen and
fiercest Gregor king -
Beer-wise Magnus lifted they
to the Sleeve Order and
clad best goosesmart whale-might
 in sleeves of perse and gold.

Proclaimed this sixth day of the harvest season, the forty-eighth year of the Founding,  in Flax-dale-Shire, at War Camp.

Gregor King

Kenna Queen

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NOTES ON KENNINGS & VOCABULARY USED:

Verse 1:

meistari hrosta > master of malt > brewer

skaðamaðr sanngõfugr salgauks > most noble slayer of the hallcock > the poet seems to make reference to a ritual slaying of a rooster, somehow associated with  õlblóð or blood-ale.

ságufrúða > Lore-wise > learned in research

klifsstaf tárit korni > tears of of gold corn's wave-prow > ale or beer.

Hvalmegi  > Whale-mighty > reference to the subject's byname.

Verse 2:

Heitað bytár á hverlegi  > Brewed bee-tears to cauldron-liquor > "bee-tears" are honey; "cauldron-liquor" can denote both ale/mead AND poetry.

hvel maðr gullin svelgas > man of golden gurges (whirlpool) > reference to the subject's shield.

fleyliðit Freyjas > Freya's aleships > poetry.

munvágs Dáins > bright waves of Dain (a dwarf name) > verses or ale.

Dimmt dverregn > Dark dwarfrain > poetry. Heavy, stolid poetry.

gõrvirõls > maker of ale > brewer and poet.

Verse 3:

Ólhaf óðins ok hornstraum klari > Odin's ale-sea and clear horn-streams > poetry & ale.

bjórwit > beer-wise > skilled in brewing.

bróðerni stuka  > sleeve brotherhood > Order of the Maunche.

gaglbjartr > goose-bright or goose-smart > intelligent

guðvefr > good-weave > a costly fabric for Kings > hence, metaphorically, purple.

Prose close:

heyannirs > harvest months > July and August.

stofnanar > the Founding's Year > Anno Societatis

Lindalfylki  >  Flax-dale-Shire > Shire of Glenn Linn.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Spring is Here!" (Meginn drápa riki - drapa for King Maynard)

"Sprrrring is here ..... Sprrrring is here. Life is skittles and life is beer! I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do, don't you? 'course you do. But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me, And makes ev'ry sunday a treat for me." - Tom Lehrer

"Berið ér aptr, es várar, fleyvangs til Orkneyja, [Carry back, when it is spring, across the ship-plain to the Orkneys,]" - Sigmundr Ǫngull


In Spring, a young man's fancy turns toward ... sword-play! Raiding! Battle! Blood! Gore! What more could a true warrior ask for?

This poem, Meginn drápa riki, is about just that. For as the sun rises higher in the sky, the fjords thaw and the warships can head across the plains of puffins to find new treasure.

The poem is in dróttkvætt and is loaded with kennings. It is written for Maynard and Liadain, who will become King and Queen of Aethelmearc in April. Maynard's name means "Strength" in German, and Meginn is both an Old Icelandic adjective with the same meaning and a 14th century Norwegian name.

Recordings will happen, in a bit.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Meginn drápa riki (Drápa for King Maynard)

Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Stef:

Veðr vill blásask Viðurs
er várvíkingar fara.
Er sólarvagn sigla
skúrir Gauts vill fljúgask.

Eptir Skaði aprast
askar hafði blásit
ok grundar sofa gengit
innan grip hennar svipinn,
þá fjǫrðuísa Njarðar
fríðka munnar gliðna
atatata ítar
ok ístannar þeirra gnísta.

Boðit, máttkar mœðir
málmrunna aldrunur,
vápna gnýlinns viðir
viggjálfar greiða seglhund.
Fyr ræða jarl ok riki
með ruglandinn huldu -
með Vikingum á vári
veðri Hôars koma.

(Stef)

þrekramr heyrðuð þarlands
þengill orðum benrǫgns -
konung boðaði kinngrár
kattar lundar atgeirs:
Nú seglbúinn austansjór
skildir brands skeiðar -
Ǫðlings rikis afmá
andmáligir brandar.

Hersa dróttinn heyrðuð
hugstrangr dreka fluginn:
engis lúru lundar
landgramr leiddi randa.
"Foldir sumars fámask
fagrastr hrifsa, lifra!"
kambi kallaði gullin
konung miðjulondum.

(Stef)

Virðar óþyrmir varga
vestan á borðhestum
fljúgusk á feginum
með fleinþollar erlendis.
At skǫmmu, Stœrir gumr
sótr súða rotaðir -
kafþjórs brenna kefir
kattar dróttin máttigr.

Brima, þjóðar bragning,
bǫrð renndusk at jǫrðu
ok á gustum hljópu geirs
gífrs hestar hlessa.
Þá fló drekinn dǫkkhárr
at drifum Hóars rifsinn -
med angr ýs ok undreyr,
auðvin, songst dauð þeirra.

(Stef)

Merkum snuask at myrkum,
mattigr yngva áttkonr
ok gjofvinr leiddir vendværr
vaskast hersa fastligar.
Drotinn austum jofra
oddum merjiðr berat
ok kisar hel valkasti,
konungr, hafði brunnit.

Dróttning brímr dómsorð
drekifólkum draga.
hveiti hræteina
hjálms víðir hafði bítat
Hrafnsvini flaut í rennr
heiti sár af hveitum.
Aðalbórinn eyðir
yfir svikfolk vinna.

(Stef)

Siðan hugaðr sigÞróttr ---
sármenn á dǫgum fornum
linntanna þryngoss ellandr
--- leiddar lundar gunnborðs.
Siðan at þer stedfast ---
sigrhorna at hlífðrum
uppdalum blásisk austkendr
--- augum renna meyja

Hegni jarla hyggiligr
hjalm-Njǫrðungum kallir.
Almdrósar drótinn orkar
árum hagla bogna.
Konungr svarum kringjir
krossklædd Ýtar ôsu.
hafs þík svarum hyrþǫll
hundmargr þekkjandar þunnblás.

(Stef)
Refrain:

Odin's wind will blow
when spring-vikings roam.
When the sun's wain sails,
The rains of Gaut will fly.

After Skaði harshest
the ash trees has blasted
and sleeping are the green fields
in her sweeping grip,
then Njorð's handsome mouth,
fjords of ice are breaking -
chattering and gnashing
glorious ice teeth rumble

You ordered, mighty troubler
of battle-runners thundering,
din-snakes trees to armor
and steed-elves fast to sail hounds.
(for) jarl and king are plotting
with secrecy confounding,
(and) Hóar's mighty storms come
with Vikings in the Spring.

(Refrain)

In far-off land you heard
kings' words of bloody-rain
how king of cats commanded
grey-cheeked trees of halberds:
in eastern seas are sail-bound
war-prows' shield-providers -
now come contentious fire brands
to savage noble marklands.

You heard, our Warrior ruler
flying dragons strong-willed:
the prince of the meadow's halibut
led the trees of the rims.
"Fields of summer fairest
let us pillage, brothers!"
cried the gold-hatted -
the King of the middle lands.

(Refrain)

Plank-horse riding western men,
outlaw-crusher, joined you -
joined in battle joyful
to stop the spear-firs foreign.
Soon, soot-horses of the plank
you stunned, strengthener of men
the sea-ox of the deep you burned
and harmed the cat jarl mighty.

Then ran aground the planks of surf,
prince of men most valiant,
and stunned the troll's horses leaping,
did the Aethling's spear-gust
Then flew the plundering dragon -
into Hóars snow-storm deadly
treasure-friend, you sang their death
with wound-reeds and yew´s sorrow.

(Refrain)

You faced the darkened Eastern banners
mighty heir of kings.
And lead most valiant war-men sturdy,
bounty's-friend hard-pleased.
Lord of princes, brought you crushing
to mighty Eastern armies
and you, our mighty king, have burned
the corpse-pile of the kittens.

King fiery dooms-word
to dragon-army brought
wheat of carrion-twigs
helm-trees have bitten.
Ravens wine flowed from running
hot wounds from axes.
Noble-born destroyer
over evil vanquished.

(Refrain)

Again, o bold victory-Þróttr ---
as snake-fanged wound-men
as of old surround us
--- you lead the trees of battle-boards.
Again, o stedfast victory maid---
with eastern victory-horns
in hidden up-dales blasting
--- our yearning eyes beseech you.

Jarl-punisher wisest calls
forth the helms of Norðir -
Queen of the bow-maid summons
messengers of the hailstones of the bow.
Cross-clad King, we, the cunning
gods of shields, answer.
Fir of the sea-fire, we, the many
knowers of the linen-cord answer.

(Refrain)


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Notes

There are three recurring images that may need explanation: first, the Kingdom of the East (Northeastern US & Eastern Canada) uses a blue tyger as its totem; this explains the references to King of Cats, etc. Second, the Middle Kingdom (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky) has the dragon as its totem; thus the dragon references. Finally, although it only makes a cameo appearance, the Kingdom of Ealdormere (Ontario) is the home of the wolves; that's where that reference comes from.

A final note: yes, I know that kisar valkasti is pretty danged gruesome. All I can say is that "War isn't for the Squeamish."

Kennings Used


Stef:

Veðr Viðurs > Odin's weather > BATTLE/WAR
várvíkingar > Vikings of Spring > RAIDERS
sólarvagn > Sun's wain > SUN
skúrir Gauts > showers of Gautr > ARROWS

VERSE 1:

Skaði > goddess of Winter > WINTER
munnar Njarðar > Njorð's mouth > ICE
ístannar > ice teeth > ICE FLOES

VERSE 2:

máttkar mœðir málmrunna aldrunur > mighty troubler of battle-runners > troubler of warriors > KING
gnýlinns viðir > din-snakes trees > sword trees > WARRIORS
viggjálfar > war-elves > SAILORS
seglhund > sail-hound > SHIP
veðri Hôars > Hoar´s storms > WAR

VERSE 3:

orðum benrǫgns > words of bloody rains > OMENS
konung kattar > King of Cats > EASTERN KING
lundar atgeirs > trees of halberds > WARRIORS
brands > SWORDS
skildir skeiðar > shield providers > WARRIORS
Ǫðlings rikis > Aethling´s realm > noble realm > ÆTHELMEARC
andmáligir brandar > contentious brands > WARRIORS

VERSE 4:

Hersa hugstrangr > warrior ruler > KING MAYNARD
drótinn dreka > King of the dragon > MIDDLE KING>
engis lúru landgramr > land-ruler of the meadow-fish > King of the snake > MIDREALM KING
lunar randa > trees of rims > trees of shields > WARRIORS
kambi gullin > gold-hatted > KING

VERSE 5:

Virðar vestan > men of the west (who ride plank-horses) > SAILORS/WARRIORS
borðhestum > plank-horses > SHIPS
fleinþollar > spear-firs > WARRIORS
sótr súða > soot-horses > WOLVES
Stœrir gumr > strengthener of men > KING
kafþors kefir > sea-ox of the deep > SHIPS
kattar drótinn > King of cats > EASTERN KING

VERSE 6:

þjóðar bragning > prince of men > KING
bǫrð brim > planks of the surf > SHIPS
gustum geirs > wind of spears > BATTLE/ATTACK
gífrs hestar > troll's horses > WOLVES
drekinn dǫkkhárr > dark-haired dragon > KING OF THE MIDDLE
drifum Hóars > Hóar's storm > Odin's storm > WAR
angr ýs > Yew's sorrow > FIRE
undreyr > wound-reeds > ARROWS
auðvin > treasure-friend > KING

VERSE 7:

yngva áttkonr > heir of kings > KING MAYNARD
gjofvinr > bounty-friend > KING MAYNARD
hersa > war-men > WARRIORS
drótinn jofar > lord of princes > KING MAYNARD
kisar valkasti > corpsepile of kittens > DEAD EASTERN WARRIORS

VERSE 8:

drekifólkum > dragon-army > MIDDLE WARRIORS
hveiti hræteina > wheat of carrion-twigs > SPEARS
hjálms víðir > helmet-trees > WARRIORS
Hrafnsvini > wine of ravens > BLOOD
Aðalbórinn eyðir > noble-born destroyer > KING MAYNARD

VERSE 9:

sigÞróttr > victory-Þróttr >victory-Odin > KING MAYNARD
linntanna sármenn > snake-fanged wound-men > MIDREALM WARRIORS
lundar gunnborðs > trees of battle-boards > WARRIORS
sigrhorna > victory-horns > WAR CRIES
renna meyja > victory-maiden > QUEEN LAIDAIN

VERSE 10:

Hegni jarla > conqueror of jarls > KING MAYNARD
hjalm-Njǫrðungum > helms ofNjǫrð > WARRIORS
Almdrósar drótinn > Ruler of elm-maids > ruler of valkyries > QUEEN LIADAIN
hagla bogna > hail of bows > FLIGHT OF ARROWS
konungr krossklædd > cross-clad king > KING MAYNARD (after his coat of arms)
Ýtar ôsu > gods of spears > WARRIORS
hafs hyrþǫll - fir of sea-fire > fir of gold > QUEEN LIADAIN
þekkjandar þunnblás knowers of the linen-cord > ARCHERS

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LIKE IT? HATE IT? GOT QUESTIONS? GOT OPINIONS?


Leave a comment below or write me.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Songs for Wolves!

Hi, there. I'm sort of between verses (got two or three more to go on the latest poem, then polishing and revision). So, here are a couple of SCA-related songs I've written. As a brief explanation, I live in the Barony of Thescorre, which is located in the Rochester, NY, area ("Thescorre" being an anagram of "Rochester"). The Kingdom (or regional group) we belong to is the Kingdom of Aethelmearc. The Kingdom to the North of us is Ealdormere (the Province of Ontario). We often jibe good-naturedly about the Great Lakes as the Inland Seas, and dispute over who owns them. And, we are presently engaged in The Great Aethelmearc-Ealdormere Cross-Border Bardic Tiff and Colour War which began here.

These two songs, in English (as Old Norse can be as hard as Korean), feature the Baron of Thescorre (which has three ravens on its arms) repelling an invasion of the Grey Wolves of Ealdormere. It seems that such mockery has caused some folks to go a bit nuclear, and to threaten us with their verbal missiles.

I hope that you'll enjoy the results of our bardic conclave.

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Wolves Song # 1
(The Foxes Song)
Wolves Song # 2
(The Grey Wolves Song1)
The wolves came down to sing one night
They gathered in a circle in the pale moonlight
The other creatures fled in fright
As the wolves put up their howl, oh
foul-o, growl-o
The other creatures fled in fright
as the wolves put up their howl-o

They bayed at the man who sat in the moon
While the dog ducked out with a cow and spoon
Then they boarded a boat on the lake with the loons1
and they crossed the Inland Seas-o
freeze-o, please-o
they boarded a boat on the lake with the loons
and they crossed the Inland Seas-o

The wolves struck sails and manned the oars
Til they beached their boat on a rocky shore
For they had come to High Thescorre
Where the ravens rule the roost-o
Loose-o, goose-o
For they had come to High Thescorre
Where the ravens rule the roost-o

The Grey Wolves formed up nice and neat
All spiffed out from their ears to their feet
For they had come to steal some meat
And they were counting ku-o2
one-o, two-o
For they had come to steal some meat
And they were counting ku-o

The Raven chief was Bobby Dubh3
The wolves all called him the Raven Boob
But the Ravens knew he was nobody's noob
When his armor he strapped on-o br> on-o, Don-Ho
But the Ravens knew he was nobody's noob
When his armor he strapped on-o
The Raven troops stood to the fray
The archers's arrows found their prey
Soon the mighty grey wolves scurried away
With new feathers in their bums-o
some-o, dumb-o
And the mighty grey wolves scurried away
With new feathers in their bums-o

Away they scampered, the puppies tamed
Back across the puffin plain4
Long on lyrics, but short on brains
And the Ravens drank their beer-o
cheer-o, hero-o
Long on lyrics, but short on brains
And the Ravens drank their beer-o

So to Ealdormere, let this lesson be
Don't come across OUR Inland Seas
Don't look to raid our ku & sheeps
Or your ending will be grim-o
Slim-o, trimmed-o
Don't look to raid our ku & sheeps
Or your ending will be grim-o
CHORUS:

For we sail cross our inland seas
Come to the Grey Wolves' hall on the breeze
Yes, we sail cross our inland seas
To visit the grey wolves, may we sit down please?

We sit in our mead hall, as your ease you take
Your singing and yelling, they keep us awake
You drink and carouse, as your thirst you slake!
We work in the morning, you hosers!
Would you please pipe down, fer Chrissake!

CHORUS

We are simple farmers of mutton and ku
Your cattle are lowing, we hear your ku moo
If you do not want them, we will take home a few
Thanks for the sheep and the critters
We'll sell cheeze and milk back to you
CHORUS

We're rowing our ships as this ditty we sing
We have flaming grenades to toss from our slings
Because you have no doorbell for our King to ring
Your city walls seem to be burning
You're lucky - marshmellows we bring

CHORUS

Your Aethelmearc cousins have come home to roost
We bring back the ravens your grey wolves have loosed
As we're hunting for loons, beaver, and squirtlemoose2
We hope you like our Southern comfort
It may give your spirits a boost!

CHORUS TWICE


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Wolves Song # 1

1 - loons - Ealdormereans, from the totemic bird on their money.
2 - ku - cattle/cows from the Old Norse kus, kus! cow, cow! a milkmaid's call and the English moo! moo!.
3 - Bobby Dubh - "Black Bobby" from the names of the three ravens on Thescorre's banner: Hugin, Munin, and, of course Bob.
4 - puffin plain - a kenning for the sea.

Wolves Song # 2

1 - The Grey Wolves Song - The original melody for this Wolves Song is the iconic The Wolves Song written by Master Hector of the Black Height.
2 - squirtlemoose - the product of the genetic experiments in Great White Northern Cross-Breeding. Behold the Mighty Squirlemoose!



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Friday, March 15, 2013

Saleem drápa goðinn (Drápa for Saleem the Chieftain)

Again, I am writing about a dear friend. Saleem ibn Alefan was the second Baron of Thescorre and has been a marshall (trainer of fighters) in our Barony for many years. Today, he is fighting a brave battle with cancer. This is written for him. Once again, this erfidrápa is premature, and again I pray that both he and my readers live for a very long time.

The form is Ljóðaháttr:
The ljóðaháttr stanza typically contains six lines or two units of three lines each. The first two lines in each unit are connected by alliteration, and the third is also decorated with alliteration. The first two lines have at least two beats and the third three beats.
Source: (http://www.trobar.org/prosody/pnort.php)

You will note that many of the verses in the body of the poem are repeating. The first parts of these verses are largely based on the HÁVAMÅL (The Counsel of Óthinn the One-Eyed) edited and translated by Jackson Crawford.

The recordings will be added in the next few days.

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Saleem drápa goðinn (Drapa for Saleem the Chieftain)
Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Stef:

Skeggjaðr herra
stǫndum prúðliga
snarr svanbekkjar sól
gunngjóð spjotar
góma fólkið
leyfa láðvǫrðr lunda gunnborðs.

Visur:

Heyr þu spakræður
ef sækir mundu
af randa hreggbjóðr
Opts gott þat es gamlir kveða;
opt ýr skơrpum belg
skilin orð koma;

Nú heyrþu orð skaldins
hárra, gamla ok tannlaussa
allþơrf ýta sonum,
heill sás kva.
heill sás kann,
njóti sás nam,
heilir þeirs hlýddu.

(stef)

Sifjum es þá blandat
hverr es segja ræðr
einum allan hugaldr.
Svá með hann -
goða hrafnar -
beztrar vináttu ok helztrar.

Sifjum es þá blandat
hverr es segja ræðr
einum allan hugaldr.
Svá með hann -
hærra þegn prúðr
hlut fríðmǫnnum hafi gefit.

(Stef)

Fróðr sá þykkisk
es fregna kann
ok segja it sama.
Svá með hann -
ráðsmann síðgóðan
launtals skjólsman slæligan.

Fróðr sá þykkisk
es fregna kann
ok segja it sama.
Svá með hann -
Grœðir vísdóms
er hrafnsheim til vigafar fylgir.

Fróðr sá þykkisk
es fregna kann
ok segja it sama.
Svá með hann -
herra hniplings,
ríkismanna raðunautr.

(Stef)

Lifa með drengskap
allt líf þín
ok vil skylfi nipt Fenris að nema þú
Svá með hann -
rǫskvast Hrafnsgóði
fyrst til hríðar Fróða.

Lifa með drengskap
allt líf þín
ok vil skylfi nipt Fenris að nema þú
Svá með hann -
Grimmast gjóða
Fíðrirjóðr Yggjar.

(Stef)

Esat maðr alls vesall
þótt hánn sé illa heill -
sumr es af frændum sæll,
Svá með hann -
lindar línu
fríðill ok vin ljúfastr.

Esat maðr alls vesall
þótt hánn sé illa heill -
sumr es af frændum sæll,
Svá með hann -
álptar-blíða
dóttir ástúðligast.

Esat maðr alls vesall
þótt hánn sé illa heill -
sumr es af frændum sæll,
Svá með hann -
Fygja fast són
djárfastr ok bezt hugaðr.

(Stef)

Glaðr ok reifr
skyli gumna hverr
unz sinn bíðr bana.
Svá með hann -
á Dauði segir
orð sætastu ok hvatastu.

Glaðr ok reifr
skyli gumna hverr
unz sinn bíðr bana.
Svá með oss -
Láta lærið
frá lífi honum vega dugnaðar.

(Stef)
Refrain:

Bearded chieftain
bravely stands
hero of the swan´s bench sun.
Palate spears of people
praise the land-keeper
leader of the shield trees.

Verses:

Hear you wisdom
if seek you would
of the bringer of the shield storm.
wisdom dwells in old men's hearts;
oft from gray-beards
wise words come.

Hear you words
of the hoary skald,
old and toothless, all for men's good.
Health to you who speak them,
Health to you who know them,
Joy to you who learn them,
Health to you who hear them.

(Refrain)

Men are friends
when they can share
their minds' fruit without fear.
Thus with him -
Raven's Chieftain,
of all comrades best and truest.

Men are friends
when they can share
their minds' fruit without fear.
Thus with him -
to men of peace the brave thegn
his greatest share has given.

(Refrain)

He seems wise
who knows the answer
and knows how to explain it.
Thus with him -
counselor honest -
well-versed secret keeper.

He seems wise
who knows the answer
and knows how to explain it.
Thus with him -
Wisdom-feeder
Ravenhome's war-leader.

He seems wise
who knows the answer
and knows how to explain it.
Thus with him -
pelican-lord gentle
counsellor of Kings.

(Refrain)

Live with bravery
all thy life
and Hel will fear to seize you.
Thus with him -
brave Raven´s leader
first to the storm of Fróði.

Live with bravery
all thy life
and Hel will fear to seize you.
Thus with him -
osprey feeder
Yggjar's feather reddener

(Refrain)

Soul-wretched is no man
even if he weakens -
men find happiness in their kin.
Thus with him -
of head-dress linden -
dearest friend and lover.

Soul-wretched is no man
even if he weakens -
men find happiness in their kin.
Thus with him -
of swan's grace lovely-
dearest friend and father.

Soul-wretched is no man
even if he weakens -
men find happiness in their kin.
Thus with him -
of scion stout-heart -
dearest friend and father.

(Refrain)

Man should also
cheerful be,
till certain death comes for him.
Thus with him -
to Death speaks he
sweetest words and bravest.

Man should also
cheerful be,
till certain death comes for him.
Thus with us -
Let us learn
from his life valor´s ways.

(Refrain)


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Kennings Used

svanbekkjar sól > sun of the swan's bench > sun of the river > GOLD
spjotar góma > spears of the palate > TONGUES
Láðvǫrðr > land-keeper > BARON
gunnborðs > shield trees > WARRIORS

hreggbjóðr > shield-storm > WAR
randa hreggbjóðr > bringer of the shield-storm > WARRIOR
hugaldr > mind fruit > THOUGHTS
goða hrafnar > raven's chieftain > THESCORRE BARON
Grœðir vísdóms > wisdom feeder > COUNSELLOR
hrafnsheim > ravens' home > THESCORRE
vigafar fylgir > war-way leader > CHIEFTAIN
herra hniplings > pelican-lord > COMPANION OF THE PELICAN
ríkismanna raðunautr > king's man wisdom-bringer > COUNSELLOR
nipt Fenris > sister of Fenris > HEL
Hrafnsgóði > raven's chieftain > THESCORRE BARON
hríðar Fróða > storm of Fróði > WAR
Grimmast gjóða > osprey feeder > WARRIOR
FíðrirYggjar > feathers of Yggjar > feathers of Odin >RAVEN
Fíðrirjóðr Yggjar > reddener of the feathers of Yggjar > WARRIOR
lindar línu > linden of the head-dress > WOMAN, WIFE
álptar-blíða > swan's grace > MAIDEN, DAUGHTER
Fygja fast són > scion stout-heart > BRAVE SON

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hrafn drápa hvitr (Drapa for the White Raven)

A very good friend of mine, Mistress Morgana bro Morganwg, is seriously ill with cancer. A story-teller of power and vitality, she has been one of my greatest inspirations, helping me in some of the darkest moments of my soul. My debt to her can never be re-paid in full. However, this poem is an attempt to do so. Technically, it should be called an erfidrápa, "memorial poem", but I chose to publish it now so that she can enjoy it as well. It is in the Fornyrðislag metre, one of the most ancient of Old Norse forms. In brief, this metre follows these guidelines:
In each verse there are two lines, connected by alliteration to form pairs:

Vildu at ek Valföðr Vel fyr telja

That creates the base unit of the metrical structure. In the a-line two syllables may alliterate with one syllable in the b-line. It can also be just one syllable in the a-line:

Hljóðs bið ek allar helgar kindir

But in the b-line readers always find a second non-alliterating syllable to put stress on, matching the second stressed syllable (often alliterating) of the a-line.

(source: http://www.trobar.org/prosody/pnort.php)
The "White Raven" in the title come from an Old Norse proverb, sjaldsénir hvítir hrafnar, "White ravens are not seen every day."

In writing this, I hope and pray that both Morgana and my readers are in good health and that she will be with us for a very long time to come.

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Hrafn drápa hvitr

Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
STEF:

Skarpar hrafnar sjaldan vitar -
en heyrðum hofðum hvardýggvu þin

VERSIR:

Folkstari hefir lengi flogit
vitru delir Váfǫðurins.
Elskat hefir angrtæl sifunu
ok reist til þu ramsligs skaldstírs.

Folkstari hefir lengi flogit
vitru delir Váfǫðurins.
Elshrings hernættir allra lærssveinar
flogit hefir til ferða módir.

Folkstari hefir lengi flogit
vitru delir Váfǫðurins.
drykk af vǫtni Skotzkr drekkum -
háraptr með skelli hlægja hristisk.

Sǫguljóðin segðir hetjna
tarrat ágœti Ýtars rítar
af kattum Hǫrna ok handa Tyrs.
Hauk í horni ok Haakon eldbrand

Sǫguljóðin segðir hetjna
tarrat ágœti Ýtars rítar.
af hverrgætum gallharðum Friggjar
af brandum Hofs ok bjóri Hárs.

Fræði borit forna hefðir ok
nafna gefit neytu til þu
manni illast úþegn Atlis
frændum beykra â flatneskjum vígs

Fræði borit forna hefðir ok
nafna gefit neytu til þu
bræðr Þorinns blátta hǫrunds
stolinn svipliga úfalla í strá

Fljugask skipu víð fljót þíslar
ok kertu brenask at þér boðorðum.
þó ert lágvaxinn sonu Lofars
fárreiða hefir frósit með tillit.

Fljugask skipu víð fljót þíslar
ok kertu brenask at þér boðorðum.
at eggþingi kvartað konungar geystir -
grút hellatir á græðum skelfðan.

Um Vestanhavit til Vindheimins
nú hrafn skaltu fljúga hvitr.
Ver skal gráta skalda mæðra
því meguma at fljúga með þu.

Um Vestanhavit til Vindheimins
nú hrafn skaltu fljúga hvitr.
Áhlýðast vilja engir menn á þik
nær fjǫru fundit fjarri hefir.

Um Vestanhavit til Vindheimins
nú hrafn skaltu fljúga hvitr.
munu kvattu með Muninn þá;
bíðliga skaldsǫl drekkir baðir.

REFRAIN:

White Raven, you are seldom heard
But we have listened to your wisdom.

VERSES:

Long war-starling have you flown
wisdom-dealer of Woe-father.
Grief beguiler, you have loved
and raised your folk to strong skald's glory.

Long war-starling have you flown
wisdom-dealer of Woe-father.
Journey-mother, you have led
to war-night fire-rings all your lore-swains.

Long war-starling have you flown
wisdom-dealer of Woe-father.
We drank a draft of Scottish waters
laughter roaring shook Highrafters.

Told the tales of heroes' glory:
Spread the fame of shield impellers
of cats of Freyja, hand of Tyr
of cornered Hawk and fiery Haakon.

Told the tales of heroes' glory:
Spread the fame of shield impellers
of cinder-hardened cooks of Frigga
of brands of Hof and beer of Hárs.

You have brought the ancient lore
and given useful names
to illest man - not Atli's thegn
to Cooper's kin on Pennsic plain.

You have brought the ancient lore
and given useful names
to boldest Þorinn's brothers blue-skinned
steering swift, not-felled-in-straw.

Ships of the wain-shaft swiftly fly
and burn the candles at your bid-words.
Fiercesome Lofar's sons you froze
by glance, though only shrub-high are you.

Ships of the wain-shaft swiftly fly
and burn the candles at your bid-words.
At edge-thing kvetched the raging kings
oil you poured on troubled waters.

O'er Western seas to high Winds' home
You, white raven, now must fly.
True skalds' mother we must weep
because we may not fly with you.

O'er Western seas to high Winds' home
You, white raven, now must fly.
No man to you an ear will give
when you have found the farther shore.

O'er Western seas to high Winds' home
You, white raven, now must fly.
You shall talk with Munin then
blithely drinking skalds-ale both.

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You can hear it in Old Norse here:

video

and in English here:

video

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KENNINGS USED

hrafn vitr - white raven - MORGANA
vitru delir - wisdom-dealer - POET/STORY-TELLER
Folkstari - war-starling - RAVEN
Váfǫðurins - of Woe-Father - ÓÐINN
angrtæl sifunu - Grief-beguiler - MORGANA
lærssveinar - lore-swains - APPRENTICES
ferða módir - Journey-mother - MORGANA
Ýtars rítar - shield impellers - WARRIORS
gallharðum - cinder-hardened - BURNED
manni illast úþegn Atlis - "illest" man not Atli's [Attila's] thegn - "A MOSTLY SQUARE MAN ... WHO WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH TO BE A TUCHUK" - refers to an ancient tale of the Pennsic Wars
bræðr Þorinns blátta hǫrunds - blue-skinned brothers of boldest Thorinn [dwarf] - the NAC MAC FEEGLE from Terry Pratchett's novels
úfalla í strá - not fallen in straw - NOT LOST
skipu þíslar - ships of the wain-shaft - WAGONS/TRAINS
boðorðum - bid-words - ORDERS
Fljugask skipu víð fljót þíslar [at þér boðorðum] - Ships of the wain-shaft swiftly fly at your bid-words - THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME
kertu brenask at þér boðorðum - candles burn at your bid-words - TIMES PASSES ON YOUR ORDERS
sonu Lofars - sons of Lofar - DWARVES
eggþingi - edge thing - WAR
Vindheimins - High Winds' Home - HEAVEN
skalda mæðra - mother of skalds - MORGANA
skaldsǫl - skald's ale - POETRY

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

And here's my February post..........

If it seems as though I've slowed down recently, it's just because I have. I've been trying to get focused on a troubling situation which calls for poetry (or will far too soon), and as I do that, I'm working on studying Old Norse grammar, in order to become a better poet. So, I've slowed down in my writing.

However, I do have a couple of verses that I wrote to meet a challenge: Write a Poem about "Cold".

Now, that's a topic an Icelander can get up on. Two verses: one is brand-new; the other, a reworking of an older piece.

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VERSE ONE

Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Hverja nótt húns hvirfil
hvesti vindr eystri;
fingr ísarns fanga ok
furu besti gnesti;
Skikkja undir Skáðis
sofinn hreinsá dofna;
svan-mærr of snælandum
standa hvela Manis.
Every night of the bear whirl-
sharpens wind eastern
fingers of ice-iron grab and
fir´s bark crack.
Cloak under Skadi's
sleeping reindeer-river drowses
Swan-bright over snow-land
stands the wheel of Mani


Prose Order: Every "night of the bear" eastern whirlwinds sharpen; Ice-iron fingers grab and crack the fir's bark; under Skáði's sleeping cloak, the reindeer-river drowses. Over/above snowfields, Mani's wheel stands.


Kennings Used


nótt húns - night of the bear - WINTER
finger ísarns - fingers of iron - COLD
Skáðis skikkja - Skaði´s cloak - SNOW (Skaði is the goddess of winter)
hreinsá - reindeer´s river - GROUND
hvela Mánis - Mani's wheel - MOON (Mani is the ON representation of the moon)

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VERSE TWO


Old Norse Verses Poetic Translation
Þagnar þá er þegnar
þorra flugar bruggar;
festar snjóvita fastliga
fagrast kæfa gerðin;
hremma at hrimþursar
hringumgrundar blindir
jakar frystat Jokuls
ýsna fyrir lýtegu
Grow silent when thegns
of Thorra bees scheme;
Chains snow-white tightly
fairest choke fenced fields;
Clutch at rime-giants
rings of field blind;
Ice-flows freeze of Jokull
of haddocks over fish-fields.


Prose Order: Bees grow silent when Thegns of Thor scheme; Snow-white chains tightly choke fairest gardens; Blind rime-giants clutch at rings of the field; Jokull´s ice-flows freeze over haddock´s fish-fields.


Kennings Used


þegnar þorra - þorra´s thegns - SNOW (þorra is a Freyja name)
hrimþursar - Rime giants - STORMS
hringumgrundar - rings of the field - SNAKES
jakar Jokuls - Jokul's ice-flows - SNOW & ICE (Jokull is a Giant name)
ýsna lýtegu - haddocks' fish fields - PONDS

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Þúsundir runhendt (in honor of 10,000 hits)

In Old Norse, a number such as 10,000 was very much an imaginary number. No one had to count that high. Thus, Þúsundir "thousands" indicates an enormous number. Today, this blog had its ten thousandth hit. In honor of that, I bring my loyal readers a little runhendt:

Tólgs tré glóa
Þundregns flóa
þúsundir sæll
Nýjarit tel

Tallow trees glow
Þunds rain flows
Thousands happy
New Year count


The kennings are:

Tólgs tré - tallow trees - CANDLES
Þundregns - Þunds rain - Oðin's rain - POETRY

Thank you to ALL who have viewed this blog!