Monday, August 3, 2015

Viking-style Poem

I wrote the following as part of a job application:

Extract from Ulf-Krakasaga

Seven went to swan-road                     seeking spear-din glory
Stalwart eagle-feeders all                     eager to win renown
Songs they sung loudly                        so All-Father could listen
When wave-cart stilled                        and voices waivered
Thor’s light thundered                         valkyries cried loudly
Sky-man came slowly                         Standing on shield-disc
The seven, brave, but silent                 held by mind-bonds
Sky-man beckoned quiet                     Ulf-kraka broke his bonds
Brave skald went before them             holding blood-worm ready
But Sky-man chose another                Grim magic bound skald
Poor Gnupa was chosen                      Taken on shield-disc
Taken then to heavens                         while Ulf-Kraka raged

Ulf-Krakasaga was written by Ulf-Kraka Dagson, an Icelandic skald who lived in the 9th century. This passage has been a topic of debate since the saga’s discovery in 1912 by Dr. Frederick Loeb of the University of Cairo. Recently, certain theorists began insisting it is an account of the poet’s interaction with an extra-terrestrial being. This translation is by Todd H. C. Fischer, a Canadian folklorist and historian.

As is usual with skaldic poetry, the poet made frequent use of kennings which were a poetic device used to describe simple word as a figurative phrase. The kennings employed by Ulf-Kraka were:

Swan-road: the sea
Spear-din: battle
Eagle-feeders: warriors
All-Father: Odin, the chief god
Wave-cart: ship
Thor’s light: lightening
Sky-man: the contentious kenning that some insist is referring to an alien visitor
Shield-disc: unknown kenning, though some believe it to be an alien venhicle
Mind-bonds: unknown, though likely referring to magic (which is mentioned later)

Blood-worm: sword 

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