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Bardic Arts

Torvald Torgarson
Beltane, 1998 (AS XXXIII)

Harken ye people and listen
Of Fabian the wolf-feeder
And Brynn Goddess-of-the-arm
Hear the glory of which I speak

Did I not see with mine own eyes
How he would dare the storm-of-metal
Did he not raise the auroch’s-spear
And with it hail her as his love

Eager he went slayer-of-trolls
War-flame in hand of iron will
Proudly he strode to the Allthing
Gather the Karls at Thingvellir

There stands Uther giver-of-rings
Proud Jarls Fabian and Hauoc
Witness them upon the Logberg
Watch the forest of Odin’s-oak

None there were who could choose between
Hostile to gold was Fabian
And Hauoc whose hand flowed with snow
Bold rouser-of-the-valkyrie

And so here at the death-of-snakes
To the Holmganga they were sent
To play the game-of-iron
While the battle-cranes soar above

Huscarl laid out the field of cloth
Five ells square and hazeled proper
Hersar and Jarl there were to judge
Skalds to chant the mead-of-Odin

Forth now Fabian spear-shaker
Gilded helm on head with strong guard
Frodi’s Flour on war-flame’s grip
Shirt of battle-skin strong and hard

Hauoc painter-of-the-wolf’s-teeth
Strong spear-cloud of Joten’s-skin
Gold-of-the-fire his helm was made
Thirsty was the wound-wolf he held

Now the clash-of-the-valkyrie
Wound-wolf striking the battle-skin
Hard it held against the strong teeth
And turned it away thirst unslacked

Bite now the war-flame bitter cold
Below Hauoc’s spear-cloud on guard
Deep it clove glory-of-battle
Battle-dew stained the hazeled cloth

Strong Hauoc still he would not yield
Wound-wolf singing in arc full wide
This time sharp teeth would not be stayed
And forth the river-of-swords flowed

Stalked slowly now each the other
Stooping as Vultures-of-battle
Lifted high the gleaming war-flame
Cloven cloud-spear on Hauoc’s arm

So fell the mighty tree-of-gold
Laying on the fjord-of-heather
Einherar to Valhalla goes
Valkyries now wait upon him

Praise now to Fabian and Brynn
For on this day the West renews
Let skalds share of the giant’s-drink
And all now raise the auroc’s-spear

This was the first drakkvaet skaldic verse I ever wrote. It uses the 8 syllable count used in the 12th century. There are many traditional kennings. There is no stef, which would make this poem a flokr. And I did not work in the alliterative riming. Over all I am very pleased with the effect and the imagery. -- Torvald

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