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  • edited June 2011
    More Viking poetry!

    So the original metrical form I used for those poems wasn't technically wrong, but most of the records we have show a different metrical form being the dominant one. This form is called dróttkvætt, which means "courtly meter" or "noble warrior meter" or "lord's meter." It's a very ornate and complex verse form. My initial research had led me to believe that it was reserved for special occasions, and while this may be true, it is also the most-represented form of Viking poetry that survives - probably because if you were rich enough to be able to preserve poetry, people were also writing the most complex poetry about you.

    Anyhow, I've set out to re-re-re-poeticize the verses of this chunk of the sagas in perfect dróttkvætt, which is a daunting task.

    Here are the rules of the verse form:

    1) A stanza is eight lines long.
    2) Each line contains six syllables (later forms contained 8): 3 stressed and 3 unstressed (or 4 and 4 in later forms).
    3) All lines must end in a trochee (stress-unstress, the inverse of an iamb).
    4) Odd-numbered lines must alliterate on at least 2 of the 3 stressed beats (all 3 may alliterate, but this was not done often); these are called the "props."
    5) The first stressed syllable of even-numbered lines must alliterate with the props of the preceding odd-numbered line; this is called the "staff."
    5a) The even-numbered lines must alliterate only once with the preceding odd-numbered line; the other two stresses may alliterate with each other, but not the previous line.

    6) Odd-numbered lines must contain a skothending, or "near-hit" rhyme, in two of the stressed syllables. A "near-hit" consists of two stresses that end in the same consonant sound or consonant cluster. For example, "tick" and "tock" are near-hits, as are "drink/bonk" and "hen/pin."

    7) Even-numbered lines must contain an adalhendingar, or "full-hit" rhyme, again in two of the stresses. A "full-hit" is what we think of as a standard rhyme: "brink/drink," "fear/beer," and so forth.

    8) For both sorts of rhymes, one of the rhyming stresses must be the final stress of that line.

    Note that everything revolves around stressed syllables, not just words.

    So here's an example of that meter, again from this bit of Egil's saga:
    Spoke you lie-words - "Lack I
    liquor for guests resting."
    Kindness coated spite-thoughts,
    Keeping land-men sleeping.
    Drank we teat-wine; drink of
    disir is now soured.
    Boding ill, Bard's dried heart
    brewed for sailors ale-lies.
    That is metrically perfect.

    I also re-wrote the other two poems to be in imperfect dróttkvætt. The hardest thing is managing the two rhyme schemes in conjunction with the alliteration; English simply doesn't want to do this like Old Norse does. Usually, you can drop the rhymes and nobody cares. My plan is to work on these two and "fix" them to be perfect.

    Here's the divination:
    Father of Thor, Foe of
    Fenrir, grant me wisdom.
    Speak to me lore long dead -
    language of gods, wise words.
    Ale of ravens, redden
    rune-marks - drink of foam-gift.
    Tell us how from hand-blessed
    horn-drink Egil fares here.
    And the prelude to stabbing:
    Much have I drunk - drafts of
    dead one's honor-drink guzzled.
    Olvir also drank much -
    Emptied horns and guts both.
    Your wit-seeds wish rich ground
    and want of rain - here now
    starts the storm of Odin,
    to stop thirst, and drought end.
    Post edited by TheWhaleShark on
  • edited December 2011
    Here's a happy poem I wrote for the holiday season. Share it with your families!

    I'll hover in the doorway when your broken form
    and all of its fragile, barely-concealed curves
    materialize in the kitchen
    draped still in last night's black dress
    and the sheer gossamer web of loneliness and shame.
    the air will be sticky with the smell of browning butter on the stove, an omelet,
    and the staled odor of last night's perfume and last night's man.
    D&G light blue
    denatured alcohol, sd alcohol 39-c, parfum, water, limonene, benzophone-2,
    cinnemal, citral.
    it could have been one of the last six, or the seventh
    androstadienone, apocrine sweat, dried salts
    that infinitely subtle bacterial reek.
    tesco english butter, eggs, cheese, spinach
    butyric acid, saturates rapidly breaking down, milkfats, albumins, cholesterols
    Burning slightly, crackling, charring
    You've forgotten them.
    I'll fill my glass with cold water as you wash a fork with hot,
    I'll say, “fun night last night?”
    your words will be a lodestone roped round my heart and cast into
    an ocean trench.
    water, salts, trace organic and inorganic pollutants, marine animal waste.
    Five thousand nine hundred ninety nine fathoms deep.
    Fifteen thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds per square inch
    One hundred and eight point six megapascals
    One thousand and seventy two Earth atmospheres.
    you'll say, in a distant, emotionless voice, “yeah, decent night.”
    and I'll sink with that stone
    the pressure and darkness closing in everywhere
    and I'll wonder to myself long after that last fish disappears
    if I'll drown first
    or live long enough to feel myself collapse.

    I hope I feel myself collapse.

    In all seriousness, though, that's the first poem I've written in over three months. I'm rather proud of how it turned out.
    Post edited by WindUpBird on
  • Here's one I wrote recently. WuB seemed to like it, maybe you guys will too.

    Her sub-surface simmerings send unending smoke signals
    Undefined until another heartwrencher cuts her clouds to ugly fractal
    Particulate diagrams of misused passion

    Misused illusions of permanence
    Every other day is a hammer-struck firmament
    Her bones resonate and break with the shaking stratosphere
    The stars blur to nothing and the horizon smiles

    My fingers lack the length
    My legs were made to break
    I can't steady the sky

    But I can try

  • edited January 2012
    I recorded a poem today. It's called Dildo. I'm not really happy with this recording, but it was the fifth take and I decided that it would probably take more than twice the effort I'm willing to put in to make it perfect. Have a listen:

    Dildo by The Walker
    Post edited by Walker on
  • Last year I gave a dramatic recital of The Raven at a seasonal gathering by firelight in the darkest woods. This year I thought I'd try writing my own spooky poem!

    The Spider
    By Guy

    Weary from work I entered my room
    Trying to remember my fiancé’s perfume
    As hard as it is working all hours away
    My creaky, lumpy bed inclined me to lay

    When upon the ceiling I saw a spider crawling
    It’s movements, unnatural and as such enthralling
    It wasn’t right how it’s legs stretched and bent
    Blinking and bleary I watched where it went

    Although plenty of movement, it wasn’t really "going"
    It seemed static but somehow shrinking and growing
    My mind couldn’t tell me of what it observed
    I made no sense how it wriggled and curved

    I asked the strange spider, “what are you really?”
    “It makes no sense moving your movements so freely”
    The spider it crawled and I safely concluded
    A shadow it was, it’s true form denuded

    With relief I sighed, no nature amiss
    Safe in reality feeling contentment and bliss
    But in my understanding I had to dig deeper
    I couldn’t resist meeting and addressing this creeper

    I looked to the light from which the shadow must come
    And I looked to the shadow unfeeling and numb
    The spider must be there between the two points
    But nothing was present, just shadows of joints

    I blinked again further, I must be mistaken
    It’s not anything like that terrible Raven!
    The deeper I looked I couldn’t see my tormentor
    Shadowy limbs through eyes through lamenter

    I leapt to my feet to combat my fright
    And flicked off the switch to extinguish the light
    Now darkness is a place, comfortable and small
    But the spider’s shadow expanded and enveloped it all
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