Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pocket Knife

This is my latest work, a small, simple pocket knife. I figured every bladesmith needs an everyday knife of their own making to carry with them. It is a folding knife with no locks or springs, just held closed by the friction from the tightly riveted pins. It is the product of my first experiments with differential hardening, the result of which can be seen as an etched line on the surface of the blade. The handle is decorated with a late Viking Age, Urnes style motif.


- File steel blade
- Maple handle, treated with pine tar
- measurements to follow

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Skaldic Smithery

As part of the collaboration between myself and the amazing Czech bladesmith Petr Florianek, Petr requested that I write some more poems for some Vendel Period pieces he was working on. He requested that the poetry be in an older style than the fornyrðislag poetry I had been writing, which would be more fitting for these Beowulf-era blades.

Learning this older poetic form was a very enjoyable experience for me, and I learned a great deal more about the Germanic verse form than I knew before. I think that my future poetry, fornyrðislag or otherwise, will be stronger and truer to historical examples because of this.

Here are some photos of Petr's outstanding work, with my poems below.

In a high hall     there was happy feasting.
Waiting outside,     a watchman stood guard.
He knew not     what night-lurkers stalked him,
wretched raiders     borne on roaring seas,
or greedy beasts     with gaping maws,
but he felt no fear,     fiery of heart,
for in his hand     he held Abrecan.
That doom of men     was decked with a ring,
the price of his promise,     pledged to his lord.
He regarded that gift     greater than silver,
and burned or buried,     he would bear it with him.

Shivering birches     shook in the wind
while raiders ran     to wreck their target.
They burned the gate     and gained their entry,
but waiting for them     was a wall of shields,
and in the middle     stood a mighty hersi.
He held his war-knife     high and aloft,
its grip alive     with livid monsters,
its eager edge     aiming forwards.
"I am an eagle     with this icy feather.
Through this battle     it will bear me swiftly
to catch you fish     and carry you off.
In coming here,     you have caused your doom."
The fighting was fierce     but the foes were beaten,
and songs were sung     in celebration
under graven gables,     glad to be whole.

Copyright © 2012 Myles Mulkey
Images courtesy of Petr Florianek (

Monday, October 1, 2012

Swordsmith and Wordsmith

Here's what Petr's been up to with my poetry. Writing them beautifully on handmade paper. I think you'll agree that the items themselves are far more beautiful than the words that describe them.

The smith stared at
steel glowing red,
laboring long
he'd layered its form,
secret spruce-grain
singing grimly,
eager to eat
both elk and deer.

Remember well
our race's making,
born of driftwood
Bor's sons hallowed.
We learned ere long
to labor, crafting,
sweet things we made
splendid and fine.

One was carried
by warrior's belt,
its steel streamed forth,
steady, flowing,
from burnished collar,
bright, engraven,
Emblar bróðir,

In days long done
dwarves stoked their forge,
smelling of smoke,
soot-covered, black.
By Brokkr's bet
a boar was forged,
golden, gleaming,
a gift for Frey.

His sister also
sits atop one,
fierce in fighting,
Freyja's war-pig.
Their ward is given
when worn outright
high on a helm
or held in the palm.

A craftsman I know
will carve their shapes,
bristle-backed boars,
bold, protective.
Many, menaced,
commended him
when they wandered
weapon in hand.

Copyright © 2012 Myles Mulkey
Images courtesy of Petr Florianek (

Eddaic Epicness

Recently, Petr Florianek and I struck a bargain. He'll give me a knife, and I'll write him fornyrðislag poetry. When he makes a piece that he thinks deserves a poem, he'll let me know, and I'll do my best to represent the piece in words. I immediately agreed to this, and when you see the knife he sent me, I think you'll agree that I got the better end of the deal.

This is such an exciting venture for me, and I'm honored to have been given the opportunity. Fornyrðislag poetry is a recent interest of mine. It's a way for me to be creative even when I only have a moment or two to spare. It's also a way for me to breathe new life into one facet of the West's heritage that few people remember today. And though I'm far from being an expert, I try to improve with each verse. I hope my words can live up to the objects they describe.

Petr's work is obviously art - functional, beautiful art at that. I like to think that my poetry will help give his art context and help immerse the viewers of his art deeper and deeper in the world each piece creates and represents. And I will have to work hard to fulfill my end of the deal.

And if you don't know who Petr Florianek is, you need to find out. In my mind, he is one of the preeminent craftsmen of our time. Check out his website, and like him on Facebook. He even takes commissions.

I am honored to help him tell stories through his pieces, and to help keep the flame of Germanic art and culture alive and well.

This was his end of the bargain. Now I have to fulfill mine...