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 (

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