Thorson and Svava

Royal Odes

This poem was presented at the King and Queen's Bardic Competition in Bergental. Each of the eight verses is written in a different skaldic or eddic verse-form (in the fashion of Snorri Sturlason's 13th century praise poetry in Hattatal).

King Thorvald Sails South
Skaldic Praise poetry in 8 verse-forms

Full-armoured on fall day,
fair gold-harmer's army.
Soon called south to broil-field,
Sailed quickly his mailed ones.
Fast otters from east-way,
eager they for slaying.
Their grim ships-heads gaping,
hard gusts filling yardage.

Eagle-hearted oarsmen
rowed iron-studded dragons.
The warships were laden
of wild men from Freehold.
Killers sailed from Coldewoode,
cruel veterans of bear-pits.
Old baresarks and armed-ones
and Ouglies were gathered.

Our sea-king, was urging
effort from his Northmen
who swiftly rowed swan-road
south. Earth was born frosted.
By night ships were sheltered
at shoreline and skerries,
while bench-mates sought woodfire's
warmth. Earth was born flaming.

Ships filled coastal shallows.
Swords sharp each one hoarded.
Each crew commenced rowing.
King's fleet sailed to meeting.
The onslaught awaited.
Dread Irons were readied.
Starved for strife was Thorvald.
Stately Janos waited.

Iron earls of tumult
open-tilled lands brainy.
Fierce, their fighters cutting
furrows red and garish.
Seeds were sown for eagles;
swords filled wolf-kin's bellies.
The fields rich and fertile;
farmers wrath-like, deathly.

Stir heated. Strife worsened.
Strikers killed. Oaks toppled.
Piercers broke. Points reddened.
Pales were split. Helms sundered.
Wolves lurked. Flightswifts whistled.
Wounds opened. Earth painted.
Hewers fell. Hilts clattered.
Volsung howled. Wolves sated.

Draw wands were striking
the gore-stained tough ones;
on them dripped sunshine,
dripped over mountains.
Men fell with darkness,
at dusk, all tired;
horns called the Eastrealm
to ships and homeward.

Mighty the king.
Mighty the Northern son.
Mighty the friend of eagles.
When he led men through--
When he returned to--
cold wrath of armies--
cold Northern lands.


© 2004 - Lord Toki Redbeard


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