~ Poetry by me ~
"Sing us a song !"
shouted the men
on the night before battle began.
The Skald stirred the strings, and once again
of their heroes he sang to the clan.
And sparks from the fire danced on his lyre,
his words kindled courage to flame;
both voice and harp rang clear and sharp
as their blades when the morning came;
And singing they went their foes to meet,
to the rhythm of sword upon shield,
to the rhythm of blows and thundering feet,
till the enemy had to yield -
And round the Skald cried a joyous throng:
"A song now, a song !"
In the hall they built on the land they´d won
his lays were of love and of lore;
with wisdom and wit he wielded the words
as well as his weapon before.
Their bounty now came from their fields of corn
not from battlefields any more;
for feasting and drinking they raised the horn,
not for the signals of war.
The voice of the Skald rose mellow as mead;
the maidens were smiling warm
when he praised their tresses, golden as wheat
or the wealth on a ring-giver´s arm.
And through the glad night they cheered all along:
"A song now, a song !"
The youths for fortune the seas would roam,
their sails being scattered like leaves
by the autumn wind, which those at home
heard whistling around the eaves.
A tapestry woven of memory´s twine
at times the Skald would unfold,
collecting old glory like grapes from the vine
when valorous deeds were retold.
The old fighters felt suddenly unrest
and glanced at their swords on the wall;
but the women, sighing, gazed into the west
whence their sons should have come with the fall.
But still they bid, when the hours grew long:
"A song, one more song."
Like tides of sea passed the seasons; a day
of winter shone cold on the coast.
The hair of the hall folk was grizzled and gray,
and the Skald´s was as white as frost.
He sang of their kinsmen who´d come no more,
long lost to the ocean or mound,
whose ships now sailed to a stranger shore
by unknown waters bound.
That his voice had a catch, and a shimmer his eye
was maybe from the smoke or the fire;
but when his wizened hands stopped play,
a string did snap on his lyre -
And he said in a silence that lasted too long:
"No song, no more song."
2004 Michaela Macha
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