4 DrottkvŠtt stanzas
for ┌llr, My thoughts about it & Skaldic 201: Drottkvaet
(....) I am shocked (though pleased) by the end results of this
poem. Many have heard this rant before but it warrants another
speach. My thoughts about this center on the "word leading to word"
passage in the Havamal. When writing in DrottkvŠtt, the skald is in
constant struggle to make things fit. I feel like a fox chasing my
own tail. For example, you may correct one word to make it
'half-rhyme' only to discover you are now in violation of an
alliteration rule. Several hours later, one might find a stanza of
conforming lines. The meaning however has completely changed from
the skald's original intent or idea. This is especially true for
this one to Ullr. Looking at the poem in front of me...I can
honestly say it doesn't feel like I wrote it. (This is very
emboldening and humbling at the same time.) A layer of words isn't
just followed by more words, they shape the words to be. I am
struck by how 'language' has carved its pathways in our inner most
psyche. It is formed within us as babes in such a way that adults
cannot fathom what it is like without it. It is conjured up from
the spirit, from the depths of the Well inside us. We cannot
escape our language, no more than I can escape my own hide. By
attempting to convey truths about our Eldest Ancestors in skaldic
meter, we can catch a glimpse of these inner pathways revealed in
the story. The poem maps them out for us - the contours of our
souls. This is perhaps the great origin of our holy myths. Maybe
this is how a folk share feelings, fetch, luck and dreams together.
To find the spiritual level of these connections, we must look no
farther than our own words.
Now for Skaldic 201: DrˇttkvŠtt ľ ôNoble-speech.ö
Formed of symmetrical stanzas of 8
Each line contains three stressed
staves, (I will bold stressed syllables).
Main stave is the first stave in
the even lines, (main stave is italic).
At least two staves in the odd
line must alliterate with the main stave, (I will underline
The last stave in the odd line
must precede an unstressed syllable, (I usually didn't keep this
rule - it isn't kind to English and is much easier to stick to
when writing in ON)).
Fixed number of syllables in each
line, (I stray only when I fear the meaning will be confused).
Usually six syllables in each
line, (# of syllables is put in parenthesis after each line).
Odd lines must contain two
skothending syllables (half-rhymes), one of which must come at
the end of the line. Skothendingar contain a
different vowel sound but same ending consonant sounds.
(I colored skothendingar in red).
Even lines must contain two
aalhending syllables (full-rhymes), one of which must come at
the end of the line. Aalhendingar contain
the same vowel sound and the same ending consonant sound.
(Aalhendingar are in blue).
through and read just the colored portions below - out loud! It
will form a kind of sing-song affect. ( ┴s
- ice, orth
- orth, ad
- id, ind
- ind, etc.) I find this exercise greatly increases
the beauty of the final reading. Then, read the whole poem again -
out load. As you read, make sure you vocally stress the bolded
syllables and match the tones of the rhymed portions (red and blue)
to accentuate their connectedness to each other.
The ┴s is
from the North comes
On blades of
bone he slides,
firth he rises,
greets their meeting.
the wild caught furs,
hold back the
(don't be tempted to stress 'back' it ruins
the hold - cold rhyme)
from stand of firs,
in blowing snow.
shine tawny from
light on his
frames hunter braces
yew wood bound.
The bow kept
taught held low.
the bone of his cheek. (7)
eye scopes the point.
to horse tail hair
from grasp released,
of fletch bound tip,
it splits the wind,
in lake air crisp.
tail of felling,
sets biting wřrm.
by painful arrow,
from hiding rises.
full he soon finds,
hoof steps halt.
┌llr the Hunter then
from forest shore.
Raven Kindred North
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