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~ By Courtesy of Others ~



In Hordaland, the harvest long as hay was gathered in the wain,
ThiodolfR honed his thanks to ThorleifR; he raised that lord,
a bridge of words. Bragi! bright Valhalla's skald,
bestow your mead on Math to make his verse no worse.

For has Thorskegga Thorn, like Thorleif, a battle-board
given as gift: a shield with gold and stories told
of deed-famous disir and daring way-farers.
Striven have I for staves to stand as worthy thanks.

Early comes the harvest home to the hall of Thor, falling
sheafs of shim'ring strands (Shears in the hands of Fenrir's
father snik and snak!) as the snotra of Bilskirnir gloats -
troubles need bring treasures: trade for a crop of braids.

Lofty reaper's lacking the lady's store of foresight:
thinks he to thoroughly vex the Thunderer's sense of fun!
But his health shall stand as hostage for hair, with gold repaired,
and boons for the Gods and bounty, else bones unknit, and groans.

Down among the Dark-alfs, Donar to flee, has gone
the loose-tongued long-one; laughing at dwarven craft,
a gadfly galling their pride, (Gild may yet a shield
provide!) till forge and fire flare for hammer and hair.

The Saga of Thrudheim speaks summons the Gods to come
and weigh the worth of treasures won by Farbauti's son.
Loki's wagered head is lost, his lips are tightly stitched,
for the mighty hammer, Mjolnir and a mane of golden grain.

See I too a goddess gain, glad in necklace (reckless ploy,
to pledge her troth), plights her body one night
to each of four earthworms. Arms agleaming, her charms
shall buy Brisingamen in beds of stunted runts!

Broad in their needs and bruising, unbridled in a rutting wild,
Dark alfs delve the Vanadis. She draws from each a glory
never known in Dwarfhome, till Nordri's kin begin
a long and loving galdor to lay on tears of Freyja.

"This dis shall dazzle the eye, desire in all arising;
her heart shall harden armies, her hall shall guest the fallen;
her hands shall proffer healing, hale from battle and bale;
her steps shall foster flowers, fields rich harvest yield."

Out upon the ocean's rim, Earth's son is also one
to walk this wheel of Hild: in western seas he tests
his fishing line: his feet firm braced against the wyrm,
his hook baited with bull, the boast given his host,

Hymir, hard-rock dweller, to hurt the World-girdler!
Churns the bloody channel the child of Loki, wildly
seeking the sea-way's depths, sore in tooth and maw.
The hard-biting hook and line is hauled by swan-road's trawler!

Timbers of the boat are burst, breached by Thunder's feet!
Hymir's heart is in his pants, hues the rope in two!
World-wyrm flounders in the flood, flies Mjolnir 'tween the eyes
of sore-headed serpent splits that thought-house to bits!

Hymir is food for fishes, falling to Aegir's hall
at Atli's urging. Now, the heirs of Heimdal fare
o'er leagues with lifting steeds to lands beyond Jormungandr,
have e'en moored in the meres of Mundilfari's son.

Last on this lid to tell: a lord, the boast of Njord,
brought by Golden-bristles. (Brokk and Eitri put flight
into jogging hog's hooves!) Heartsore Ingi-FreyR sings
a mournful galder, to guide the ghosts of a giant's spite.

With Dain's wand as weapon, Wain-god has the joten slain.
His flesh now feeds the earth of farmers he worked to harm;
cattle and grain are given, gear to keep them the year,
but none may numb the grieving, naught can mend the slaughter.

Such scenes have been painted on circle finely worked.
Thorskegga Thorn has made it, Thunder's dis a wonder!
These staves must stand as thanks, strophes of worthship and troth
praising the girl and her gods, for goodly leather and wood.

© Math Jones

Hear the poem performed by Math Jones on his Digital Album, Eaglespit

Poetic form: Drottkvaett (Court Meter)

Author´s notes (abridged):

Thiodolf's poem was named "Harvest-Long", for the length of time taken to compose it.
Mine was shaped through the months of the lengthening days and so has been named "Lenctenlong".

(I have since learned that the verse form is named "drottkvaett' and is a common skaldic metre.
It has in fact two internal rhymes. The one I had spotted, in the second half-line, is termed 'athalhending'
and is a 'perfect' rhyme of vowel sound and following consonants (e.g. 'wain' and 'slain', 'hall' and 'falling');
the other (which I'd missed) is in the first half-line, termed 'skothending', an 'imperfect' rhyme of consonants only
(e.g. 'skald' and 'bold'). I have no skothendings in the first half-lines and my athalhendings are sometimes less than perfect.
My defence is that I was guessing somewhat at the sounds of a language I am no scholar in.
Also, Thiodolf himself seems not to have used skothending in all of his lines. Besides, I didn't want a poem called "Yearlong".)

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