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~ Poetry by me ~

 

Dedicated to Jack Hart, for his invaluable support with my poetry.

 

Hakon´s Passage

„Göndul and Skögul,“ Gautatyr spoke,
„Bring me the best from the Battle of Stord:
Hakon the King to Valhalla must come,
a seat is empty for the son of the Ynglings.“

Swiftly they sped and soon they returned,
along with the chosen one: Pale were his cheeks
and bloody his byrnie, battered his shield;
breath he lacked, who bravely had died.

The High One sent Bragi and Hermod to hail him
and bid the hero enter the hall.
But Hakon stopped and stood on the threshold,
the wary king, refusing to come:

„Why did you wrench my victory from me,
wasn´t I worthy to win the day ?
Hár had me fall; why now talk friendly ?
I do not trust him; he tries to deceive me.“

„Your friends kept the field, your foes have fled;
victory is yours, though you yielded your life.
It is here that we need you; few people know
that the Grey Wolf gapes ever at the Gods´ dwellings.“

Hakon still stood on the threshold,
the cautious king, reluctant to come:
„More woe than weal brings Odin´s will:
worse would follow, were I to enter.“

„Great is your glory, still greater your gain:
You´ll always be first at the Einherjar´s feast.
Jarls will wait on you, Wishmaidens serve you;
Eight brothers hail you here on the bright benches.“

Yet Hakon still stood on the threshold
and hesitated to enter Valhall:
„In my youth only I honored the Aesir;
no blots I brought later, no blessings I sought.“

„You did not worship, but warded our vés,
as ruler respected the rites of the Regin.
On feats, not faith your fame is founded,
by deeds of valor deserve you to enter.“

The clever king said, „I shall keep my sword,
my shield and byrnie, though they be battered;
it´s good to hold fast to proven friends.“—
Then Hakon entered the High One´s hall.

All Odin´s chosen gave him great cheer,
the shining Gods greeted him gladly.
Sooner would Fenris feed and be sated,
than a ruler so noble want rightful renown.

© 2005 Michaela Macha

License: This poem may be freely distributed, provided it remains
unchanged, including the copyright notice and this License:

This work by Michaela Macha (www.odins-gift.com) is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.


Notes:
This version approaches Old Meter (Fornyrdhislag).

It´s a free retelling of the Hakonarmal, 
which in turn was modelled after the Eiriksmal. The skald Eyvind who wrote the Hakonarmal back then 
was promptly nicked „the Plagiarist“ resp. „Skald-Spoiler“ (Skaldaspillir) by his kind colleagues. 
In the light of these charming customs, I´d rather not know what our forebears would´ve called me ;) .