Nine Noble Virtues

It’s time for another poem.

In the Poetic Edda, there are some examples of numbered lists, where the speak counts out the items. In Hávamál, the speaker relates 18 magic spells he knows. In Sigrdrífumál, Sigrdrífa gives 11 pieces of advice to Sigurðr. In Grógaldr, the dead woman Gróa sings 9 magic spells to protect her son on a dangerous journey.

This poem was inspired by those counting list poems. It’s also in the fornyrðislag style, although in this one I use three syllable lines more often than usual. It is based on what is probably the most well-known list in modern American Asatru, with my own interpretations and descriptions for each of items, some of which make references to the mythology. There is a strange word in this poem that most will not be familiar with and for which a dictionary probably won’t help: ginn-holy. James Chisholm used this to represent the Old Norse ginnheilög (which means “most holy”) in his translation of the Poetic Edda (in Völuspá 6, for instance). That’s probably what inspired me to use it in a poem. (Actually, there’s probably a few more strange words in here… perhaps another time I’ll make a glossary post to this blog of such words and their meanings.)

The poem is called “Nine Noble Virtues”

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Wassail! Welcome to my blog. It’s now officially launched. I’m Eirik Westcoat, and I write poetry in alliterative styles based on traditional Old Norse and Old English poetic meters. I am also a follower of Asatru. Most of my poetry is about topics from Old Norse mythology and/or is usable in ritual contexts of the modern religion.

On this blog, I will be posting some of my poems, and writing about traditional alliterative poetry.

You can also follow me on Twitter, <@EirikWestcoat>, where I will tweet to announce updates to this blog. I may also tweet short poems there among other things.