In Praise of Wintertime

Here is a poem in honor of Wintertime. Its meter is fornyrðislag, but the type of poem is known as a drápa, which is a praise poem with one or more refrains. (In a future post, I will say more about drápur and the different types of poems that I’ve been writing.)

The poem is called “Vetrartímadrápa.” (The name is in Old Norse and simply means “Wintertime drápa.”)

I stirred these staves
with strongest honey,
to welcome winter
with a wassail now.
I made this mead
with mirth today,
to fill the folk
with frolic and joy.

Ullr and Skaði
and Óðinn we hail
for wild winter’s
wondrous delights.
The winds of winter,
whipping about,
will drive the snows
in this darker time.

The life of the world
now lies in wait,
sleeping soundly
in silent rest.
For the passing away
of the prior year,
winter is greeted
by gods and men.

For the spirit of renewal
in this special time,
Winter and wassails
we welcome now.

The Wild-Hunt rides,
wending furiously,
with awesome Óðinn
always leading.
In the whistling wind
the unwary are caught;
in rage and wrath
that ride they join.

Inside and safe
we celebrate life,
while the restless dead
are roaming the night;
the Hunt is a harvest
that harrows the land,
preparing it well
for the planting to come.

For frights outdoors
and feasts indoors,
Winter and wassails
we welcome now.

The Yuletide days
we yearn for most —
those twelve long nights
in our troth are best.
With friends and family
we feast and celebrate,
with flowing mead
and finest meat.

The darkest of days
— when done and past —
brings us the light
we laud and praise.
We gather to gift
our gods by the fire,
warm and happy
with wassail in hand.

Hail to winter,
that hallowed season!
Enjoy the feasting
of these joyful days
and savor well
the sounds I poured
in the skáldic mead
I skillfully made.

Copyright © 2012 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

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2 thoughts on “In Praise of Wintertime

  1. Pingback: Audio for Vetrartímadrápa | Eirik Westcoat

  2. Pingback: In Praise of Summertime | Eirik Westcoat, Skald

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