Freyr and Gerd

As may or may not be thought appropriate for a certain secular holiday, I present a short poem about the betrothal of Freyr and Gerd. It would not be wrong to think of it as a very short poetic summary of the Skírnismál from the Poetic Edda. Numerous interpretations of the Skírnismál are possible, and I won’t try to summarize any of them here. Suffice it to say that there is much going on in that poem.

My poem here is in ljóðaháttr. The spelling has been mostly anglicized here. Note that the Old Norse name “Freyr” is not so much a name as it is a title. It actually means “Lord.” Thus I can assure you that the last half stanza is still a reference to Freyr and not to a certain monotheism.

Freyr from Hlidskjalf,
— the fairest of maidens,
Gerd in her garth — he saw.
He sank into sorrow,
sore with longing,
heavy with heartache for the maid.

Skirnir he sent
to score her love,
yearning for the Jötun maid.
Enticing with Draupnir,
then tempting with Apples,
the messenger sought that match.

The gifts she refused,
then great was his wrath
with self-swinging sword he menaced.
But finally with threats
of thurs-runes carved,
the maiden agreed to marriage.

Both then in tryst
at Barri were wedded;
Freyr and Gerd are together.
Let us rejoice
in the joy of our Lord,
whose heart is whole again.

Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.


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