Valhalla

It is time for another lore poem. This one is not a narrative like The Six Treasures or The Mead Quest. Instead, it is a synthesis of lore on Valhalla that appears in the Poetic Edda (mostly the Grímnismál) and Prose Edda (various places).

It is written as ten stanzas of fornyrðislag. (Only the first stanza is prior to the break.) It is not anglicized at all, except for the word Valhalla. (The proper Old Norse form would be Valhöll.) A short note on an aspect of composition: the semi-riddle nature of the poem is intentional. I use various bynames of Óðinn prior to the second-to-last line, and I avoid using the name Valhalla itself until the very last word of the poem.

A spell of the lore
I speak to you now
by pouring Hropt’s
powerful drink.
I sing of that hall
high on the Tree;
to warriors dead
‘tis a welcome sight.

‘Tis roofed with shields
and raftered with spears;
grand and glorious
in Glaðsheim stands
that greatest hall
of gods and heroes
where sturdy benches
are strewn with mail.

A wolf is lurking
at the western door,
and high above
hovers an eagle.
Fish are running
in the river nearby;
mistletoe’s in the west,
a mite of a tree.

The leaves are eaten
from Lærað by Heiðrún;
mead from her udders
is the Einherjar’s drink.
The limbs are eaten
from Lærað by Eikþyrnir;
dew from his horns
drops into Hvergelmir.

The gate Valgrind
is guarding the doors:
five of hundreds
and forty more.
The Einherjar go,
eight hundred per door,
on the day of doom
for deadly battle.

In the kettle Eldhrímnir,
the cook Andhrímnir
seethes Sæhrímnir,
that succulent pork.
The Einherjar eat
that excellent fare,
but the food of Vegtam
is fed to his wolves.

The wise-one lives
on wine alone;
his ravens fly,
roaming the world.
Valkyries serve
Victory-Father
and after the battles
the Einherjar’s feasting.

Bragi relates
lore to Ægir;
swords shimmering
are the source of light.
Sigmund and Sinfjötli
receive the guests;
from fields of battle
fresh they arrive.

Hrungnir challenged
Hlórriði to duel;
he dared to boast,
drunk in that hall.
Glasir gleaming
with golden leaf
is standing in front
of the famous stead.

That hall is sought
by heroes and skálds;
both far and wide
its fame has spread.
Standing strongest,
that stead is best:
it is Óðin’s own,
awesome Valhalla!

Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

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2 thoughts on “Valhalla

  1. Pingback: Audio for Valhalla | Eirik Westcoat, Skald

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