Here I present a poem on subject much enjoyed by heathens and others: beer. Its style is a bit different from previous poems. Rather than have stanza breaks as is usual for Norse styles, it runs continuously without them, which was the typical Anglo-Saxon style. Otherwise, the meter the same as my usual fornyrðislag. Also, rather than splitting the long lines into visible half lines (as one will see in Tolkien’s Fall of Arthur, for instance) and/or putting those half lines on separate physical lines (which is typical of my usual fornyrðislag practice and as one will see in Tolkien’s Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun), I simply give the long lines with no internal breaks, though the astute follower of this sort of poetry would probably have no trouble figuring out where the breaks would go.
As there are no stanzas to count, the length is reckoned by counting the number of long lines. Thus, this is a 25-line poem, making it the equivalent of a little over six stanzas of ordinary fornyrðislag. The title of this poem is “Beer in Midgard.”
Beer, the bright drink, beautifully colored,
of malted barley and bitter hops,
is the brewer’s bounty and a boon to Man.
This yeasty ferment of Yule-tide cheer,
heathen feasting, and happy hours,
is a much recommended and mellow drink.
Aegir has brewed his ale for the gods:
luscious lagers delightful and rich.
The best of Man barely compares,
or so we suppose. Do secretly gods
sample the draughts of simple Midgard?
In blessing bowls our beers they taste,
but know we not what name they best.
What more say I of mighty beer?
Aegir’s offspring in ocean waters
are his nine daughters of the noisy sea,
the foaming waves — or frothy malt-surf
perhaps they are, the head of bubbles
in a frosty, full, and fortunate glass.
Ancient ale-runes, old poets knew;
where might we find those magic forms?
So beer has both: a blatant side
of physical form, and further beyond
an occulted side of curious lore
to seek and mix with malt’s enjoyment.
Copyright © 2014 Eirik Westcoat.
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