Eirik’s Hymn and Some Updates

Cædmon’s Hymn is a nine-line piece of Old English Christian poetry that uses kenning-like phrases for its deity, such as heavenly kingdom’s warder, glory father, eternal drighten, and mankind’s warder. My thanks go to Mary Ellen Rowe, who pointed out that if you transpose these Old English kenning-like phrases into Old Norse, they sound a lot like kennings for certain Old Norse gods. Upon hearing that, I realized I could make an extremely loose “translation” of Cædmon’s Hymn that heathenized it completely. However, it has ended up as piece that should be considered “inspired by” Cædmon’s Hymn rather than as a translation of it. Also, I’ve named the gods directly in most cases. Like the original, it is in nine lines of continuous verse — which is also just like the sequence of prayers from my last two posts. Here is the result of that experiment, which I suppose could be called “Eirik’s Hymn.” 🙂

Heimdall we praise, Heaven’s Warder,
and measuring Týr’s might and wisdom
and Woden’s works of wondrous glory —
that Eternal Drighten from time’s beginning.
The worlds were shaped for shining offspring
with heaven as a roof by that Holy Ruler.
Midgard he made, Mankind’s Patron,
and that Eternal Drighten truly adorned
the earth with men for Ingvi’s blessings.

Last weekend, I attended the 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo Michigan, where I presented a short paper about Snorri’s Mead Myth and how it can be seen as a guide to the creative process for poets. It is likely to be a case of poetry inspiring scholarship inspiring poetry, in that at some point in the future, I will probably write some poetry inspired by that paper. I also got to present four of my poems in a special performance session.

As for future updates to the blog, I’m facing some increased time pressures as of late, so updates are likely to be a bit more irregular for the next couple of months. For now, I’m still aiming for roughly biweekly, but the day of the updates is likely to be more random instead of the usual Wednesday plus or minus that they have been. Finishing a full draft of “Poetry for Heathen Rites” remains a priority.

Copyright © 2014 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

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