A Skaldic Eagle Takes Flight

Hatched from the Egg, he was hungry always;
that cosmic hailstone crafted such wyrd.
In size he surged, consuming carrion:
strong and stately, he stood at last.
He was sleek and fierce, but unsatisfied.
That fleshy fodder had fulfilled its end,
but such food no longer could feed his soul.
His keen cold eyes, they craved new vistas,
and his heart sought out the holy mysteries.
To the Cave he went, that court of darkness
and Lunar land of limitless night,
seeking its treasures for his soul’s triumph.
He came at last to cauldrons three
filled with the ferment of fathomless Spirit.
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A Vision of the Skald

I’m thrilled to announce that my MPhil thesis, “A Vision of the Skald: Seeking the Ideal in the Probable Works of Snorri Sturluson,” is now available on the University of Oslo’s public research archive. You can download and read it at: <https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/52012>. It is the capstone of my recently-completed joint MA/MPhil degree in Viking & Medieval Norse Studies from the Universities of Iceland and Oslo.

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Háskólavísur 15: Saga’s End

With the work of his MA/MPhil finished, it was left to the Skald to relax and enjoy early summer and the outdoor life in Oslo with his lady. Many hills, forests, lakes, sea shores, and islands were explored. But his time to leave Europe finally arrived, and after another tearful goodbye, the Skald finally departed Oslo to visit Iceland once more on his way home to Vinland. There, the Skald rejoiced in seeing many happy and familiar sights once more, such as Háskóli Íslands, Gullfoss, Geysir, Þingvellir (including the Ásatruarfélagið’s midsummer Þingblót), and Bláa Lónið. Finally, the Skald attended his graduation on June 25. After nearly eleven months abroad, the Skald returned to Vinland on June 30. Though his future directions were as yet uncertain, it was a time to celebrate further and enjoy the company of family and friends. With his time in the Viking and Medieval Norse Studies program finally finished, the Skald composed this verse:

Sweet celebrations sealed my triumph,
a victory won in Viking Studies.
Then Norway’s nature was a needed break:
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Háskólavísur 14: The End of the Degree

The cold Oslo winter persisted, and the Skald fortified himself for the long siege, working diligently on his master’s thesis. But after 15 weeks, as winter’s assault finally relented, the Skald finished his glorious text of 36,000 words about his ancient counterpart, the figure of the skald as found in the probable works of Snorri Sturluson: Edda, Heimskringla, and Egils saga. After a brief celebration and much relaxing that included plenty of sight-seeing, the Skald prepared to face the final contest in his master’s degree. With his lady from his time in Iceland by his side once more, he undertook the ordeal of a trial-by-lecture in a runology course and emerged victorious. It is said he celebrated the day with fine rum and a cigar in the afternoon, and by a sushi dinner and a bottle of mead with his lady in the evening. He rested the next day, composing this verse:

My wode had waxed through the winter’s dark
and opened my flow of artful words.
O’er pages of ink, I poured the Mead,
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Háskólavísur 13: The Turning Wheel

Autumn rolled on as the months passed. The Skald finished his first semester courses in time to celebrate his birthday in a state of total rest. December was not so cold in Oslo as one might have expected. January made up for it, however, when winter arrived in earnest. After that birthday rest, however, a protracted fight with doctoral program applications commenced. It dragged on longer than expected, running into mid January, but at last it was finished. The new year brought a new semester, the last of the Skald’s MA in Viking & Medieval Norse Studes, which held some long-awaited treats: his master’s thesis and an advanced runology course, the latter to be examined by trial lecture. Once in the thick of things, the Skald considered his situation, and composed this verse:

The turning wheel brought time for rest,
as I completed courses and passed the solstice.
The future is foggy for my further studies,
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