Háskólavísur 01: Infamous Foodstuffs

Today starts a new experiment on this blog that will hopefully involve more frequent updates, though they will generally be shorter and still somewhat random. For now, I’m calling it Háskólavísur, which translates to “university verses.” These will be short verses on various aspects of my life here in Iceland as an M.A. student. The name is inspired by the term “lausavísur” (loose verses) used to describe the short bits of poetry that occur in Icelandic sagas, often as a poet’s response to some situation or other as part of the narrative. The meters I use for these verses may vary, with fornyrðislag, ljóðaháttr, and anglo-saxon being most likely. Later such posts probably won’t include much, if any, in the way of introduction, though the title will always include “Háskólavísur” with a steadily-increasing index number. Today’s verse is about some of the infamous Icelandic specialty foods.

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Staves for Daily Use, Part 2

Continuing from last week, here are four more staves. Each is one stanza of ljóðaháttr as before. The Moon Stave deserves a few remarks, however. The beginning of it, like last week’s Sun Stave, is actually based on lines from the Eddic poem Alvíssmál. There, in stanza 16, Alvíss says that the sun is called Sól among men and Sunna among the gods. Those two names are well-known among Asatruar. However, in the parallel line from stanza 14, Alvíss says that the moon is called Máni among men and Mylinn among the gods. The name Máni is well-known among Asatruar, but Mylinn does not have much currency, and will probably strike many as odd, at least at first. The pattern in both staves, of course, is that of honoring the divine being named in the first line through the physical manifestation named in the second line.

Food Stave

For the might and main
through this meal I gain,
my thanks I give to the gods.
Let their blessings bring
to my being the strength
that enables worthy works.

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