I’ve posted a call to Thor previously on this blog, but like all the other ritual calls, it was two stanzas of ljóðaháttr. (See the Minor Poems list for the rest of the calls I’ve posted so far.) Since there is a lot of surviving lore about Thor, a longer call is possible. So today I present a seven stanza ljóðaháttr call to Thor. Like much of my poetry on my blog, it will be included in my upcoming book. It is titled “Call to Thor.”
Asgard’s chosen champion,
we boast of your might
and bounty of main
in the call we declare today.
April is the time of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), an annual event for encouraging poets to write a poem a day for each of the 30 days of the month. It was modeled after the more famous National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). (See the site of NaPoWriMo’s creator or the Wikipedia page for more details.)
This year, I decided to join in the fun for the first time and take up the challenge myself. I’ve resolved to write a poem each day of the month and chose to write the thirty poems with a common theme and structure. Each is a prayer to one of the gods or goddesses of Asatru, and each is exactly nine lines in the style of Anglo-Saxon continuous verse that is not broken into stanzas. (I first featured this meter over a month ago in my “Beer in Midgard” poem, and it is like my usual fornyrðislag except for the changes in line and stanza breaks.) The prayers are written in plural form, and like the Calls to the Gods on this blog, they (usually) can be changed to singular without damaging the meter or the sense. It should be noted that prayer is not a requirement in Asatru, and many (most?) Asatruar don’t pray. I think it is something that individual Asatruar can experiment with if they feel so inclined. However, beyond such brief remarks, this blog is not the place to enter into the debate on the matter.
As I prepared this post, I was halfway finished with NaPoWriMo, having written 15 poems, one on each of the first 15 days of the month. Today I present three prayers from those written so far. They are prayers to Iðunn, Thor, and Eir. Continue reading →
Today I present an audio recording of another eddic tale that I’ve set in verse. This time, it is Building Asgard’s Wall, which was posted as text last March. In this spoken version, the words are different in a few places from what I posted, and the original post has not been edited.
Concluding from last week, here are the final ten stanzas of “The Duel.”
Some of you may be wondering what Mokkurkalfi is doing in this tale. His presence probably strikes modern readers as a bit weird. Also peculiar is the emphasis that Snorri seems to put on the hearts of Hrungnir and Mokkurkalfi. There are perhaps some initiatory themes at work here, but whatever such strange details might mean, I prefer to keep them in rather than remove them out of a lack of understanding. The lore contains many mysteries, and we cannot learn from them if we start throwing them out simply because they don’t make sense at our current levels of understanding. But enough of the soapbox, here’s the rest of the poem.
I present another poetic rendering of a prose tale from the lore. It is the story of the first (and probably last) giant to challenge Thor to a formal duel, and it has several things in common with the last Thor story I posted three months ago about his visit to Geirrod (part 1 and part 2). Just like that tale, Snorri presents in it prose with many details, and he also quotes from a difficult skaldic poem that mentions the story as well. (The skaldic poem is Haustlöng by Þjóðólfr of Hvinir.)
Rather than a difficult skaldic meter, I have written my retelling in 20 stanzas of my usual and more accessible fornyrðislag. The spellings have been anglicized throughout. It is well known that Odin has many different names in the lore; less well known is that Thor also has many names, although not as many as Odin, of course. The reader will see quite a few of those names in this poem. Like the previous Thor tale, I present the first half here today, and the second half will follow next Wednesday. The poem’s title is simply “The Duel.”
Some may have wondered if there is a particular way in which the poetic calls to the gods should be recited. Of course, anyone trying these in their rituals is free to develop their own style. I prefer a style with a strong rhythm and forceful recitation. For those curious as to how I envision them, I present today an audio recording of five of my calls.