Monday, June 30, 2014



By THLaird Colyne Stewart, 2014 (AS 49)

Þorfinna, Thor’s finest,
there she stands red-handed,
life-friend and foe-hammer,
Serpent’s favoured daughter.
In spear-din, shield-maiden,
in saga, skald singer,
on cloak her foes flounder,
at Althing friends gather.

‘Neath sky-candle’s searing,
the gray-coat stands waiting,
blood-ember flood flowing,
long-tooth eagle feeding.
Her fingers ring heavy,
her arms and hands banded,
Hersir’s mind’s-worth healing,
heart-treasure of husband.

For Þorfinna gráfeldr, in recognition of her deeds at the Passo Hanso tournament held at War of the Trillium 2014, where she was selected by the viewing gallery as the winner of the tourney for her exemplification of the virtue of humility.

This was my first attempt at writing in the Old Norse drótkvætt style, and my inexperience does show in my lack of near rhymes in some of the second and fourth lines in the half stanzas.

Below is an annotated version of the poem.

Þorfinna, Thor’s finest[1],
there she stands red-handed,
life-friend[2] and foe-hammer,
Serpent’s favoured daughter[3].
In spear-din[4], shield-maiden[5],
in saga, skald singer[6],
on cloak her foes flounder[7],
at Althing friends gather[8].

‘Neath sky-candle’s[9] searing,
the gray-coat[10] stands waiting,
blood-ember[11] flood flowing,
long-tooth[12] eagle feeding[13].
Her fingers ring heavy[14],
her arms and hands banded,
Hersir[15]’s mind’s-worth[16] healing,
heart-treasure[17] of husband.

[1] Þorfinna means Thor’s finest.

[2] Wife.

[3] This line alludes to the serpents in her heraldry, equating them with Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.

[4] Battle.

[5] Þorfinna is a fighter.

[6] She is also a bard. A skald was a Norse bard.

[7] This alludes to the holmgang duels which the Norse fought on a cloak laid on the ground.

[8] An Althing was a gathering to deal with judicial issues. This line is saying that Þorfinna is well respected, something she was told at this same event.

[9] The sun.

[10] Þorfinna’s byname ‘gráfeldr’ means ‘gray coat’.

[11] An axe, this one freeing her foe’s blood.

[12] Sword.

[13] Slaying her foes.

[14] The Norse gave rings as tokens quite often. After the Passo Hanso, one of Þorfinna’s opponents gave her such a token.

[15] Baron.

[16] Honour. This line is saying Þorfinna brings honour to her baron (and baroness).

[17] She is my everything.

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