Dedicated to Gilchrist, Ilsa, Boaz, Ozymandius, O’ber and Fengil
By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 49 (2015)
In northern hall the hounds all sit,
Sleek bodies fit for dogs who hunt,
When with a grunt released they fly,
Give voice to cry as swift they go,
The whippets flow through bright green grass,
While greyhounds pass and kennets bay,
Lymers find the prey, elusive,
And then, conclusive, end the game;
So heed their lord and dame, head home,
No more to roam and on floor sprawl.
Written using the Irish poetic device known as Aicill. Aicill is a rhyme scheme where the final word of one line rhymes with an internal word in the next rhyme.
He was a man both strong and tall,
Who, come the fall, would travel round
To hallowed ground, and there kneel down
I again settled on iambic octometer for my meter (for some reason that feels most natural to me), and did not use a traditional poetic stanza form. I instead wrote single ceathramhain (lines of verse) until I felt the tale had been told (in this case a scene of all the dogs who are part of House Arrochar chasing something through a field). I also chose to write it as a single rann (stanza). Technically I also used the device known as dúnadh (meaning “conclusion”) where the poem begins and ends on the same sound. This sound can be the whole word, a syllable, or just a letter. This poem begins and ends with the letter L, so it could be considered to be using dúnadh. Another device I made use of a on a few ceathramhain was uaim, which is the use of alliteration in early Irish poetry. With uaim only unaccented syllables should come between alliterated words (so “hall the hounds,” “fit for,” “when with,” “green grass,” and “head home” all alliterate correctly).
Kennets were a type of dog used as small hunting hounds, while lymers were dogs used to locate game.
For more information on dogs in period, check out:
Walker-Meikle, Kathleen. Medieval Dogs. British Library, 2013.