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Anglo-Saxon Poetry
Competition Entries


purple bullet MAEG LOC-BORE MADOC

By Master Ædward of Glastonburh

Hark, then and hear // with head and heart,
Lore of Lasses // long the poets tell.
Maids of Madoc // made of soul-iron,
Firm the rock // right the seat-stone.

Margala of the midnight // mane, her flashing
needle-swords do fight // the first, and Mother, she.

The second, Domini //dominion over earth
and plant she shares //with all who seek her skill.

Again from Southland // soft of speech,
yet iron will // wrought in beauty's form.
Leonora is she // side-mate to Grace.

Before the night // no thegn may turn
from feast and fire // fostered by Irina.

Yet small stands she // sure of stature
Zofia. None gainsay; // grants she gifts gladly.

The Soulseer arises // right, sure-purposed,
Seeks she direction; // Darriell divines it.

Dancing heart and // hot-footed fancy.
Mariona making // mirthful merry.

Ellawin, she. Healer // hands hold heart,
The wounded soul // stands shaken, born anew.

Hair of gold // and gilded copper,
Ysan Layla // lays by stores for Winter.

Now with bow // bright helm and stout
sword comes Calleja, // cunning warrior.

Again from Southland // she of flaxen
tresses, wicked // wit and soaring
spirit, Nicola, // none found surer.

Silent, strong // steel-bound, surely
she who bears us // Brave Christina.

Meleri, Muse of // memory, Mother
to all, loved // Lore-Keeper, she.

Hare and hound, // hearth, herb and heart,
Strong stands she // the sage, Derbail.

Arise in East // eagles bear winged
Report of Astrid // aflame of spirit,
Joy's handmaiden // hard above
She speeds alive // a Living Astrid, heartbound.

Hark, then and hear // with Head and Heart
the tale, not he // that tells it.
All that matters // maidens all
and all who stand // beside them.
All of Madoc's // Maidens let
the poets loud // proclaim it,
till the mountains // crack and fall
in the halls. // Harken to it.

Ædwardus hic fecit
April 21, 2006, A.S. XL

For the Ladies of Bryn Madoc,
All who have come before,
All here today,
All who may follow.

© 2006, Gilbert Head
Used by permission of the author.



By Mistress Domenica Farnese

In Hrimhlid's bright pastures // the greathearted steeds
Are bathed in the gold // of an afternoon's glow.
Their weregild for service // given full-hearted,
A haven of a grassland // hedged with cool shade trees
Kissed by the daystar // and blessed by the moon.

Companions to heroes // they bore them to fame
Fearlessly thundering // through forests of steel
Or soaring fleet-footed // o'er fell foes
List to these names now // and learn of their high deeds
Those firebright horses // that call Hrimhlid home

First there is Wanderer // the far-flung adventurer
Lordly in stature and noble in mien
Proudly he bears him // the high-hearted warlord
First to the field // to harass all foes

Next then comes Light-foot // his courage is legend
No bar can hinder // his powerful flight
Every obstacle conquered // no matter the heartache
Whether wide as a river // or high as the moon

Dancer is he // who gambols in green woods
Tossing and prancing // in cool morning's light
Swiftly he bears // his rider to glory
In the mist of the fray // he counts not the cost

Queen she is known as // her carriage is regal
Trained to heed // a warrior's will
Mount of the maiden // she carries her lightly
Willful yet willing // to hear her commands

Spirit her name is // loving and kindly
Wisest of all // of Hrimhlid's great herd
In pastures of morning // she waits for them welcoming,
The mother of stallions // the mare gone before

And last but not leastly // the littlest pony
His worth is not weighed // in gems or white gold
Stout still of courage // and doughty in spirit
He bears his all burdens // with gentle goodwill

But their labors have ended // the battle cries silenced
No sound of the war horn // breaks the peace of the day
From daybreak to nightfall // their days are spent drowsing
In pastures of plenty // they roam free from care

So heroes I charge you // to raise high your mead horns
To honor those horses // who bore you to fame
For they have little need // of Heorot's high hall
Or wordsmiths to sing // of their glorious past

Their shelter's the skyvault // its blue heavens shield them
Their honey wine's // water as sweet as a kiss
And wave after wave // of green grass surrounds them
A haven of bounty a heroes' reward

© 2006, Christy Johnson
Used by permission of the author.


purple bullet BATTLE

By Lady Andreva Rigaldi

Warriors stand waiting, // watching the skies,
Anxious for portents // that promise victory.
Shield and sword bared // they stand at the ready
Defying the monsters // with death in their eyes.
War-soundings echo // making ears and hearts ring.
Sharp-biting arrows // surge from their bonds;
The battlefield churns // choking dust fills the air.
The sword-wielders dance // with speed and precision,
Steel finds a home // in the heart of their partner.
They turn and dance // and die in their turn
While the eye of the World-Speaker // watches and burns.

© 2006, Erin Price
Used by permission of the author.


purple bullet GUMBY'S SAGA

By Magistra Rosemounde of Mercia

Hear now my story of greatness and splendor,
Of fighters so fearsome their blows shook the earth.
Of a battle between the warriors of legend —
Mighty Bearkiller and Gumby, the green one.

Bearkiller's berserks had bloodied their blades
Conquering Wales for their curly haired King.
He ruled with a fist made of iron and oak,
Like the sword and the shield that had conquered his foes.

“Oh woe upon us!” cried those he had conquered.
“Gods, send us a hero to throw off this yoke.”
And they sent out a rider to search for a warrior
To set them free from the Bear of oppression.

Then out of the Northlands a horseman came to them —
A man of strange visage on a mount even stranger.
Gumby, the green one, on Pokey his war steed
Came into Wales to bait the wild Bear.

Gumby rode up to Bearkiller's battlements
And challenged the King to a contest of swords.
“Come out you rascal!” he taunted the fierce one.
“I'll thrash you like wheat!” bellowed the Bear.

So it happened that day that two crows of Wodin,
Gumby and Bearkiller, faced off in the meadow.
Mounted on steeds with their swords drawn and ready,
They hurtled themselves one at the other.

Bear's blow struck first, but to his amazement
His blade merely bounced off of Gumby's green skin.
“How could this be?” bellowed Bear in surprise.
“There's magic a-foot!” he cried in dismay.

Meanwhile, Gumby had landed his first blow
Upon the Bear's chest, but with flat of the blade.
Bear was not hurt, but the blow did unhorse him,
Leaving him standing alone on the field.

As Gumby rode forward to smite his opponent
Bear lowered his shoulder and ducked as the blow fell.
Then all of his bulk Bear threw at Gumby
And the green one tumbled splayed flat on the ground.

But Gumby, the flexible, was woundless as always.
He sprang to his feet and picked up his sword.
He looked for his Pokey, the mighty was stallion
And saw to his horror, that Bearkiller had grabbed him.

He cried, “Pokey! Pokey! My kingdom for Pokey!”
But he need not have feared for as Bearkiller mounted
The elastic pony sagged under his weight
Leaving Bearkiller's feet still on the ground.

“This sorcery must cease!” cried the furious Bear.
“I call on my shaman to equal the odds.”
So Bearkiller's shaman cast runes and read portents,
And then he began his chant to the gods.

“Wodin send woe down on this green one.
Unloose your magic to aid he who honors you.”
Then out of the clear sky a bolt of white lightening
Shattered the clouds with an eyebiting flash.

The bolt struck Gumby full in the body
Splitting him open with a hole in his middle.
Then slowly, so slowly, Gumby, he melted,
Until all was gone save a few clods of green.

Pokey bucked high throwing Bearkiller
And charged to the spot where his master has vanished.
He picked up the green clods with his mouth, so tender,
And galloped away back towards the Northland.

That is the story of two mighty warriors.
Bearkiller the King and the stretchy one, Gumby.
How they battled each other with swords and with magic
On the plains of Wales in an age long ago.

© 2006, Micaela Burnham
Used by permission of the author.



The original notice for the Anglo-Saxon poetry competition appears below:

“All of the virtues, none of the rhyme”

Return with me to mead-hall days
when sang the scops of shield-wall heroes
or brooded long on life's brevity.
When mattered the most was metered line,
ere poems rhymed in Roman tongues;
Romantic rubbish ruined epics.

Lord Dyfn ap Meurig is sponsoring a Anglo-Saxon poetry contest. Poems must be original, use the Anglo-Saxon alliterative style, and be presented in clearly legible format. If you aren't sure you are going to be at Dreamstone, your submission should include contact information. Entries may be mailed or emailed to Dyfn, or handed in at the Troll Booth by noon on the Saturday of Dreamstone.

Poems in Old English will be impressive, but poems in New English will be read!

A style guide can be found in the Bryn-L files section, under “Early Period.”

Poems will be judged on form (the proper use of alliteration, meter and stress, as well as stylistic hallmarks such as kennings and variations), subject, style, and creativity. The winner will be announced at Dreamstone baronial court.

Prizes are to be determined, but will include a bottle of Chaucers mead and some tablet-woven trim. In addition, the winning poem will be performed in the evening at their Excellencies' pleasure — by the author or by a stand-in with a suitably loud voice.

Bring honor to your group and glory to your name by composing in the grand style of our forebears. Or don't and . . . don't.


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