Attempting Skaldic Verse

Saturday, I went to Crown Tournament in Æthelmearc again. This one was waaaaay down in the Barony of Blackstone Mountain in BY GAWD West Virginia. We were just there two weeks ago for Blackstone Raid – same site even! – but my friend Bjarki is on the Beat Everyone’s Ass Tour of Æthelmearc this year, so I’m going along – actually a bunch of us went down to support him and help out – to help him in his quest for a crown by heralding him into the lysts.

I’ve done a good bit of this over the last few years, and I am not known for any one particular thing (other than being loud and enunciating clearly). This is probably because I don’t like to do the same thing twice. I have bragged couples into court before the Crown in German and Pig Latin, sung in Gregorian chant and Irish traditional filk, bragged in just the consort, only mentioning the combatant as a parenthetical footnote, and a bunch of other stuff. I try and make every time special for the combatant and their consort; typically all I ask them is, “Serious or comedic?” and go from there. They have no idea what I’m going to do until I start.

This time, though, my man Bjarki is a Viking, and Vikings mean skaldic verse. This was new territory for me. I wrote some lines down and called my lifeline: Master Magnus hvalmagi, an East Kingdom Laurel for, conveniently, Norse poetry. You can read his stuff (and his brewing adventures) here:

I shot him my first attempt, and he confirmed that it was, in fact, absolute garbage. A dildo filled with syphilis. A poopy bowl of rotten chocolate custard. Just bad.

But, him being the stand-up guy he is, he attempted to assist me, and after a longer time than I’d like to admit, messing with syllable counts and beats-per-line and weird rhymes, I ended up with this. Anything that’s good here is due to him, and all mistakes are my own (and published despite his sage advice and teaching).

Lordly, comes from Coppertree
To Blackstone for Winter’s throne
Bearing honor, not belt-wearing
Lyst-vying, light-stepping, foes dying

Mighty, comes from Coppertree
Red-brand swings in skillful hand
A bear, to be Sylvan heir
Patriarch of Æthelmearc

This isn’t great, hell it’s not even correct or good, but it gets across what I wanted to say and sounds vaguely like it’s in some kind of Norse meter and structure. I guess I’d say it’s vaguely a Drottkvaett, if I had to pick something, but the rhyme scheme isn’t right. It was enjoyed and complimented at crown, so I guess that’s a win. Maybe I’d bust this out again at a drunken bardic circle.

Anyways, if you want to know more, don’t talk to me, I’m bad at this. Here’s a short document from Master Magnus about skaldic verse, read this then go ask him:

PS. Bjarki was dead last in the Order of March, and made the semifinals. He’ll get the next one.

Photo by Alaxandair

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