In Svinnerhal, the King stood tall,
Reaching high and wide.
In his hall, he spoke to those,
in whom he could confide.
His icevein thanes, and long-gnarled jarls,
His housebound spouse, and north-haul thralls.
Those few of his who came from foreign shores,
Those few Svinn trusted to pass into his hearth.
Glory, gold and farmland growth,
That I promised you.
Blood, sweat and many dead,
That you’ve granted me.
Over seas of immerblue,
To these lands of green and new
Our bond stood strong and will stand true
By my oath, my kin’s kin, enjoy the splendour you are due.
Svinn raised his horn,
To the oathbound few in Svinnerhal,
And the coldland men who walked his fief.
Those warriors of metal glory,
Those warriors of ancient story
Fast at work on wooden homes,
Fashioned from the northern ships
Vessels to serve a newer worth.
Not all of ours built shipshaped domes,
Some of us kept the way of sword,
Guarding the walls from longbeard scorn,
Watching the seas for feasting crows,
And presiding over our mortal bounty.
The native captives who tended the fields,
Their chains clanged on the ground,
The sound of our victory.
A sound that rung from morn to dusk,
From dark to light, till dark would set again,
That night, the loyal of loyal of Svinnermen,
Drunk within the longhouse to the fledgling king,
As thralls drowned their horns in cider,
Which proved itself with every gulp,
That wondrous everbearded drink.
The best the locals had worth taking.
Siggrodi the oldest of the gnarled,
Whose grey reached far down from his jaws,
Spoke to the king in words all true:
This land is godly, your rule is law
It does me pride to stand by you
And the king spoke in words ever-true:
As all men good, I feel the same,
Yet as all things good, It’s not to last.
Such wisdom escaped Siggrodi’s ears of old,
What fleeting is weighed in steel and gold?
What passing is seen in slaves and soil?
What the Gnarled warrior could not see,
Was that all this wealth would trap the free,
For a man of naught grows never soft,
But a man of all, knows not of toil,
Nor of blood, death, mud and soot.
Svinn but smiled at his eldest friend,
The jarl whose longest days would soon-morrow end,
The black to come, Sigg wouldn’t see,
Only the green of plenty ,
And the long-sought warmth,
For Svinn’s fear were a wicked, insipid sin,
Not a learned frail,
But a birthmark weak
This is the 33th poem published on this blog and the 2nd installment of the Song of the Northerner series.
Previous entry: 1. Ships.