history, literature, Uncategorized

Two More Anglo Saxon Riddle Songs



I am sun-struck, rapt with flame
Flush with glory, flirt with the wind–
I am clutched by storm and touched by fire,
Ripe for the road, bloom-wood or blaze.
My path through the hall is hand to hand
As friends raise me, proud men and women
Clutch and kiss me, praise my power
And bow before me. To many I bring
A ripe bliss, a rich blooming.

–Prior to 10th century AD (p. 88, A Feast of Creatures: Anglo-Saxon Riddle Songs, trans. by Craig Williamson)



Ship with red sunset

Middle-earth is made lovely in unmatched ways
Rich and rare. I saw a strange creature
Riding the road, weird craft and power
From the workshops of men. She came sliding
Up on the shore, shrieking without sight,
Eyes, arms, shoulders, hands–
Sailed on one foot over smooth plains–
Treasure and haul. Mouth in the middle
Of a hoard of ribs. She carries corn-
Gold, grain-treasure, wine-wealth.
The feast-floater brings in her belly food
For rich and poor. Let the wise who catch
The drift of this riddle say what I mean.

–p. 90, A Feast of Creatures: Anglo-Saxon Riddle Songs, trans. by Craig Williamson



4 thoughts on “Two More Anglo Saxon Riddle Songs”

  1. You have no idea how happy I am that you are sharing more of these. I love both the poetry and the sense of fun that permeate riddle-songs. And really, “corn-gold, grain-treasure, wine-wealth” should be a deep philosophical statement on the value of food and drink. 😉

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy them as well! They are so beautiful and clever and I just love how they overflow with the realities of the natural world. We’ve lost so much of that, being shut up in sanitized cities. It’s safe, yes, for the most part, but we are so disconnected from the earth.

      Haha, yes, I agree! Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die, right?

    1. Thanks, Shawn! I’m not sure if you’re speaking about the photo, the riddle song, or both. But yes, I think both the words and the image are lovely. It’s so wondrous to me to read words composed many hundreds of years ago and see that people were the same then that they are now.

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