Search results for 'Asgard poetry'

Asgard: ‘Warriors and Ravens’ 5/5′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

11 Dec

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Asgard

Featuring:

Karin Heyer, Kate Garrett and Mina Polen

 

Northern Lights

by Karin Heyer

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Green magic light rushed
through the deep blue northern night,
when Odin, Allfather
stood at the roots of Yggdrasill
thirsting
for the secrets of the universe,
he gives his one eye
for knowing all —

He built a throne
high up in the crown of Yggdrasill,
best of trees,
world tree,
its roots to survey all realms,
Odin recalls the creation.

When

fire furious fills the air
crashing ice creates,
when life-licking cow
conjures woman and man,
sun, moon and stars in one,
a dread flame of power
never-ceasing creation,
eternal wind a-blowing —

Yet

Yggdrasill still stands solid
for ever North – South,
green, yellow lights
luminous, amazing,
burning, blazing
in the sky, even now!

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Harvest

by Kate Garrett

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i sneak, i reap

i am a trick of the light

light from a golden crop

of wheat-silk soft
& mine with one swipe
of scythe

break my fingers
break my toes
one by one by one

i provide, i scheme

i push you into motion

motion of worlds beneath

so panic – panic until
back & forth & back
the needle swings

threading this voice
you fear down into
my throat

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* Based on the myth of Thor’s hammer, specifically the part where Loki steals Sif’s hair and is punished for it. The difference between physical power (Thor) and one type of mental power (Loki).

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Alone and afraid

by Mina Polen

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All alone
…………..smashing stones
…………..carving wood
…………..playing with gold

all alone
…………..behind a broken wall
…………..waiting for another spell

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all afraid

…………..that the world might change
…………..that more giants might come

all afraid

……………and the wolf is howling
……………and the serpent is rattling
……………and they can hear the giants’ steps

all alone
all afraid.

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You can read the overview of Asgard here and see more of the Asgard poems here

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Find out more about Karin, Kate and Mina:

Karin Heyer

No website, as yet. Contact ArtiPeeps.

Kate Garrett

http://www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/kate_garrett

Mina Polen

 http://www.lulu.com/shop/mina-polen/scylla-and-charybdis/paperback/product-21019437.html

https://twitter.com/minapolen

 

Watch out for Vanaheim (the realm of the giants) poetry next week!

As always, thank you for your interest. 

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Asgard: ‘Warriors and Ravens’ 4/5′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

3 Dec

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Asgard

Featuring:

Greg Mackie, Lenka Monk, Rebecca Audra Smith and Rob De Born

 

KILLING YMIR

by Greg Mackie

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Between my head and my heart,

there was a no man’s land

the size of Iceland –

all frost and volcanoes.
Ice, to the north –

cold, clinical,

sceptical and cynical.
Fire, to the south –

a passion burning in my gut;

the inevitable contradiction.
And at the centre of this,

rising like a geyser, 

Ymir, the primeval us – 

a mystery

to be broken,

into smaller mysteries,

given names

and meanings.
And so I did –

shatter and scatter

his body and blood,

across worlds –
Until there was

no more left 

of him,

to remind me,

of my ignorance.

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Ymir

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Heimdall’s oath

by Lenka Monk

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I’ve seen it, heard it all
From Midgard of men to mighty Asgard.
No matter the rise, no matter the fall
The rainbow bridge I guard.

The prophecy once told
In the lieu of eloquence,
Speaks of shadows born in a cold
Doused in frosty decadence.

The twisted knots of fate
In the monster’s breath of ice,
Will untangle at the gate
With last roll of a dice.

I will fight to the end
For my realm and my land,
Our hallowed reign I shall defend
With sword in my hand.

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Poem read by Nicky Mortlock on Lenka’s behalf.

Heimdallr

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Frigg Beginnings

by Rebecca Audra Smith

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We began in war,
splitting apart the giant man,
white and frosty with age.

Frigg like an itch a scratch of mothers lives.
Can’t you see, we said to her,
your daughters need to open the world.

One woman hefted a mallet.
We used his lungs to embryo the earth,
wrapping the atmosphere in a fine pink gauze.

The soft tissue of his brain the ocean bed,
here is where the gracious mammals float,
unwieldy and full of old knowledge,
his hippocampus their swimming ground.

Many things were birthed, first came
The small thoughts, then the larger ones
Till we’d built a city out of our need.

And the men, we got them from the flotsam,
The sea-spray, the wreckage of the ocean floor.
We began in war.

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Eight Legged Stallion

by Rebecca Audra Smith

 

Snipped Eight Legged Stalion

 

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Frigg

Loki

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Two Children

by Robert De Born

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Odin and God
made saviours,
grave minds
held prophecies:
the rune and the tablet.

Hung from wood,
pierced with spears;
God knew everything.
Odin didn’t.
God’s child arrived immaculate
in the spaces between
Herod’s fingertips.
An angel watching
held him from apocalypse
in dark places,
fragile as plaster of Paris
but Charis colludes where grace is.

God knew everything.

Odin, when he found
his child taken,
salvation pierced with the spear,
sought the holy virgin;

and appeared first
as a soldier,
broad-shouldered
with polished shoes
and medals from neck to navel

and he asked nicely.

Then appeared a bard,
voice gypsum-rich
with melodies winding as the gamut of the amber trade,
fingers flickering on the lyre
like demons’ tongues

and he asked nicely.

Then appeared,
hands full of washrags

and he raped her.

Blood never looked darker
than against those sheets
as white as Baldr’s skin
and seen through the milky mistletoe
transparency of Odin’s cornea.
And then, collapse.

The eyes of wolves have the golden gaze of a God who knows everything.

An eye bright.
An eye dark.
Night and day fog into one.

Nine nights and days fixed to the tree.

I pace by the wall,

take a lung of air,
a lung of smoke

waiting for poetry
to blossom like murder

on my lips.

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Odin

 

You can read the overview of Asgard here

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Find out more about Greg, Lenka, Rebecca and Rob:

 

Greg Mackie

frenzyofflies.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/FrenzyOfFlies

Lenka Monk

Contact ArtiPeeps

Rebecca Audra Smith

beccaaudra.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/BeccaAudra

Robert De Born

https://twitter.com/RobertDeBorn

robertdeborn.wordpress.com

 

Watch out for more Asgard poetry next week!

As always, thank you for your interest. 

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Asgard: ‘Warriors and Ravens’ 3/5′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

27 Nov

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Asgard

Featuring:

Richard Biddle, Eleanor Perry,

Jim C. Mackintosh, Carol Robson

 

Mimir Speaks

by Richard Biddle

First you must become
your own assassin.

With the clarity of
a perfectly balanced
blade

and as easily as clouds
pass over an
unblemished sky,

cut through yourself.

Once severed from the
object of your body

you shall reawaken
into a deathless peace

and inside this
formless void
you will find a new voice
with which to speak.

As the me of your
memory melts,

like not quite white
fallen snow

laying bare
the groundless
ground

on which
all can tread
without trace,

know that
all you are
is the knowing
of knowing.


Now
look inwardly,
and see
there is no enemy
named he or she
there is no you
there is no me,
there is only
this perfectly
present moment.

And all
are headless.

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I take my inspiration from this extract found in, Kevin Crossley-Holland’s book ‘The Norse Myths’

“Odin took Mimir’s head and cradled it. he smeared it with herbs to preserve it, so that it would never decay. And then the High One sang charms over it and gave back to Mimir’s head the power of speech. So its wisdom became Odin’s wisdom – many truths unknown to any other being.”

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1.

Waste

by Eleanor Perry

Waste 1 jpeg

Waste 3 jpeg

Waste 2 jpeg

 

MP3 to come

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Asgard

by Jim C. Mackintosh

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Shh! Close your eyes.
Open your mind.

Do you believe?
Do you believe in the Gods?
In the Gods that surround you,
Embracing your thoughts, shaping your dreams
In the confused, nibbled edge of the rainbow
Brilliant, then at once dissolved into the clouds,
Lost to our perception but never ending, to bind
Its ribbon’d flames on to the lush plains of Asgard
Beyond our reach, unless you believe – do you?

Do you believe?
In the distance, those wise mountains, we hold in awe,
Yet they’re nothing more than the quarried odds,
For the walls of Asgard hewn from the depths by
The rock giant condemned by Thor’s mighty blow,
His skull scattered amongst the scree in fragments
Echoing in ravines and gulley’s at the thunderous
Crack of Mjollnir – the Hammer of Thor, the sparks
Of fury scored across our world as lightning.

Do you believe?
That gentle stroke of honeyed breeze
Out of nothing, brushing past our innocence
On a calm summer’s day – pulling at your senses,
Sleipnir has passed you quietly by – its silver mane
Catching your attention but for a moment – then gone
For Odin, his Master has business beyond our vision
In the lands of the Forgotten
In the Halls of the Slain – in Valhalla.

Do you believe?
Lost in the golden sparkle
Of a million tealights dancing
Across the rippled sea, to the horizon
Each one a teardrop lost from the curve
Of Freyja’s immeasurable beauty – a glimpse
Of her solitude, exposed briefly
To our mortal greed then gone
For Odin will not allow it – nobody
Holds the fragrant beauty of Freyja close but him.

Do you believe?
In the columned pines that tilt and moan
In the storms yet hold the weight of Asgard
Beyond our understanding – the waters
That seep as rain from the Well of Urd through
Clouds folding and masking the horizon
Which we cannot reach unless we believe
In the Realm of Asgard, in all of the Nine Realms
Bound in the sinewed embrace of Yggdrasill’s roots.

So, do you believe?
In the Gods that exist in you, that become you.
Open your eyes. Live in your mind.
Welcome to Asgard – where the journey begins.
The journey that never ends, unless your mind
Stops for breath, believe me, believe yourself.
We must go now.
We have far to travel.
Much has happened.
Much has yet to be remembered.
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Rainbow Keeper

by Carol Robson

(Heimdallr)

Born of nine
nourished in fertility
of thy mother earth,
washed – cleansed,
in wave after wave
of brine and blood.

Guardian gatekeeper,
ever watchful
in sight and sound.
Deceiver so big,
changing to, another RIG.
Nemesis for good,
this giant he stood.

Rainbow sentinel so proud,
bearer of horn, so loud.
His sword to flash
for enemies to crash.

Asgard protected down the ages,
depicted in so many pages.
In mythology, he’s in the A-list
Although in Stargate
he was a Geneticist.

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©Carol Robson 2014

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Heimdallr

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You can read the overview of Asgard here

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Find out more about Richard, Eleanor, Jim and Carol:

 

Richard Biddle

writings43.blogspot.co.uk

https://twitter.com/littledeaths68

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

Jim C Mackintosh

bigbaffy.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

Carol Robson

carolrobson.com

https://twitter.com/Chakracaz

 

Watch out for more Asgard poetry next week!

As always, thank you for your interest. 

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Asgard: ‘Warriors and Ravens’ 2/5′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

20 Nov

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Asgard

Featuring:

Shirley Golden, John Mansell, Lydia Allison, Ross Beattie

 

Yggdrasill Groans

by Shirley Golden

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So here am I: ancient, wise and eternal. Rooted in the heart of Asgard, I channel into lower realms. Above, my canopy extends as a shield for all creation. Always was and is and will be, so they say. You might imagine that one of my standing would claim attention and be heeded. If only. Ra-ta-tap, ra-ta-tap: paws scurry along bark and branch from source to crown, conducting a berserk exchange. Together. Apart. Deep in the soil, Nidhogg’s scales abrade my knotted foundations. His teeth rip and tear, keen to unearth. Deer and harts snack on my shoots before I have time to unfurl. I’m gnawed and chewed upon, hung from, and tapped for sweet knowledge. But it’s never enough. Trouble is the gods aren’t so gifted to keep calm, listen or reflect.

Look at him, running around with his stunted hammer, trying to wield notions of equality, and him a god. Granted, he has a stout heart and likes to keep things in order, but why oh why can he never grasp when he’s being tricked by those frost giants? And the Allfather with his all-seeing eye? Pah! I mean, how often does He neglect to observe the rascal’s antics? Time and again the shape-changer creates chaos, and with his wheedle words slithers out of predicaments, slippery as a fish. Will they never learn? How many times can one make amends with ill-gotten gifts? I blame the eye. Sacrificed for wisdom, but He failed to appreciate the value of depth perception.

Is that harsh? I’m old, too old and cranky. If it wasn’t for the Norns and their care, I’d have rotted long ago. I tire of the gods and their games. It’s all act, act, act; treks to other realms, tests and trials. Who’s the toughest or the swiftest? I do my best to give sound counsel but I’m unconvinced that they hear me. All they sense is a susurration of leaves, lifted by the breeze, from which they seize a sketchy message and thunder ahead, regardless.

The wind gusts his ice-breath and my joints creak and moan, but I’ve seeds to sow and trust that one day they’ll take. Understand that I’ve considered on countless occasions what I might say (if only I could articulate their words, and if only they’d be still and mark my warnings). And the best advice I could offer?

“Whatever you do, don’t listen to Loki.”

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Yggdrasil

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Asgard

by John Mansell

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I

Slaked emptied the meaded-horns.
The soothsayer’s runes yield their redden field.
The smoke coil-feast entwining the bowed heads of Long Serpents
bobbing with rimmed-eyed-red.
The feast for slaughter to wed the lost to death.

Grim battle carrion shredded bannered.
The disjointed stride of deed beneath the beak.
Splashed vivid and dripping the echoes of dawn.
War hounds draped in the grim spoils between the broken weaponry.
The shattered bodies sprawl by jewel tipped shaft.

II

By Bifrost span the heralded torn from earthly womb.
The golden shrill shouts of the choosers of the slain.
Renewal of strength, rearmed and armoured
by the wall of spears and the shielded roof.
Aesir-dwellers in brine enactment of that perfect fate.

The daily spectacle before Geri and Freki by their Master’s feet;
by Huguinn and Muninn at the godly ear.
And man’s desire to repeat his seething deeds,
rehealed and re-aled beneath the folds of Frigga’s sky,
reveals no boy returning from whence only men filed.

III

Far below, the earthly funeral lights the dimming horizon.
Adorning glory. The warriors muster and poets sing.
The brutal ferocity glad against the breast of night.
And in humble earth-wood home the hero’s woman
beside another who soon will taste the meaded-horn.

And all men by their camped fires recite the lists of dead.
Who line abreast four score by ten the many rounded doors.
The quieting scene. The poet eyes the distant moraine.
And hums in rhythm and fighting rhyme
His battle hymn to those aloft in eternal praise.

 

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Poem read by Nicky Mortlock on John’s behalf.

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they never said

by Lydia Allison

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dying is travelling
a light-year in a second
completely alone,
in a sense you have never felt before
not in dreams or worship
or bleak nights.

I was part of the writhing mass
the storming spreading attack
part of the dance between me and that
man that other warrior that superior clan
I was part of that
company, closer than everything
and when I look back
his face was the face of my wife.

did he look away out of shame
for my weakness shame
for his own life shame
for how tenderly my body leaned to his blade.

here is the look of oil on water
like heaven’s reflection you can touch.
as a child I chased rainbows
made idols from glass refractions,
stooped in the road.

I see thickly, this space shimmers with moving light
violet edging faces I know
and I mourn my rainbow
revising memories of blood
the sun, fresh leaves, and sky,
pure darkness, and white light of ash
and I weep clear tears
laced with the pigments of the dead.

they never said it’s just like living,
seeing one colour
and searching for your own heartbeat.
and when you go it’s more like
everybody you’ve known is falling
away, leaving you to grieve in morbid hope that they
would not, that they would stay.

 

Lydia on her poem: ‘One of the things that intrigued me most throughout the reading was the idea of light a rainbow/bifrost, acting as a bridge to Asgard’.

MP3 to come.

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Asgard

by Ross Beattie

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Stand beside me brother and together we can begin again.
Only through death can we break the existence in which we suffer.
We will wash our exhausted hands in the blood filled rivers, before growing strength again to walk fearlessly through the doubt.
Will we ever know if we are too afraid to try ?
I see the palaces in my mind, huge hallways and gold walled rooms, beauty in our control from the sacrifices we choose to make.
Wisdoms waits at the end of the battle, and even though we cannot see what lays ahead we mustn’t turn our heads now from fear as that will make this an ending instead of the beginning that it stands to be.
So stand strong beside me and we will cover the ground in flesh, and build every single mountain from the bones we will rip away from the deathly cold that controls all we see.
And from there we can create all that I know is possible.

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You can read the overview of Asgard here

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Find out more about Shirley, John, Lydia and Ross:

 

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

Lydia Allison

http://lydiaallison.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

Ross Beattie

http://blackpoemblues.weebly.com/

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

 

Watch out for more Asgard poetry next week!

As always, thank you for your interest. 

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Asgard: ‘Warriors and Ravens 1/5’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

13 Nov

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Asgard

Featuring:

Tom Murphy, Joanna Lee, James Knight, Nat Hall

 

Asgard

by Tom Murphy

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on the first night I was called by the jackdaw
tapping on the sill after the moon went dark
“fly” she said, and I was able to follow
a cold night but I soared
over the meadow
into the wood
across the bridge

I saw bodies hanging in the tree
the nine lives offered
the snake
the wolf
the elk
the hare
the frog
the cat
the fox
the calf

by the fire
the old man sat
a circle already prepared
so deep was his look
he saw my birth
through my left eye

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All the world needs is another dumb princess

by Joanna Lee

 

Jpeg All the World by Joanna Lee

 

Click on the poem to enlarge. 

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To find out more about the back-story to this poem click here.

 

 Ymir

by James Knight

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Ymir used to be a big nothing;
Now he’s everything. 

His hair is the grass, the trees, the reeds
His scalp is the desert
His skull is the empty vault of space
His brain is telecommunications
His skin is a reality made of matter and mirages
His forehead is the Ten Commandments
His eyebrows are lethargy and a thousand easy lies
His eyelashes are the meshes of love
His eyes are stars, supernovas, lightbulbs, fireworks, napalm, nuclear war
His ears are the remains of imaginary animals 
His nose is a sad farewell
His nostrils are wormholes to another dimension where the Bird King reigns from his electric throne
His lips are a debate on the meaning of the word “jihad”
His teeth are Coca Cola
His tongue is mother of all languages 
His cheeks are zoology
His chin is Mount Olympus 
His neck is an execution at dawn
His shoulders are art installations attempting controversy through the juxtaposition of childhood and terrorism 
His arms are escape routes to Hell
His hands are bird cages or prison cells or holding bays or rooms without doors 
His chest is archaeology 
His ribcage is the phantom city at dusk
His heart is time
His lungs are the four winds, weather, disaster
His abdomen is sentiment
His digestive system is a labyrinth of corridors and offices 
His hips are cemeteries
His genitals are every whimsical thought anyone has ever had
His legs are mannequins staring murderously at passersby
His feet are oceans. 

The rest of Ymir remains uncatalogued
In boxes 
In a basement 
Under the ruins of a building
Forgotten by the story-tellers.

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Title Jpeg

(Superstition)

by Nat Hall

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Feel flight feathers & falcon’s skin.

Now walk through clouds, realm of Æsir,
where ravens perch on primal
strand of the rainbow;
where rain falls red
and Mjollnir *
sleeps –
he
who
wears blue
will not be seen as the shaman,
but a rider extraordinaire –
Huginn & Muninn**
side by side,
birds of
battle wish for
wisdom.
Rumour rambles
inside gods’ dreams, he
who controls the many moods of
heavens’ eyes, fruits of
the Earth and fights
giants, can be
called in the name of law,
farming men frown to his chariot…
Skygods in mighty citadel,
home inside halls, walls built by a tricked
gigantic mason,
there is a sly one among them –
he might just be a half-brother, metamorphic,
so fair of face, unafraid to turn a
stallion, hides black inside.
And if you doubt
superstition,
wait for the slain,
flames, ferryman – hear
valkyries*** run on
floorboards,
stand
on
other side of
the shore.

Now let gods gaze at the cauldron.

Let them drink tides of golden
mead brewed for them in
the sea god’s hall.
From his high
seat at
Valaskjalf*.
He, mighty seer, surveys it all in the nine realms.

© Nat Hall 2014

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1 * Mjollnir: Thor’s hammer;’** Huginn & Muninn: Odin’s ravens – Huginn (thought) & Muninn (Memory)
2 ***Valkyries: Odin’s twelve maidens who conducted the slain warriors of their choice from the battlefield to
Valhalla (Vikings’ paradise). Valaskjalf: Odin’s Hall

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You can read the overview of Asgard here

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Find out more about Tom, Joanna, James and Nat here:

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

Joanna Lee

http://the-tenth-muse.com/

https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

James Knight

http://thebirdking.com/

http://chimeragroup.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/badbadpoet

Nat Hall

http://nordicblackbird.weebly.com/

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

 

Watch out for more Asgard poetry next week!

As always, thank you for your interest. 

Realm 1: Asgard – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Writing, Art and Music Collaboration 2014-2015

6 Oct

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat and a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

Asgard

(the realm of the warrior gods)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are at the beginning of October and into the first month of ArtiPeeps’ next EPIC collaboration. This month we are outlining the realm of Asgard and the deadline for all writing and poetry and mp3s for this realm is Thursday 6th November 2014. As soon as the poetry is in we will start posting it out on a weekly basis. 

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION.  The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

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Asgard

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A brief  Overview of the Viking Cosmos:

 When Ymir lived long ago
Was no sand, no surging waves.
Nowhere was there earth nor heaven above.
Bur a grinning gap and grass nowhere

Voluspa-The Song of the Sybil

So the story goes,  Odin, King of Asgard set out with his two brothers to kill Ymir (a primeval frost giant made of clay). From Ymir’s body they formed the world. His blood became rivers, his flesh land, his bones mountains and his skull the sea. Four dwarves were sent to the four corners of the firmament, and the sun and moon in chariots were sent out to follow each other across the sky. 

Having made the world Odin seeks to fill it with beings. First came the dwarves, and then came people- formed out of flotsam from the seashore and he gave them a home-in centre Midgard. After human kind was taken care of they created Asgard, a place filled with huge halls and palaces. 

Asgard, reached only by crossing a bridge guarded by Heimdall, the divine watchman, is the realm of the warrior gods, known as the Aesir. The pillar of wisdom, which all norse mythology pivots around, runs through the middle of Asgard. It is the centre of Wisdom.

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Odin_with_Gunnlöd_by_Johannes_Gehrts

Odin

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The Aesir 

The Aesir gods are one of two divine families (alongside the Vanir) who live in Asgard.

Odin is the head of the Aesir- the All-Father (Ellis-Davidson: 29):

‘Then third said, ‘Odin is the highest and oldest of the gods. He rules in all matters, and, although the other gods are powerful, all serve him as children do their father….He is also called Father of the Slain [Val Father] because all who fall in battle are his adopted sons’ (Sturlson: 30, The Prose Edda, 20. Odin the All-Father)

Odin journeyed all over the world with two carrier ravens as companions called Huginn and Munnin (Thought and Reason). He also possessed a magical spear which guaranteed death.

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Odin_hrafnar

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Odin, roaming outside of Asgard, would often wander around Midgard dressed in a disguise as a tall grey-bearded man in a long cloak and hat. Odin was feared and respected, and would go to any length to acquire knowledge and sate his curiosity.  His quest for wisdom knew no bounds and in a story within Hávamál  in the Poetic Eddha he endured not only 9 days hanging from the Yggsdrasil (the tree of wisdom) but the piercing of his own eye with a spear all to gain the knowledge of the runes..

I wot that I hung….‘on the wind-tossed tree
………….all of nights nine,
wounded by spear,……bespoken to Othin
…………..bespoken myself to myself
[upon that tree…..of which none tellet
…………….from what roots it doth rise]

(Hollander: 36, tr. The Poetic Edda, Hávamál , The Sayings of Har/The Sayings of the High One)

The meaning of the story above seems to revolve around the notion of sacrifice: despite many lures being offered to him he nevertheless continued to sacrifice himself. Odin was thought, symbollically to bring success.

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Frigg

Frigg

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Frigg:

 Frigg is queen of Asgard and married to Odin. She is goddess of marriage and motherhood and has great powers of magic; she can foretell the future of gods and man. In many early religions, states Davidson,  mother earth often ‘appears as the wife of the supreme sun god’ (110). However, clear proof of the worship of the Earth Mother in Scandinavia is hard to find. The only truly maternal figure in Asgard, depicted in the Prose Edda, is that of Frigg.

In the Poetic Edda poem, Oddrúnargrátr (Odin’s Lament) she is sited as the goddess to be invoked during childbirth, and similarly  in the Völsunga as connected to motherhood as she asks Odin to grant permission for a couple to have children (Ellis Davidson ((131-132). In North-Western Europe the figure of Frigg has had a huge influence  with certain groups throughout the centuries and ‘their ability to determine the destiny of the{ir} new-born child[ren]’ (132) . 

May hallowed wightsbring help to thee,
Frigg and Freya……and favouring gods,
as oft thou warded…..evil from me
(and hastened hitherhelp to bring me)

(Hollander: 280, The Poetic Edda, Oddrúnargrátr )

Frigg figures consistently in the poetry of the Poetic Edda.  Her role as queen cannot be underestimated but she is often overpowered in the Eddas by the depiction of Freya (from the Vanir gods).

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Thor

Thor

.Thor:

 Thor is the son of  Odin and Jord (Earth), Living in a huge mansion with his wife Sif  Thor, the thunder god, possessed three great treasures: the hammer Mjollnir which could destroy giants and shatter rocks, a belt of power which gave him strength,  and iron gloves to allow him to grip his hammer.

Thor is the enemy of giants. There is the story of how he killed the mighty giant Geirröd by hurling back  a mighty lump of melting iron at the giant. 

You can find the Lay of Thor/Thorsdrapa here: http://www.stavacademy.co.uk/mimir/thorsdrapa.htm

Despite his antagonism towards giants he nevertheless had two children  by the giantess Jarnsaxa. Járnsaxa is also the name of one of the Nine Mothers of Heimdallr. who were nine sisters who gave birth to the god Heimdallr who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn. The poem The Lay of Hyndla within The Poetic Edda contains the story of Heimdallr. Called The Song of Hyndla, in the Caolyne Larrington translation of The Poetic Edda. 

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Freya awakes Hyndla

Freya awakes Hyndla

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Thor was associated with the elements. He champions the Aesir and defends Asgard The cult surrounding him has had a long history in western europe. He kills with direction (unlike Odin and Loki). He kills with bolders and force. He is the god that travellers call to before setting out on journeys. Thor, it is said, can be trusted as:

‘Thor had done many great works, and had split rocks and shattered cliffs, while Odin gave men victory’ (Tryggvason, Olaf’s Saga cited in Ellis Davidson: 74).

Thor was the most popular god with 25% of the population in Iceland having his name as part their name. Iceland’s annual assembly opens on Thursday, his day.  Thor is a god who although reigned omnipotently is associated with equality across all walks of life from craftsperson to aristocrat. (Allan: 51).

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Thor's Hammer

Thor’s Hammer

 

.Loki:

Was the child of giants and lived in Asgard, and is known for his mischievousness and trickery. He gained entry into Asgard by befriending Odin. Odin and Loki were blood brothers. Snori Sturlson (the writer of the Prose Edda) calls Loki ‘the slander bearer of the Aesir, the promoter of deceipt’ (Allan: 54) .  He ‘ was the cause of many things’ (Sturluson: 69). Loki was also known for his ability to change shape and sex.

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Loki 2

 

The stories around Loki usually consist of him getting some sort of punishment. For instance, nearly having his lips sewn up as punishment for a lost bet. It is a fitting comeuppance for a smooth talker (54). However, he has also saved Asgard- when a giant demanded that he should have the sun, the moon and Freya in payment for building a wall around Asgard (54).  He saved the day by confusing the giant by turning himself into a stallion to distract the mare of the ogre. Loki has two sides. 

From the pairing of Loki and the mare came Sleipnir,  an 8-legged horse. Loki’s children all had dark undertones. This showed in his other child with giantess Angrboða with whom he begat Hel, Queen of the Dead.  Loki also played a key role in Ragnorak (the doom of the gods).

An excerpt from the Edda poem  Völuspá (which contains the story of Ragnorak) can be found here. See video of a reading of the poem below. 

 

Themes and Relevance, Questions:

Power and its consequences. The questioning of leadership: Asgard is the seat of power, leadership, craft and justice. The qualites of its primary gods and godesses speak to that. The strength of Odin and Thor through to shapeshifter Loki represent a spectrum of qualities both good and bad, both mutable and fixed. It is interesting to think about the dynamics of force and freedom in relation to this.

The questioning of Knowledge/ Wisdom: Asgard has the root of Wisdom from the Yggsdaril tree running right through its centre, signalling its status as the focus of Wisdom. But often the actual behaviour of the gods does not seem to reflect this. What does this say about knowledge? 

The Force of Creation and Mutability: Frigg, one of the few female godesses in Asgard seems to symbolically be there to juxtapose against the male gods’ acts of power. As a symbol of fertility and growth, she represents the other side of the coin. Different forces of creation and destruction rest side by side in Asgard. Loki also represents this through his shapeshifting.

 

Things of Interest:

On the Poetic Form of Norse Sagas: Alliteration, Kenning

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Norse_poetry

http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/meters.shtml

BBC The Viking Sagas

British Museum:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/cultures/europe/vikings.aspx

BBC Schools Radio, Thor and the Giants

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio/subjects/english/viking_sagas/episodes/part_4

Voluspa Part 1/2:

Voluspa Part 2/2:

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Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

If you wish you can use the following poetic form for your poem:

The Brisbane Sonnet:  consists of two sestets and a couplet. The original sestet was based on the Hymnal Octave form which has a rhyme scheme of a.b.c.b.a.b.c.b. Two of the b lines are removed and leave a rhyme scheme of a.b.c.a.b.c. by adding another similar sestet d.e.f.d.e.f. and a couplet, g.g., this sonnet form was born.

For more information see: http://goo.gl/9dLg2l

Writing Word Prompts:  Shapeshifter, Twisting, Birth, Flotsom, Smashing, Discipline, Endearment, Quest

To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Asgard realm is Thursday 6th November.

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 Thanks so much for your interest.

References

 Allan, T (202) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturlson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

 

 

The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #2

25 Jun
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Image by Nat Hall

 

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Year 9: Norse Sagas

Featuring

Reanna and Harriet

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Our Year 9 pupils have studied the craft of story-telling, and what better way to learn than by reading the Norse sagas, with their epic storylines and memorable characters? We gave them a brief to create their own variations on the Norse saga, drawing upon the old tales for inspiration, but taking them into new territory. Everyone in the English teaching team was impressed by the boldness and skill of the stories our young pupils wrote. Here is [ part 1 of ] a small selection. I hope you enjoy them. Our thanks go to Nicky for giving Millfield pupils such an exciting platform for their creative writing!

James Baddock

Head of English, Drama & Media
Millfield, Somerset, UK

ArtiPeeps is thrilled to be having Millfield school working in tangent with one of our projects (The Nine Realms), and to see their talented, creative pupils on our site once again. It just goes to show how inspiring the Icelandic sagas still are and how alive the art of story-telling still is! For the next three weeks we will be posting out 5 short stories from 5 of their very creative pupils. Watch out for another two stories next week.

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Vikings

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Viking Saga

by Harriet

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WANTED : STRONG MEN, ANY AGE. That’s what the sign said. I wanted to go but that decision now just filled me with regret. Why would I leave? All I wanted was for my family and friends to think that I was brave, but the truth is; I am just a coward. Killing people isn’t brave it’s cruel. How could I let myself be so cruel?

I shook violently. I had the visions again. It had been four days since our ship arrived back in the village of Shlaahra. Shlaahra was a beautiful village off the west coast of Scandinavia, Shlaahra was small but it had enough to provide any person with the essential equipment that they would need to survive. Massive trees sheltered the whole village and the crystal clear lake stretched out until it stroked the feet of the mountains on the horizon. My face had been slit open and I had lost a lot of blood but I was recovering slowly but well. I had grown up in the village of Shlaahra and spent all my time here as a child, never really wanting to leave, until I was about the age of seventeen. Leaving the village no longer sounded scary. It no longer felt dangerous. I would be fine. Oh how very wrong I was. I remember the day that those huge men who wore furry boots up to their knees and long flowing capes that were decorated in purple and gold. They came to our village looking for warriors. I felt an urge in my stomach telling me to go. These men that had come to our village were brave nothing could scare them. Every single one of these men had a strange look in their eyes I couldn’t work out what is was an first I thought it was just bravery but only now I have realised that it was something more, they had pain buried deep under their stern faces. I know this now because I feel the same pain, the pain of regret.

I had been stuck in my bed whilst the rest of my comrades had been out celebrating the success of the raid and the new land that they had conquered. If I said it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t able to celebrate I would be lying but the guilt was still eating from the inside out. I sighed and looked up at the ceiling the beams of wood that had always held my house tall and strong somehow looked weaker. The gash across my face burned as I applied one of the herbal remedies the doctor had made me. I touched the opening on the left side of my face it started just below my hairline and finished on my collarbone. I got up slowly and struggled over to the door. My hand wrapped around the door frame and I watched the little children playing in the grass, remembering when that was all I wanted to do all day. The visions of the children faded away and a breathe of fresh air tickled my spine, my eyes had been taken over by the memories that I so wanted to forget.

I was back on the boat. We were sailing towards the village that we planed to raid and conquer. The sea spat on my face and the wind danced with my hair. I asked myself “is it bad to be excited?” I looked up a grey blanket of cloud filled the sky. Fog engulfed any light that tried to be seen. Nobody made a noise. Sea birds flew alongside the boat screaming and screeching. The man sat behind me whispered to the man sat next him. “we’re close”. My heart started to beat faster and louder. The skeleton of a tree emerged from the fog.

I started to shake uncontrollably. I blinked hard and fast. The sight of the children playing came back into focus. I was now sat in the doorway breathing heavily I didn’t want to remember what happened next but I couldn’t control the thoughts from crawling back into my head.

I was now running up the beach, seawater splashed up my back. The adrenalin flowed through every inch of my body. My heart was pumping so fast I could hear the blood flowing through my ears. As we got closer to the village I heard screams and yelling. I smelt something burning and smoke filled the air. The men that had run ahead of me were burning down the houses of the locals. At this point I knew I should have run. I should have hidden, but I didn’t, I kept going. A man charged towards me with a sword. For a moment I was completely stunned, the man flung his sword towards my stomach. I dodged it. The man slit my face. The axe that I was holding in my right hand swung around, I hit the man in the side…not once…not twice…but three times. His blue eyes stared at me as he fell to the ground. I left him lying there dead with his long brown hair swamped in blood.

I started to tremble. This was the memory I wanted to hold back. My eyes started to fill up with water and I shut them tight. The images of that man that I killed so barbarically will never leave my mind. My memories with forever taunt me.

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Fire

 

Saga

by Reanna

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She came to us in our time of need, the Phoenix of the gods, Thyra. She was a great sorceress, she stood at six feet tall, with scarlet hair and piercing yellow eyes, said to be so bright she burned what she stared at. She wore a maroon elk’s skin, which she was given by the her grandmother on her death bed. She had the wrist bands of Thor, protecting her from any blows, stronger than the strongest shield, with a shirt formed with the hair of Sköll. She was adorned in a flowing grey Cape, and wore the armour of Freya, with the cunning of Loki, and the courage of Odin himself. She was so strong she created flames hotter than the sun, but this was not all the time.

She lived in this very village, a young girl, who hid a secret. She was said to be fuelled by the underworld, creating fire out of nothing, a pyromancer. She helped those she could, fuelling fires for the people of our village, warming the homeless and poor, she was highly thought of by the Chief of our village. He presented her with the Phoenix gem, a perfect kite-shaped jewel said to have been chiseled by Asgard’s finest craftsmen, and given a blessing by Nótt. The chief told Thyra that only the purest may control the raging flame. She never took that necklace off, and it served her better than any other.

She also was given Thrain that day, her beloved horse. Her father said he was the descendent of Hrímfaxi, the horse of Nótt, the night, who pulled his chariot across the sky, and gave us the peace to rest. He was a small horse, only 15.2 hands, but he was brave. He was a shining dark bay, with a luminous white sock on his left hind leg, and a bright white star on his forehead. He had a jump that could take you to the stars, and a spirit so strong he would never back down; he would face the mightiest of beasts and refuse to retreat. He never left Thyra’s side, and he was her closest friend.

In the darkness of Hrímfaxi’s sky, Thyra was out riding on Thrain, using the old leather bridle her father had made for her, and an old saddle that she made herself out of an elk’s hide. She was with the daughter of the chief, Astrid, a young girl of 10 years old, who had beautiful golden hair, with a black coat on over her white shirt, and brown, tight pants that she always wore, despite her father’s hatred of them, and her little iron grey pony, Carr.

They were slinking between the trees, Thrain’s coat glittering in the moonlight, Carr marching proudly at his side, his little brown eyes twinkling with what was normally mischievous intentions. The soft wind brushed through Thyra’s silky hair, her bright eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. Astrid was chatting away, as she always did, and Thrain was listening, as he always did on these little adventures. The Great Grey Owls were hooting, and the bee-eaters were hopping from branch to branch, disturbing the trees around the four explorers, as Astrid liked to refer to their little convoy. 

But this night was different. There was a shriek, and a strong wind followed. Carr jumped at this, but Thrain stood strong, and blew at the direction of the sound. Astrid whispered to Carr, trying to calm him down. Thyra moved Thrain between Astrid and the direction of the sound. She dismounted, leaving Thrain to stand with the diffident pony, and walked towards the sound’s origin. She summoned a bright flame to her palm, which flickered as she sneaked through the bushes.

Thyra approached a clearing. Glowing ashes were floating around her, their dying light illuminated her pale face. There were five great oak trees fallen around her, charred. She ran her hand down one, lifting some of the ashes into the air. There were dark scorch marks in the ground, but they did not seem of fire, but lightning. Suddenly, there was a snap of a twig behind her. She turned, her palm ablaze with a large blue flame, which was roaring as she stopped. What she found was a rather pleased looking Thrain, accompanied by Astrid and the little Carr, who had obviously been munching on a near by bush, as he had leaves poking out the sides of his little mouth.

Astrid had now dismounted, and was inspecting one of the trees lying on the ground, while Thrain and Carr were poking each other with sticks they found, and seemed to be having a good time. Thyra was looking to the sky, hoping for a sign of the creature that caused this destruction. She was soon graced with an answer, as Ara, the Banshee Knight leaped from the cover of the trees beyond the clearing.

 It screeched as it pinned Thyra to the ground, producing a blackened purple blade from its sheath on the creature’s belt. Its eyes glowed a deep violet, its rotten, yellow teeth dripped corrosive pearls of venomous spit from a sepulchral, grotto of a mouth. Astrid gave a scram and ran behind one of the standing trees, and Carr followed. The monstrosity clicked as it formed an electric charge in its hand, making it turn a luminous purple. Thrain has begun to gallop over from where he and Carr had been standing. He angled his head so that the stick he was carrying was driven straight into the Banshee’s side. It wailed in pain as the makeshift pike impaled its exposed chest, and shrieked as the gelding placed its weight onto the fiend’s torso. There was a large crack, followed by a blood-curling scream from the banshee, and Thrain stepped back off the squirming monstrosity that now lay before him.

Thyra stepped on the creature’s wrist to remove the sword from it, and threatened it with a dancing red flame in the palm of her hand, the Phoenix gem glowed on her neck, making her eyes seem to flow with a look of inclination. Her wrist bands were coated with the beast’s drool, and the light of the flame made then twinkle like the stars above them. Thyra ended the monster’s suffering, with a swift downward blow to the head from its own blade. The creature squealed for a moment, but then lay still as the blade passed through the back of its skull.

The creature disintegrated into dust, only leaving its foul armour, which Thyra had no use for, but amongst it was a shimmering white gem, which piqued her interest. She removed it from the centre of the pile, and set the rest alight. She attempted to examine it in the moonlight, but Thrain had taken quite an interest in it also, and tried to eat it whenever she lifted it to view. Astrid was hitting a tree with her sword, with Carr standing behind her poking her with the stick he had been playing with earlier. They mounted and left the forest for the town, using the stars to guide them home.

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More creativity from Millfield:  

You can find some other poetry and writing from Millfield pupils here and here (their Freshly Pressed ‘Sense of Place Poetry’ 1 & 2) and their ‘QUEST short story openings‘ here.

One more saga coming from Millfield next week!

Thank you for your interest.

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The Art of Storytelling: Norse Sagas from Millfield School Pupils #1

16 Jun
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Image by Nat Hall

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Year 9: Norse Sagas

Featuring

Olivia and Natasha

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Our Year 9 pupils have studied the craft of story-telling, and what better way to learn than by reading the Norse sagas, with their epic storylines and memorable characters? We gave them a brief to create their own variations on the Norse saga, drawing upon the old tales for inspiration, but taking them into new territory. Everyone in the English teaching team was impressed by the boldness and skill of the stories our young pupils wrote. Here is [ part 1 of ] a small selection. I hope you enjoy them. Our thanks go to Nicky for giving Millfield pupils such an exciting platform for their creative writing!

James Baddock

Head of English, Drama & Media
Millfield, Somerset, UK

ArtiPeeps is thrilled to be having Millfield school working in tangent with one of our projects (The Nine Realms), and to see their talented, creative pupils on our site once again. It just goes to show how inspiring the Icelandic sagas still are and how alive the art of story-telling still is! For the next three weeks we will be posting out 5 short stories from 5 of their very creative pupils. Watch out for another two stories next week.

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Processed_SAM_loki

Loki

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English Saga

by Olivia

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The towering pillars and castle turrets sparkled in the dazzling sunlight. It was yet another beautiful day in Asgard, as you would expect for a land of the Gods. Loki sat rested against the trunk of a flowering tree, ripping up chunks of grass in a restless manner. Desperate to create some havoc (after all, he was the God of mischief) he racked his brains for ideas.

It was surprisingly quiet for such a lovely day; the courtyards and gardens lay untouched. That is, until the sound clip clopping sound of heels in the distance grew ever louder, until Lilija and her heels made it to the courtyard. Her ankle length silk gown swooshed past Loki as she paraded through the garden, providing him with a gentle breeze – much appreciated in the stifling heat. This was the most action Loki has seen all day, and he was growing increasingly restless and deprived of mischief. Frustrated, he turned back to what was left of the churned up grass beneath him. Until… Lightbulb! His face lit up; he knew what he was going to do.

Her glossy golden locks flicked back over her shoulder in the gentle wind as she made her way across the bridge from Asgard to Midgard, the land of the mortals. Although days as beautiful as this one were not rare, Lilija never grew tired of them and would never miss the opportunity to stroll though the beautiful forests of Midgard. Dappled sunlight fell upon her delicate shoulders through the canopy of trees above, and a soft breeze brushed against her skin. Usually she loved the escape from Asgard, and the opportunity to have her own space and be alone with her thoughts… but was she alone?

The brilliant sun dipped behind a large white-grey cloud and suddenly the woods became eerily dim, and a sudden chill fell over her like a blanket. Papery leaves rustled in the bushes and scraped past her ankles. Bewildered and unsure of what was going on, she became self conscious – she was not used to being out, alone in the woods when it was grey. Her mind sprung into overdrive, overthinking every danger gaining inspiration from every insecurity of the young goddess (there was many to choose from as she had such a comfortable life). Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Lilija did.

Loki perched on a branch in the form of a crow, watching over Lilija. It was not long until Lilija would tire and fall straight into his prank.

Lilija began to relax once she found her way out of the dense forest, and made her way towards a large flat rock to sit and rest her legs. It was cleansing for her to sit and watch the perfect nature that wasn’t artificially beautiful like everything where she was from. Although relaxing, the sun was hot and had been beating down on her for several hours now, and she was parched. Loki knew that Lilija would not be prepared for this – she never was – and this is where his plan came in.

To Lilija’s delight, she spotted a glass of water (or so she thought) glistening in a shady spot under the edge of another rock. Maybe if she wasn’t so desperate, or had the common sense to check whether it was water and not some foreign clear potion made by Loki, then what happened next would not have taken place.

Feeling rather pleased with herself, Lilija lay back on the rock to soak up some more rays before making her way back – or at least, she tried to. Something was stopping her! Bewildered, she turned around to investigate, and to her horror she found an oily, curly green tail sprouted from her coccyx! Her eyes shot back to her hands, which had now become dry, wrinkled and that same off dark green colour yellow/white claws had replaced her manicured nails. She felt her dress become increasingly tighter until a boil covered, bloated pot belly burst through the seams of her tailored silk dress. Lilija had never been so horrified in her life! Meanwhile Loki sat watching the whole thin, screeching with side splitting laughter; his potion had worked, he’d turned the princess into her worst enemy, a goblin!

Distraught, Lilija fled back through the forest to the bridge, so she could burst through the gates to Asgard and make it to her quarters before anyone could see her. However, the gates were guarded at all times by Horatio, guardian of the golden gates. Inevitably, she was stopped at the gates, and told to leave or face fatal consequences. As much as she begged and pleaded, Horatio was having none of it – understandably, he thought this ‘goblin’ was crazy. Distraught and in despair, Lilija fled from the bridge. What was she going to do now?

Loki couldn’t help but feel dreadful for causing the goddess such a hard time; he only wanted a bit of fun. He felt it was his duty to fix what he had started. Just as he had done earlier that morning he began to concoct a potion that would hopefully reverse the effects of the previous potion. Meanwhile Lilija was slumped, sobbing at the foot of a tree.

Several minutes passed before Loki’s potion was finally finished and sealed it in a small flask with the label ‘drink me’. Loki, still disguised as a crow, flew over Lilija and dropped the concoction into her lap. Confused, Lilija picked up and inspected the flask. Drink me? She has enough sense to ponder drinking this unknown liquid, but she was so distraught and in such a bad place mentally that she would rather die than live the rest of her life a goblin. Relived, Loki perched nearby to watch the potion kick in.

Lilija tossed the flask on the floor and held her head in her hands, staring down at her ugly feet. only they weren’t ugly anymore! Her manicured toenails and slim ankles looked identical to how they had when they left the castle that morning! Looking down, she noticed more and more of her was her own body! Immediately she ran over to the water, and stared back at her reflection. Beside herself with joy and relief, she ran to the gates before anything else could happen to her!

She flopped onto her plush queen size bed and sighed. It had been a long day, and certainly a walk she’d never forget.

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The Giant Skymir

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The Land of the Ice Giants

by Natasha

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Complete devastation. The war was done and lost. Any memory of a life before had long since been abandoned. You could still smell the dead in the air and the lingering of sadness dangled from the surrounding icicles. The snow was stained a vermilion red, decorated with bloody limbs and weapons retired from battle. It was harder than I imagined it to be. To return and see the utter desolation. The once alive mountains stood silently, mourning as they were forced to witness the slaughter and were able to do nothing about it. I wandered aimlessly for a while, reminiscing in the part I played that destroyed this once tranquil place. It was then the memories came flooding in…

My bloody sword hung limply from my quivering grasp. All determination had deserted me, but I knew deep down that I couldn’t give up now. The beast towered over me, I could feel his warm breath brushing against my sweaty skin. I swung my sword with all the strength that remained but I unanticipated the distance. The beast saw my fault and pounced while I was off-guard.

Suddenly I stopped myself, I didn’t want to remember. Maybe coming back here was a bad idea after all? I looked up at the sky. As a child I was told stories about the wonder and beauty of this place. How in the morning the sky would turn a pinky-orange colour and how gradually throughout the day it would transition into a deep purple. People travelled from all parts of the country to gaze up at those skies. Now as I look up all I see is black. Enormous black clouds, bulging with rage. What has become of this place?

The beast leaped on me with such force it knocked all of the air out of my lungs. My head hit the ice with such intensity that I feared I wouldn’t be able to get back up again. My eyes glazed over, a mixture of fear and fury. The beast pressed my sword against my gulping throat. I couldn’t fight it, I wasn’t strong enough…

I immediately stopped myself because I knew the worst was to come. A shudder of fear engulfed me as the memories replayed themselves, still as vivid as ever. To my horror my eyes fell upon a terrifyingly familiar sight. The gem still shone bright, even after all these months. The ruby stone was so large I could vaguely see my panicstricken face in the reflection. Slowly, I crouched down and clasped it in my hands. I am forced to remember.

The end was about to come. I knew it and didn’t have anything left in me to fight it. The beasts grin was repulsive, his eyes narrowed as he relished in my suffering. I had lost all hope. Suddenly the beasts expression altered dramatically. He roared in agony and turned his ugly head to peer behind him. Surprised, I tilted my head to see the disturbance. An emptiness filled my stomach. A fear worse than death consumed me. Gilleous stood behind me, sword at the ready, his arm dripping from a fatal wound.

A tender feeling came across me as the potent memories cut deeper into the already aching feeling in my gut. Never had I felt so much pain. I couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell to my knees. Hoping the Gods would rescue me from this
inescapable grief…

Gilleous looked deep into my eyes then swung his sword across the beasts chest. The beast howled in agony and retaliated by hurling his axe at Gilleous. However, he narrowly missed his left shoulder. Seizing the opportunity Gilleous plunged his sword into the beasts chest. The beast screamed with rage and fell to the floor. Gilleous stumbled over to me, holding out his hand to help me stand. I laughed with relief. Everything was going to be alright. Immediately I regretted that thought. Gilleous’s comforting smile was suddenly replaced with a shocked, pained
expression. He dropped to the ground and to my horror I saw an axe, encrusted into his back. I saw the despair in his eyes as his body crumpled into a heap on the ground. The beast was lying on his back, bleeding profusely, grinning hysterically. Satisfied with his final kill.

I just wanted to die. The pain was so unbearable. I hadn’t cried like this since the day of his death. It seemed that I had been building up all this emotion deep inside of me. The drought was the worst part of grieving, now it seemed I was drowning in my own tears. I clasped the gem in my trembling hands. At least I would have something to take back to his family. Suddenly a strange feeling came across me. I could breath. Amongst all the sadness I found a glimpse of comfort just in the memory of Gilleous. Although I missed him with every bone in my body, deep down I knew that he died protecting me. I had to honour his memory. That’s what he would have wanted after all. I took one final look at the miserable battle scene and mounted my horse. I stroked her blonde mane affectionately, I remembered the day
Gilleous brought her for me. I could barely sit properly the first time I rode her, but over time Gilleous taught me. He was always the best teacher. I was soon the finest rider in our kingdom. Yes, I said to myself aloud. That’s how I would remember Gilleous. As the man who nurtured me, helped me mature and grow as an individual. The greatest man who ever lived.

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You can find some more poetry and writing from Millfield pupils here and here (their Freshly Pressed’ Sense of Place’ poetry) and their QUEST short story openings here. More sagas coming from Millfield pupils next week!

Thank you for your interest.

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The Nine Realms Campaign Conclusion/ Project Update #5

1 Jun

nine realms8

19 poets, 23 artists, 3 musicians and a Viking boat!

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Vikings Ahoy!

Campaign Conclusion and Update

I am delighted to say that our Indiegogo Campaign was a complete success and on the 19th May we met our goal of  £1, 111….and a bit more reaching £1288!  There was a final push and an epic collective effort and we got there!!!  MANY thanks to everyone who backed us and supported us. Here is the last backer’s  wordle, which will be made into  a 1 x 1 metre plaque to be publicly displayed within ‘The Gallery’ in Hanse House in September.

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Final Realm Cloud

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 In relation to following up on the rewards,  I am presently contacting all the backers, and by the end of June all the Viking creatives who are helping create the rewards will have all the backer requirements.  

#9realms Competitions Update

We will shortly be announcing the results of the micro poetry competition run by Jim C. Mackintosh. As soon as he has made a decision I will post out the Winner and the favourites.

Overall, the competitions were a great success and I am thrilled at how all the Norse material inspired everyone. Thank you for participating in ArtiPeeps’ first go at competitions. 

‘Live from the Workshop’: The Last Photos. 

As a record, here are the pictures that Mark left us with on the 3oth day of our campaign. I heard from him the day before yesterday and our boat is now all but finished, and the initials are going on! He is intending to send pictures so I’ll post them as soon as I have them! 

Day 30: 

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Other News:

Cambridge Festival of Ideas

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The Nine Realms & The Festival Of Ideas

I’m excited to announce that extra to the events at Hanse House and The Millennium Library in Norwich there will also be a little off-shoot Nine Realms event at The Festival of Ideas in Cambridge. Caitlin Ellis, our lovely Norse Expert from Gonville an Caius and the Department of Anglo Saxon and Norse Studies are going to be our hosts. About 13 of us will be there from across all the disciplines within the project and we hope to give them a taster of The Nine Realms poetry, art and music. There will also be a hosted Q&A session with the poets, artists and musicians where we will discuss the challenges (both positive and negative) of engaging with the subject matter of the Norse Sagas and The Prose and Poetic Eddas. We will also be having a session of ‘lets play’ with our Minecraft World and hopefully getting people involved in some reading of poetry.

We’re excited to take our project to new audiences. It’s a real opportunity. 

Here’s the link to the 2014 festival.

Future Radio First Take Editing Session:

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Future Studios

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Earlier last week at Future Radio we had the first editing session of the experience poetry with the sound technician.  We did a ‘first take’ edit of the Asgard and Vanaheim poetry and music. Putting the poetry and music from musician Simon Fox together was a match made in heaven! It was as if Simon had heard the poetry before. It was a moving experience to start to piece it all together. Next week we have another double session booked where we will continue the process and hopefully finish editing the other realms.

Please find below the two pieces Simon composed for Asgard. The Asgard  and Vanaheim. The Asgard artwork is by Deborah Sheehy and the Vanaheim artwork by Heather Burns.

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When I have a proper laid down track of a realm I’ll post it out. Watch this space….

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All the Realm Artwork: 

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The Nine Realms Soundcloud Playlist with all the poetry thus far:

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I shall be posting out the last 9th-realm-Alfheim-overview on  Monday 8th June. We seem to have galloped through the realms. Each of the realm overviews contains writer’s prompts these are not just for Viking participants. If you would like to get creating using the prompts by all means do. We could put your work out as a FreeSpace.  Do get in contact if this idea appeals. 

 

As ever, thank you for your interest.

Nicky

 

The Nine Realms Campaign and Project Update #3

8 May

nine realms8

19 poets, 23 artists, 3 musicians and a Viking boat!

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Vikings Ahoy!

Campaign Update

The latest news is that we are now 75% funded, with 31 backers and £920 of our £1222 goal.  All those involved in The Nine Realms are working hard together so that we can meet the commissioning costs of Mark’s boat. Thank you to everyone. It’s a real collective endeavour. 

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 #9realms Competitions Update

The kennings micropoetry competition and picture arts title competition closed earlier this week.  They were a great success.  Many congratulations goes to winners (@Alayanabeth) and  (@Sonja_Seear). Many thanks, indeed goes to everyone who took the time to submit an entry. You can find a list of the competition favourites on the Competitions page. A big thank you to Kate and Jamie for running them. Jim’s Norse-themed poetry competition is running across the next two weekends and Shirley’s competition is ongoing across this week.

Here are further details if you’d like to submit.

 

The Nine Realms Event Poem Selection (Up Until Helheim)

The Poetry for the The Nine Realms project up until the realm Helheim has now been chosen.  All the realm poets have been brilliant and the quality consistently there. Thank you Viking poets!!  I am also aware that the Norse Sagas are complex and very different from the material in last year’s project Transformations: lots to delve into in a different way from Ovid.  

Selection was also quite a tricky task because we had to bear in mind the educational element and the work with schools that is beginning to drive our large-scale projects. Here is the list of poems.

NB. There could be some changing around as we have to consult with Caitlin Ellis (our Norse expert). Poets coming will have the opportunity to read other poems from other realms at the poetry reading in Norwich.

 Asgard:

Asgard by Jim C. Mackintosh
Yggdrasil Groans by Shirley Golden
Northern Lights by Karin Heyer
Two Children by Rob De Born
Asgard by Tom Murphy

Vanaheim:

The Name Of…by Lenka Monk
Freyja by James Knight
The Throats of Giants by Rebecca Audra Smith
Mjolnir by Richard Biddle

Jotunheim:

Traditional Enemies by Lydia Allison
Killing Ymir by Greg Mackie
Legend by Nat Hall
Ymir by James Knight

Nidavellir:

The Mock of Alvis by Jim Mackintosh
Paste Nuptial by Eleanor Perry
Little They Know by Mina Polen
Fenrir by Kate Garrett

Nifelheim:

If All they Should Weep by Joanna Lee
Don’t Follow Me by Mina Polen
Nifelheim by John Mansell
Send Me To Hel by Ross Beattie 

Helheim:

Mist by Lydia Allison
Strata and Strata of Faults Through Time by Shirley Golden
The Sybil’s Lyric by Joanna Lee
My Helheim by Ross Beattie 
All Angels Go to Hel by Lenka Monk.

 

Live from the Workshop: the latest videos

Day 16: 

‘Making a flat surface for our figurehead today, shaving off the thinnest slivers so the wood sits flush. Long painstaking stuff…..’

Day 17: Drilling!


‘Far more satisfying than a black and decker!’

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Day 19: Carving the Figurehead: 

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Media Coverage:

We had some great media coverage in the King’s Lynn News last Friday with an article entitled ‘The Vikings are Coming’. It outlined our Indiegogo Campaign and our plans for The Nine Realms event in September, and the two workshops we will be running for the general public.

 Here is a link to the piece, with a great picture of Mark (Crowley) doing what he does best! http://goo.gl/3cHpJN

Mark Crowley 1

Mark Crowley 1

markcrowley.moonfruit.com

 

I also had a really great interview with Amber Love a writer and podcaster on her site amberunmasked.com where she hosts interesting talks with creatives that blend artistic, literary, graphic art and mental health issues. We had a good talk about The Nine Realms and the role creativity plays in ongoing  recovery from mental health challenges. It was really lovely to talk to Amber and the hour flew by. I’m really pleased to have made this connection! Here’s the podcast, and thank you Amber for asking such good questions!

http://www.amberunmasked.com/ep1518-artipeeps/

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Wordle

Here’s the latest backers’ wordle, for Day 19 that I created by way of a thank you.  A big thank you to the 31 people who have backed us thus far. A larger version of the  wordle will be publicly displayed within ‘The Gallery’ in Hanse House throughout The Nine Realms event in September.

 

Day 19

 

Viking Rewards

There are just 3 more spaces for anyone’s initials on our Viking boat. It’s a really unique opportunity to become part of a bespoke sculpture and a collaborative experience. 

There are some other great Viking related rewards in our campaign:

  • Get a 3 pack of realm poetry-art cards
  • Commission a Viking artist for a Norse themed painting
  • Have a Rune Poem written especially for you, or a song composed

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And more….

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

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Realm Art Thus Far: Even more  additions!

1 more paintings still to come…

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 Look out for new realm poetry next week. We’re in Muspelheim!

Here’s a bit of Jotunheim (realm of the giants) from poet Lenka Monk:

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Schools Involvement

I am also pleased to say that very shortly the pupils from Millfield School Somerset will be sending in their Norse inspired poetry and writing, which we will be posting out, and including in our event DVD and Minecraft world. It will be a pleasure to have their work on the site again. Their last work with us was Freshly Pressed here: A Sense of Place  

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Our Indiegogo Campaign is here:

http://igg.me/at/the9realms

‘Magicking the Norse World to Life’

Thank you for your interest.

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