Tag Archives: Fenrir

Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 4/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

18 Mar

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 musicians, 1 Viking boat : a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Kate Garrett,  Mina Polen, Ross Beattie and Lydia Allison

 

Fenrir

by Kate Garrett

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give me your hand
he said,
jaws dripping with doubt
eyes sidelong
as they held out the bonds
no heavier than silk strands
 
and I knew my hand
was a small offering
as they wrapped him in chains
made of lost thoughts
made of movement and breath
made of the unseen
 
and all of these slipped
past his eyes, sidelong
and his jaws clenched
and my wrist ripped apart
and I knew this was a small gift
to the beast wrapped in chains.

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Fenrir

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Little they know

by Mina Polen 

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Petrol or spark
light or lime
…………little they know

sunshine and stone
magic and knowledge
…………little they know

work work work
………….little they know

hiding in the darkness
…………little they know

coming going knowing
………….little they know

creating binding transforming
………….little they know

now you see it, now you don’t
………….little they know

about all they know
………….little they know.

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What life is this?

by Ross Beattie

To become what I am I had to chew dead flesh from cold bone.
Only then was I strong enough to deserve a reason.
Below the ground I live my life in the dark.
Craving only the gold that is hidden beneath the surface.
This realm is mine but what life is this ?

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MP3 to come

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the dwarf

by Lydia Allison

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he’s the best
to ask. so much
more than people
think. imir knew him.

made an axe.
blade sharper than
people made. cut who made it.
Sliced space.
they made mistakes.
It shined like night
the lunar glow
none of them had seen.
they fell in love.

lightening cracked the lovely weapon’s face.
tarnished white shine. the dwarf obsessed.

hating the flashing of candles
heat of flames. he waited months
felt time swell.

climbed. saw dusty light.
creaked the last steps
cracks on hands glinting
silver. still and
sun-saturated as the moon.

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 You can read the overview of Nidavellir hereand read some Jotunheim poems here

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Find out more about Kate, Mina, Ross and Lydia:

Kate Garrett

kategarrettwrites.co.uk

https://twitter.com/kate_garrett

Mina Polen

lulu.com/shop/mina-pole…

https://twitter.com/minapolen

Ross Beattie

ackpoemblues.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

Lydia Allison 

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

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Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 1/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

26 Feb

nine realms8

19 poets, 22 Artists, 3 musicians and a Viking Boat

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 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 Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Joanna Lee, John Mansell, Nat Hall

 

the secret and impalpable things of the world

by Joanna Lee

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strength has no purchase here,
in the dark places
where ribbons of the secret
and impalpable things of the world
are forged from stony,
sunless wrists
to catch a moon-
snatcher

by the heart, the chain.

he would slay the best of them,
she said, so slaver-
dripped fingers fish
for breath of cat moving,
the noise of mountain roots.
even a god will lose a hand
to feed a wolf
and bind him.

 

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Fenrir

 

 

Nidavellir

by John Mansell

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Sombre snarled in nascent clutch
the maggot-born unbound
from mire of decaying Ymir.

In sunless dwelling of slate hue wrath
Sindri’s bloodline wrought in nanistic voracity
the skilled gems and emblems of gods.

Moon-wane fields that emptied to the shuddering north.
The clout of smiths in melanic retreat,
to swirl to solid mist the aureate seal of their fame.

In red-gold sanctum magic Hreidmar wrecked in wealth
the family bonds to scream in shame his daughter’s names
as sanguine blade slept through his flesh.

Three chains that snapped, one in death,
unbridled Fafnir, serpent spawn slithered the morose realm.
His rancid pause of poison like lava.

And Regin fearful shied to shameless oblivion.
It is a dire place this home of dwarves,
this land of shade and patricide.

There had been valour here, the lofty battle flags unwrapped.
Their unfurling now a memory
of dust chastened in the quietening mines.

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Sindri

Hreidmar

Fafnir

Regin

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The Open One

by Nat Hall

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They wanted to tame prophecies,

the fen-dweller,
son of Loki,
fanged
beyond fears,
moon howler
Inside a troll’s skin;
feared by most gods,
shackled by silk
dwarves 
once
fashioned in
dark dwellings –
ribbon
woven
out of mere six impossibles:
a faint sound of feline footfall,
a woman’s beard,
a mountain’s roots,
a bear’s sinews,
breath of a fish 
and
bird’s spittle…

They say
Gleipnir, the open one,
will resist him.

© Nat Hall 2015

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Gleipnir

 

 You can read the overview of Jotunheim hereand read some Vanaheim poems here

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Find out more about Joanna, John and Nat:

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com

 https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

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Realm 4: Nidavellir – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2015

8 Jan

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

Nidavellir

(the realm of the Dwarves)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Happy New Year! Here we are at the beginning of January,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 3nd realm Jotunheim coming up: Monday 12th January. The poetry and writing inspired by the realm Vanaheim will continue to be posted out. This month we are outlining the realm of Nidavellir and the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Thursday 12th February 2015.

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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185px-Nidavellir

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1. A brief Overview of Nidavellir

 Nidavellir (Niðavellir) is the realm of the dwarves. Nida means ‘dark’ and vellir means ‘dwelling’, and  Hreidmar is the King of the realm. Dwarves are consistently mentioned in the Voluspa poem of  The Poetic Edda (see below):

Stóð fyr norðan, / á Niðavöllom / salr úr gulli / Sindra ættar

tr: ‘Before you reach the north (Niflheim being the world furthest to the north), A dark dwelling stands (The dwarf world), In halls of gold, Sindri’s bloodline lives’.

There is some confusion as to whether Nidavellir is actually  the realm of the dwarves or the dark elves. They are often confounded, and associated with the realm called Svartalfheim (world of black elves). Snorri Sturlson refers to this in The Prose Edda calling the realm Svartálfaheimr. Dark elves or black elves, were  generally conceived as being horrifying and hideous. In later storytelling traditions they became what we know as goblins. The light elves, became equated with the notion of fairies.

You can find the whole of the Voluspa here.

Dwarves are known for their wisdom, and alongside giants have a mortal fear of sunlight, as it turns them into stone. This is well highlighted in the story  The Lay of Alvis (see Story Focus, below).  As a consequence  the sun is often called  ‘Dvalin’s Delight (after Dvalin the dwarf who came to a similar end as Alvis). See Point 4 below.

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1. The Creation of Dwarves

Having created the world Odin and his brothers then created beings to live in the world. He created the dwarves first. They grew from maggots infesting Ymir’s corpse. The gods gave dwarves a consciousness and then placed them underground so they could search for gold. The dwarves lived alongside trolls who also resided underground.

The dwarves live in darkness, breed in the earth and are often depicted as miners. In stark contrast to the Light Elves who live in Alfheim. They dwell amidst the rocks and hills, and were considered great craftsmen creating gifts for the gods.

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Hreidmar, King of Nidvellir

Hreidmar, King of Nidvellir

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2. Hreidmar (Hreiðmarr)

Hreidmar is the lusty King of the dwarves who captured three gods by using unbreakable chains. He was the father of FafnirÓtr and Regin, and lived in a bejewelled house built for him by Regin. Son, Fafnir guarded the palace on the King’s behalf. The story goes that Ótr was accidentally killed by Loki.  The Aesir, in order to make amends for his death, choose to repay him with what is known as ‘Andavari’s Gold’. Andvari was a dwarf who lived underneath a waterfall and had the power to change himself into a fish. The dwarf possessed a magic wealth-making ring called Andvaranaut. Under duress Loki makes Andvari give up his ring and his gold to him. However, before he leaves Andvari curses the ring. The ring and gold are passed to Hreidmar as repayment for his loss. but out of greed, Fafnir and Regin kill Hreidmar to get the wealth and ring. Fafnir then gets even more greedy and turns himself into a dragon so that he can forcibly drive Regin away through his transformation.

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Thor Kicks Litr. illustration by Emil Doepler (ca. 1905)

Thor Kicks Litr. illustration by Emil Doepler (ca. 1905)

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3. Lit (Litr ) and the Death of Balder/Baldr:

Litr, the dwarf appears in the story of  the death of Balder/Baldr (who is the second son of Odin. He is occidentally killed by his brother (Höðr) with a magical spear made from Mistletoe created by Loki). Baldr, in the mythology,  is seen to be a paragon of graciousness and wisdom. Baldr’s death is signalled as being one of the many important stories in the sequence of events that lead to Ragnarök.  Nanna, Balder’s wife, also throws herself symbolically into his funeral pyre. At Ragnarök,  Balder will be born into the new world.

Here is the reference to dwarf Lit in The Prose Edda

Next Thor stood up and blessed the pyre with Mjolnir. A dwarf named Lit ran in front of his feet. Thor kicked the dwarf with his foot;  it landed in the fire and burned to death.

 Gylfaginning tr. by Jesse Byock (Penguin Classics, Section 49, p67).

You can also find the story of Baldr outlined in Kevin Crossley Holland’s Penguin Book of Norse Myths, under the title Balder’s Dream (p147).

Frigg then sends Hermod (Hermóðr) to  Hel  (ruler over Helheim) to try and bargain Baldr’s life back from her. Hel stimpulates that in order for Baldr to be returned all things must weep for him. Trees, animals, metal and stones  all cry for him, except a giantess called Thokk (who is said to be Loki in disguise). As Thokk does not give in, Baldr cannot return from Helheim .

You can find the text of the entire Gylfaginning here.

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4. Dvalin, and ‘Dvalin’s Delight’:

 

Dwarf Dvalin alongside his brothers Alfrigg, Berling and Grerr are responsible for the fashioning  of the golden necklace Brísingamen (belonging to Freyja) which Frigg covets hugely. The only other reference to Dvalin in The Poetic Edda is in connection to ‘Dvalin’s Delight’ (see realm overview 1) where Dvalin gets turned into stone, which is ultimately the fate of dwarf Alviss too (see below).

You can find the reference to Dvalin in the Voluspa of The Poetic Edda (see link above).

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4. Story Focus:

A. The Binding of The Wolf/Fenrir:

Fenrir is a monstrous wolf, who was brought up in Asgard. In order to protect themselves some dwarves forge a chain to hold Fenrir securely. It is made up out of  ‘the secret and impalpable things of the world’ (Ellis Davidson: 31):

  • the roots of a mountain
  • the noise of a moving cat
  • the breath of a fish.

It is delicate but is equally very strong, and Fenrir would not allow the chain to be placed on him unless a god’s hand was placed in his mouth as a ransom. Tyr, the only god who dared feed the wolf , managed to bind Fenrir with the chain. In so doing the gods were happy, but Tyr lost a hand in the process.

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B. The Lay of Alvis (Alviss):

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Alviss and Thor

Alviss and Thor

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The Alvíssmál ( a poem in The Poetic Edda)  outlines a discussion between a dwarf called Alviss (all-wise) and Thor. The conversation is relayed in a series of kennings which are features of skaldic poetry  (Things of Interest 3. see below). Dwarves were often seen to be centres of knowledge and song, and were known to occasionally pass on their wisdom to the gods.

The story goes that Alviss approaches Thor to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage, saying that Thor had agreed to this earlier. Thor denies this, but says that Alviss can have his daughter if he answers a set of questions correctly. The dwarf’s answers act as an all-encompassing list of mythological entities ranging from giants to elves:

Himinn heitir með mönnum,
en hlýrnir með goðum,
kalla vindófni vanir,
uppheim jötnar,
alfar fagraræfr,
dvergar drjúpansal.
Guðni Jónsson’s normalized text
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‘Heaven’ men call it,
‘The Height’ the gods,
The Wanes ‘The Weaver of Winds’;
Giants ‘The Up-World’,
Elves ‘The Fair-Roof’,
The dwarfs ‘The Dripping Hall’.
Henry Adam Bellows’ translation
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There are some discrepancies in relation to the naming of the various objects. However, the poet-writer of the  Alvíssmál, as Crossley Holland points out (224)does not seem to mind as he is more keen to demonstrate an aspect of poetic technique (skaldic diction) than he is about proving he is 100% correct.  So Alviss fulfils on his task, but is unfortunately turned into stone as the sun rises.

You can find the full Alvíssmál  here.

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Themes, Relevance and Questions:

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Poetic Form and Language: Many stories in connection with the dwarves seem to draw on either their status as wisdom-givers, or highlight their role as conduits of magic and transformation. However, the dwarf stories are more complex,  particularly in the case of The Lay of Alviss which interestingly, combines this emphasis on magic and play with an overt engagement with poetic form and the flexibility of language/meaning. It is maybe worth thinking about how the Sagas , and the stories therein, blend an engagement and celebration of language with the mythic and the supernatural. What does this say about language, and what does this say about power?  

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Things of Interest:

The Death of Balder:

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2.   The Children of Odin

[Norse Mythology Audiobook] Thor, Loki, Asgard, Valhalla:

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3. Skaldic Poetry and Diction:

‘Skald’ means poet, and makes reference to the poets ‘who composed at the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking Age and Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry’ (Wikipedia, see next link).

 Skaldic poems which consisted of elegies and eulogies (by contemporary poets of the time celebrating their peers) were a huge resource for the myths outlined in The Poetic Edda and other Eddas. Skaldic poetry is delicate, syllabic, alliterative and full of internal rhymes and consonance. Above all skaldic poetry is known for its  many ‘kennings, or condensed metaphors that contain part of their diction. Many of the kennings are rooted in myths with which the poem’s original audience were clearly familiar. So for instance, four of the kennings of gold are ‘Freyja’s tears’, ‘Sif’s hair’, ‘Otters ransom’ and ‘Aegir’s fire’.’ (Crossley-Holland: xxxiii). The kennings used by the poets not only make a nod to the myths that endured through the years and but also to those that had not. The kennings chosen by the poets always reflected the oral heritage that goes with them.

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Skaldic Prose Poetry Part 1.

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You can find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

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4. The Icelandic Sagas: Europe’s most important book?

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/oct/03/1

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Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

Anaphora:

Anaphora, comes from the Greek meaning up or back, and consists of lines where lines or phrases in sequence begin with the same words. A single word can be repeated or a phrase. It is often used in devotional poetry and a favourite of the Romantic poets. Sonnet No 66, by Shakespeare is an example of this (see link below). The form creates a forceful rhythm and often repeats the same sound.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Chains, Creation, Bites, Transforming, Power, Stealth, Stone

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To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Nidavellir realm is Thursday 12th February 2015.

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 Thanks so much for your interest.

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References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

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

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

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