Tag Archives: Midgard

Midgard: Survival and Destruction 3/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

24 Jun

nine realms8

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

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Midgard

(the realm of the people)

Featuring:

Nat Hall, Tom Murphy and Joanna Lee

 

Tun & Scattald

by Nat Hall

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Garth,
fae da Old Norse,
an arrangement of long houses with 
smoky stacks,
where farmers grind their
daily grain,
man’s wheel of life around
fire, sun and
seasons,
Voar-Simmer-Hairst [1]
to tame the land,
plant-grow-harvest
before black
leanness
of
winter. 
Around
this lush realm for mortals,
they build their ting [2]
and chamber 
cairns, [3]
harvest from the sea & the land –
scrutinise waves & horizon from
basalt edges of
old rocks,
share
their home with
wandering dead in between
stars & Northern lights.
On either side of
dry stone wall,
tun and scattald [4]
feel a safe 
world:
a
place to be born & to die,
raise your offspring with each harvest,
write your story on
every stone –
that perfect realm
you can call
“home”.

© Nat Hall 2015

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Notes:
[1] voar-simmer-hairst: [Shetland dialect] spring-summer-autumn
[2] ting: Viking field of parliament 
[3] chamber cairn: old funeral chamber 
[4] tun & scattald: the inner & outer side of an enclosed human settlement, traditionally with a stone wall.

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Midgard

by Tom Murphy

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ripe garden
shallow pool
wet grass
branch
root
peach
plum

sweet nectar dripping on the floor

as the straps tighten
as the moan escapes
as if uttered by someone else

into the melt
the cotton sticks to your back
soft and slubbed
under her fingers

 

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The realm of men

by Joanna Lee

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They laid the body of the firstborn
into the void of the Universe:
his flesh became land;
his blood, oceans;
his bones, mountains;
his hair, trees.

His skull they held still:
the four points
of the compass, empty.
They shook out his brains
and flung them wide to become
the cottony stuff of clouds.

Perhaps this is why
we, shaped from the dead
hewn hunks of elm and ash,
our home girded by the eyebrows
of giants, hold
such preoccupation

with our own skins.
A world encircled
by a serpent has no need
for creation myths
of temptation and flood,
no; we pluck at our bodies,

pick at imperfections,
dream of shedding
and of rainbow bridges; cut
ourselves, re-shape our-
selves, mold, curb, color, smoothe,
tug, press, hack, squeeze

out our skulls and fling
our brains over the edge
of believability, looking only
to look in the mirror
with satisfaction, looking
only to live forever.

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Find out more about Nat, Tom and Joanna here:

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com

https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Midgard: Survival and Destruction 2/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

18 Jun

nine realms8

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

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Midgard

(the realm of the people)

Featuring:

Mina Polen and Shirley Golden

 

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It is there

by Mina Polen

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Can you see it?

It is there with its days and its nights
with its darkness and its light
with its cold and its warmth
with its love and its hate
with its poison and its cure

can you see it?

right there in the middle
right there by the sea
right there being born
right there being destroyed

can you see it?

it is the place that falls
it is the place that rises
it is the place far away from the gods

can you see it?
it is right over there

it is the place
it is there
it is life
it is us.

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Duck, Cover, Hold 

by Shirley Golden

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He’s not a hero. He’s not a god.

The press form a small circle around me, and a larger one around him. He smiles and his eyes glint red and gold. Beneath our feet broken glass glistens in crystal rainbow shards, the bridge between what was and is. Buildings and pavements are crazy with zigzag cracks, hairline splits and yawns. Photographers lean into chasms to take the best shots, the ones that show the magnitude of devastation and include graffiti artwork in the backdrop. They highlight cars, taxis and trams tangled in heaps, discarded toys in the San Francisco streets.

Someone placed a blanket around my shoulders but I’m cold to the core. The medics abandon me to attend more pressing cases. Reporters open notepads and ready pens to construct the story they want to tell, a tall one about a trickster whom they’ll cast as a god.

But it started long before the rumble and shock. He appeared, as if magically birthed from another realm. He was good at talking his way into things, and better at slipping out. He secured his position with forward-thinking, technical skills and a silver tongue. He was expert at delegation and liked to shake things up. He watched us with a keen eye, but never was one of us. There were times I imagined he mocked us all. But I kept my mouth shut and did as he said. One time he told me the end of the world was near, and he shook his fists as if caught by the entrails of invisible bindings, as if they might be holding him from starting an apocalypse himself.

We were in a meeting with the boss when a cellophane sandwich wrapper started to tremor. From flutter to flurry, tremble to quake, cabinet drawers exploded and pictures pirouetted off walls.

The boss said, ‘Down! Find cover! And something to hold.’

The boss squashed under his desk. I crawled beneath the sofa and embraced radiator spines. And he writhed beneath the table and held fast to legs. Pens fired like arrows. The printer squirmed towards the edge of the desktop its progress interrupted by a mangle of wires. The plug broke loose from the wall, and its crash-landing preceded a flurry of blank page debris. The floor abandoned its horizontal certainty. And the desk was carried off by a wave of displacement; the boss sailed with it, tumbling towards a chasm.

I glanced at him. I saw only that gleam in his eyes. I shan’t say he didn’t try. I couldn’t be sure of anything, except the fury of falling apart.

Once the tremor settled, he emerged from rubble.

“The boss?” I said.

“There was nothing we could do.”

He found the best escape route. I was grateful for his instinct of slithering free.

In the aftermath, he worked tirelessly; superhuman in his quest. To the press, he spoke with just the right measure of sorrow and determination. He moved into the boss’s old office, bolted a desk to the floor. Everything slotted back into place. The city rebuilt around us, higher than ever with further to fall.

I remember his knuckled whites, gripping the table leg. How he observed us as our world fell apart. The sneer of satisfaction he thought I didn’t see. Imagined? Perhaps.

He’s no hero. He’s no god. He dwells in a place in-between. He waits for his moment. Advice? Keep low. Cover head. Cling on.

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Find out more about Mina and Shirley here:

Mina Polen

aldebaranylosnarvales.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/minafiction

 

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

 

 

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Midgard: Survival and Destruction 1/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

11 Jun

nine realms8

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

.

Midgard

(the realm of the people)

Featuring:

Ross Beattie, Eleanor Perry

and Jim C. Mackintosh

 

 

Midgard

by Ross Beattie

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I wait for your arrival at the end of it all.
Come poison all that remains. 
It has been written that life can begin again, from the two hidden in the darkness. 
I don’t want this to be true, I want there to be silence, I want this to end. 
No more reminders, no more memories. Just perfect peace, how I dreamed it would be. 
If life restarts then we will only truly be faced again with the inevitable fate, the only thing that’s ever mattered. 
Finality,
Infinite,
Silence.

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MP3 to come

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after ganglia

by Eleanor Perry

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after ganglia 2

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Terra Nullius

by Jim C. Mackintosh

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crimson red flowers, thousands
a spreading bleed of them
a hole in the rot of humanity
at odds with the bastard landscape
in which they flourish – terra nullius
the jarring sharp edged midden
of blistered tangle and rusted life
that is not death but hope abandoned
to exist in its own unravel of nothing
where to survive is to be invisible
to those who cannot be seen,
who exist and cultivate the till
of the cinder, dust and bones /
the discard of mankind too busy
to notice the struggle of the weak
shaken to their core by the rumble
of Gods and Snobs passing by
sucking the juice from the earth
preening their way to the bridge
caring not a breath for the unseen
‘nothing but rubbish, poisonous
and pointless’
to be ignored by all
the important pilgrims queued
to cross the rainbow, tossing a penny
or a scrap until the dawn of horizons
when the path quietly, softly narrows
when the invisible become the visible
and the road to the bridge
becomes the landscape
and the bridge becomes the rainbow
it’s foundations bound to the stalks
of millions of crimson red flowers
visible from all the corners
of the nine realms shining

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Find out more about Ross, Eleanor and Jim here:

Ross Beattie

blackpoemblues.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

Jim C. Mackintosh

http://jimcmackintosh.bandcamp.com

https://twitter.com/JimCMackintosh

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Realm 8: Midgard – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

6 May

nine realms8

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

Midgard

(the realm of the people)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in early May,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 7th realm Muspelheim due in on Monday 11th May ! I shall be posting out more Helheim poems this week and next week. This month we are outlining the realm of Midgard. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Friday 5th June 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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Aurgelmir: Sea from Blood, Sky from Skull (2015) by Raymond Bentley

Aurgelmir: Sea from Blood, Sky from Skull (2015) by Raymond Bentley, for The Nine Realms Project

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1. A brief Overview of Midgard

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Crossley Holland (xx-xxi), explains that Midgard is on the second level of the Norse universe’s ‘tricentric structure’. Midgard is in the middle, surrounded by a sea, which Snorri Sturluson (author of The Prose Edda, See ‘Things of Interest’ below) says ‘to cross it would strike most men impossible’.

When Ymir formed the world he allocated Midgard, the central region, to the human race. Midgard is ringed by a fence made out of Ymir’s eyebrows. Human’s did not make their home in Asgard until Midgard was formed where they created their palatial residences. One root of the The world tree, Yggdrasil, runs through Midgard. It is the place where Odin, in disguise, would go on a quest for more understanding of the world. Midgard is also the only realm that is seen to be visible, the other 8 realms move between visibility and invisibility.

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Líf and Lífthrasir by Lorenz Frølich

Líf and Lífthrasir by Lorenz Frølich

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2. Midgard Following  Ragnarök

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It is said in The Prose and Poetic Eddas that, Midgard will be destroyed at Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world. Out of this  Jörmungandr, the World Serpent, will arise from the ocean, poisoning both land and sea with his venom. He will cause the sea to rear up catastrophically against the land. The final battle will take place on the field of Vígríðr. After this battle Midgard and almost all life, will have been eradicated. The earth will sink into the sea.  The earth, however, will rise again, fertile and green when the cycle repeats and the creation begins again. 

After the cataclysmic events of Midgard it is said that a couple (Lif and Lifthrasir) will survive the destruction hidden in Hoddmimir’s Wood, a dark cavern or forest, where they survive living off dew. From their children life will engender, and offspring will be born, repopulating the earth. 

From The Lay of Vafthrudnir,45, Gylfaginning, The Prose Edda

‘In the place called Hoddmmimr’s Wood, two people will have hidden themselves from Surt’s fire. Called Lif [Life] and Leifthrasir [Life Yearner], they have morning dew for their food. From these will come so many descendents that the whole world will be inhabited. So it says here:

‘Lif and Leifthrasir

will hide themselves

in Hoddmimir’s Holt.

The morning dew

they have for food,

from them springs mankind.’

(Byock: 77-78)

You can find the whole Gylfaginning here

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Jörmungandr: World Serpent by James Mackenzie

Jörmungandr: World Serpent by James Mackenzie for The Nine Realms Project

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2. Thor and the Midgard Serpent

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Jormungandr, the world serpent, lives in the ocean surrounding Midgard. He was so long that his tail circled the entirety of the realm.  He is one of the three children of Loki. There are a number of stories attached to the serpent:

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1.  Loki’s Challenge

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Where Thor comes across the serpent in the form of a huge cat, disguised in this guise by the magic of Loki. Loki challenges Thor to lift the cat as a test of his might. However, Thor is unable to lift Jörmungandr entirely, but does manage to raise the serpent far enough that it lets go of the ground with one of its four feet.

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Thor and the Midgard Serpent

Thor and the Midgard Serpent

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2.  Thor’s Fishing Trip: Hooking Jörmungandr

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Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir. However, the giant refuses to give Thor any bait to catch the fish, so Thor cuts the head off Hymir’s ox to use as a lure.  They fish for a while, but Thor wants to go further out to sea, despite Hymir’s protestations. Once further out Thor gets a strong line on which he hooks the ox’s head. The World Serpent, örmungandr, is hooked and pulled onto their fishing boat. Thor and the serpent face each other,  Jörmungandr, dripping venom and blood. Thor grabs his hammer to kill the serpent, but Hymir cuts the line and the serpent goes free.

For more information see here

See ‘Things of Interest’ below re: The Gosforth Cross

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Máni and Sól

Máni and Sól

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4.  Mundilfari, and the Sun and the Moon

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Mundilfari is the father of Sól , goddess of the sun, and Máni, the son,  named after the moon. Mention of them can be found in The Poetic Edda in the Vafþrúðnismál stanza 23 and in The Prose Edda (chapter 11, Gylfaginning).

Sól married a man, Glenr (‘Opening in the clouds’, responsible for driving the horses across the sky), which angered Odin. Therefore the gods, in retaliation, grabbed both Sól and Máni from Mundilfari, and placed them in the sky to guide the sun and the moon and the constellations (created by the sons of Bor). The world was lit from the sparks from Muspelheim.

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Themes, Relevance and Questions

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Stasis and Visibility

It is interesting that  Midgard, the realm of the people, is seen to be the realm that is seen; maybe meant to be seen. It is the place of destruction and the place of rebirth, which to all intents and purposes could be  considered a replication of the fluctuation of all living things. It is powerful that this profound dynamic is embodied within the realm of the people. of man. As if the beginning and the end is rooted in man and how humankind overcome adversity through reformation. A Norse retelling of Eliot’s ‘the end is my beginning’ perhaps? 

Exploration Point:  What is the relationship between humans and the gods in The Prose and Poetic Eddas? What is the dynamic and how is it manifested? 

 

Things of Interest:

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1.  Snorri Struluson

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Born 1179, Hvammur, Iceland—died Sept. 22, 1241, Reykjaholt, Icelandic poet, historian, and chieftain, author of The Prose Edda and the Heimskringla.

The Heimskringla is a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with the Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history.

See more here.

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2. The Gosforth Cross

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Gosforth Cross World Serpent

 

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The Gosforth Cross is a large stone Anglo-Saxon cross in St Mary’s churchyard at Gosforth in the county of Cumbria, UK. The area was settled by Scandinavians some time in either the 9th or 10th century and was previously part of the kingdom of Northumbria. The cross itself dates to the first half of the 10th century.

For more details see here.

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3. Icelandic Alphabet

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 You can see more ‘Icelandic Lessons’ here

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 Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

Clerihew

Consists of two rhyming couplets which attempt to encapsulate the life and works of a character or famous figure.  As Vole Cental puts it:

‘Exaggeration, wilful misunderstanding, and even complete fabrication or character assassination, are permitted, and perhaps encouraged. The first line is always the person’s name. ‘

This might work well with a Norse character.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Striding, Killed, Wane, Edge, blood, licked, sky, hostility, ice, path, raised

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To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Midgard realm is Friday 5th June 2015.

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 Thank you 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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