Books, mythology, Philosophy

Skalds…

*

The skaldic poets, for it is they

who are ultimately responsible for these stories,

used ‘kennings’ in their work.

*

A ‘kenning’ or ‘knowing’ is,

for want of a better expression,

a riddle, a metaphor and a mnemonic in one.

*

To ‘unpack’ the kenning, then, is to relate the story.

*

‘Kvasir’s Blood’ is a kenning for wisdom,

for reasons with which we are now familiar.

*

‘Freyja’s Tears’ is a kenning for gold, for when promised

to an unsuitable suitor in one myth

the goddess weeps tears of gold, and so on…

*

We need the context in order to understand,

or ‘crack’, the kenning.

 

2 thoughts on “Skalds…”

  1. That makes good sense, Stuart. Context is all important for understanding most everything I think. I know that I cannot always understand things without some sort of context. I am just thinking of an example. This is simple, but if we use the word “tree,” we may be talking of a tree in a forest or one in a yard or one being cut down to serve the Yuletide, or we may be speaking of a clothes tree, or the tree of life. The tree of life has a sacred context while the others do not.

    Liked by 1 person

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