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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Eye of Mímisbrunnr"

This poem came from the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by janetmiles.

Here you can see several features of traditional Norse poetry.  This poem uses heavy alliteration instead of rhyme to create a sense of the poetic.  Each line contains a caesura, or pause, in the middle.  The subject matter draws on Norse mythology about Odin, the World-Tree Yggdrasil, and the well of Mímisbrunnr.


The Eye of Mímisbrunnr


Beneath the broad beams     of Yggdrasil's bole
The well lies waiting,     its wide waters gleaming,
Where the piercing root      passes down to the primordial plane
Of Ginnungagap where      great dreams still glisten, hidden.

Only Odin the Allfather      dares to open the well
And drink deep of its      darkly glowing draught.
Even his eye as payment      is cheap for ever-flowing insight.
Odin gives it gladly,     Draupnir glinting golden on his arm.

Now the eye nestles     there, seeing all, knowing all.
The eye of a god     is a grand and glorious thing.
The well holds it     underwater, under wisdom,
Eternally watchful     as the world rolls down Wyrd's way.

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Comments
laffingkat From: laffingkat Date: February 12th, 2011 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I wasn't familiar with Mímisbrunnr, so I'm grateful for the introduction. And I like the alliteration here.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 12th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

>>Oh, I wasn't familiar with Mímisbrunnr, so I'm grateful for the introduction.<<

I remembered the story, and thought the well had a name, although I did have to look up the actual name. I like it when I can turn people on to stuff that is new to them.

>> And I like the alliteration here. <<

Thank you! I had fun with it. Alliteration is a definitive characteristic for several branches of historic poetry. It used to be what made something a poem, the way people now tend to think of rhyme defining a poem. Norse poetry was often declaimed rather than sung or spoken, so the alliteration worked very well in that context.
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