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About Deviant Premium Member Harry WellsMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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The world was never my oyster
Nor was there a bowl of cherries.
I climbed upwards it seems to me
Inside a greasy bowl until
I almost reached the brim and slid
Down then tried again, life's like that.
The epic poem Beowulf was composed in Old English, Anglo-Saxon verse in the 8th Century but the oral material on which the written version is based dates back to the 6th Century.

It is the first story to be written down in our language but the events it describes take place in Denmark.  It  has come down to us in the only surviving manuscript which now sits in the British Museum.

Beowulf is pure legend with a simple and straightforward plot. It is the story of an aristocratic  hero , presented in a series of significant actions from his youth to his old age facing ogres and the powers of evil; mainly in opposition to the monster Grendel. Beowulf lives in a boasting, hard drinking, feasting and contentious warrior society. Much of the action takes place in the great hall Heorot, the Hall of the Stag. Out of the many characters in the poem there are only two women. The queen, Waltheow, and Grendel's mother.

I have studied a number of translations from the Old English over many years as a hobby. It struck me recently that it would be interesting to attempt to see this life from the point of view of a serving woman at the hall: life in the hall from another perspective.

To do  this I have written a poem, Helga in Heorot using the Old English verse form and with similar language structure.

Unlike modern poetry the lines have no syllable count or prescribed length.  Each line is theoretically divided into two sections though this is not evident in reading them.
The poem makes great use of alliteration but in a certain way. In many lines one or two words in the first half alliterate with at least one word in the second half but not usually with the last word. There are frequent examples of metaphor and assonance. A much liked form is the kenning. This is the use of phrases like 'widow maker' for a sword, 'wave cutter' for a ship, swans' ride for the sea. These are devices that hold together the subtle rhythm and flow of the sentences.

Here is an excerpt from the original but you will have to be aware that, like Shakespeare, it was meant to be read out loud. For perfect understanding listen to the actor, Julian Glover reciting it. The first half can be heard on YouTube but I have the full version.

So, the company of men// led a careless life
all was well //with them:
Till this one spirit, hell in his mind,// his malice began.
Grendel the fiend's name: //grim, infamous
Wasteland stalker, master //of the moor and fen fortress.

Here is a short excerpt from my poem Helga in Heorot

Helga is publicly raped in the hall across the mead bench and made pregnant. Her father is brutally cut down when he goes to seek redress. You will gather that Helga has a more cynical view of life in Heorot.

‘The boasting you have heard //the braggarts’ tales in Heorot.
How warriors wielding swords//wilfully come to blows,
Settle slights and vie //with violence and anger.
For fame’s sake,// slay friends of yesterday.
Nobles of the mead bench//making merry while
Mean churls, lesser folk//live lives of want.’

Thus declared Helga //daughter of Magan,
Iron bending smith//smiter of anvils,
Whose mighty muscles// melded white hot steel
Into swords and helms//for self-styled heroes.

But now the might//of his muscled sinews
Has waned, weakened//by age as we all must be
‘Till we are called by Him//carolling our joy
As we enter His Hall//of heavenly splendour.
In time so answered Magan//that summons divine.
Ðæt wæs g?d fæder!//He was a good father!        
So, in that earthly hall//of Heorot fame
Was Helga made //to work at menial tasks
In scullery and kitchen//and often called upon
To serve at mead bench//the maudlin men
Fuddled in their boasting//full of foolishness.
Apparently the poet Coleridge was in a drug induced dream. Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. Very annoying I think.

Do they have to come always at teatime
Or in the middle of a radio play?
When the dogs are sharp set and waiting to eat
Or I'm relaxing with slippers and pipe?
Well,we all have our person from Porlock.
Mine is,  Grrrr! The Avon Lady.
Horse Shoes by aldwarke
Horse Shoes
A display for my granddaughter's room of shoes from the ponies she rides. I had the shoes sandblasted first.
A fifth baby hedgehog has now been rescued. Named Hermione from Harry Potter. All are putting on weight on a diet of mealworms and odds and ends. Hermione as the name suggests is female. She has had to be housed separately because she attacks the males.
I learn more about hedgehog behaviour every day.

Friday 24 October
The fifth and smallest baby hedgehog is not doing too well. She was fending for herself for too long outside. Elizabeth is feeding her with a dropper and hoping to pull her round. The others are steadily putting on weight.

Sunday 26 October
Hermione, the latest baby hedgehog died last night. Others still doing well. Hermione had been out in the wild too long and must have suffered the effects of cold and malnutrition.
 Sunday 2 November.
we are now down to the original three hedgehogs that were rescued in good time. Weight is the critical factor. Like most animals they are subject to worms. Our vet doesn't know the right dosage for hedgehogs or even the right medicine. However the survivors are doing well and putting on weight.
Heathcliffe  and one other have now reached sufficient weight to hibernate. They are now in suitable boxes in Elizabeth's garage.
The man at the Hedgehog Rescue Service has had an old boy for some years. It's blind and has three legs only but still lively. Never say die, eh?


aldwarke's Profile Picture
Harry Wells
United Kingdom
Current Residence: England
Favourite genre of music: Bluegrass
MP3 player of choice: Ipod
Personal Quote: Ascertain much, assume little.



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snazzie-designz Featured By Owner 6 days ago   General Artist
Thanks so much for the favourite on the Tarot card. I very much appreciate it. :iconcheerplz:
EarthHart Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank'ee most kindly, Squire :bow: for keeping an eye on this ancient weaver of images :ahoy:
I needs it as I gets a bit wayward at times :drunk: :wave:
And blessings for the favours you's granted me work :D
They's muchly appreciated :iconwineplz:
aldwarke Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Shiver me timbers 'tis nothing.
EarthHart Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Photographer
TerraRavenBearheart Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the watch
Scarlettletters Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Professional Writer
Thanks for faving my work. I appreciate the support.
Delice1941 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
Christmas Candle by LOVEMAYU
Dear Harry, wishing you and family a happy, peaceful Christmas. Sending best wishes also for the New Year.........
hubert61 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
merci pour les favs  :)
NocturneJewel Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014
Nice new avatar! :D

As a dog lover, I thought you would enjoy these pictures...

Happy Holidays everyone by BlackPepperPhotos  Darwin by Wordup  
aldwarke Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2014
Thanks, Jewel. Glad you like the avatar and ID picture. Thanks too for the dog pictures. I love the top one with the Santa hat especially. What are you doing for Christmas?
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