A Challenge Thrown

From EastKingdomWiki

Written in Kvithuhattr by Magnús hvalmagi

The flyting is an old tradition wherein poets duel using their word-craft. It involves an exchange of boasting and insults, done to prove whose wits are the sharpest. This is the opening salvo of one such conflict.

Of dwarf-drink
I draw horn-fuls.
Oðin’s mead
I make in barrels.
Bold Kvasir’s
blood-lettings are
running free -
flooding the plain.

I drop beats
like Draupnir rings.
Foemen flee;
form relentless,
I strike strife-
stags from life-path -
my verse-form
violence slaying.

Spitting fire,
I spare no weak-
ass wordsmiths -
winning battles
with verse-shield,
a verb-hafted
spear, and mouth
of many nouns.

I stand tall
on tables flat,
kicking cups
of corpse-like ale
in foe-face,
flooding your bowl
of wheat-pap
with water of men.

I have won
wars of verses,
versus skalds
of skills renowned;
Now behold
the Har of games -
the great one
and his words’ bite.

Biting truths
tell of victory -
victims lie
with lines scattered,
scarred by harsh
hewing of verbs,
vision blurred
by blood’s falling.

Fall the skalds
skewered by wits;
witless foes
fail to return
timely blows,
blown away by
words of praise
poured not for them.

This cold blowin’
from bold rowan’s
a doom-sign
for soon-to-die
rime giants:
arrivin’ violent -
boasting rhymes -
abide the host.

Ice and snow
and Snorri’s flow,
coursing hard
in this coarse man
of iced land,
lays to waste the
wasted lines
of latest rhymes.

Hewed ‘em all
with Havamal,
slew the wyrms
with Sigurd’s words -
no foe stood
face-to-face nor
made a space
in spate of words.

Listen well
you whelps of verse;
your verb-flames
flicker and die
meeting ice -
my meter’s cold
front serves as
frigid warning:

Your weak heat
and weaker heart
pose no threat
to Thor of verse;
summer sons
sailing homeward,
hear my words:
winter is coming.

© Peter Olsen