We love your commitment, good luck with week 5
(1HR TO 2HRS)
Something new and exciting to add authentic Saxon flavour to your writing : the KENNING. We are doing this here because the KENNING works extra-well with writing about sea and ships.
(i) What’s a SIMILE? (google) It’s when you say ‘blah is LIKE blah’ – much used in poetry.
examples : he’s got a head like a ball/has hair like a bird’s nest
she smokes like a chimney/runs like the wind
(ii) What’s a METAPHOR (google : tricky this one) It’s when you say something IS something else.
examples : the cradle of civilisation (not really a ‘cradle’ but the metaphor works)
the fire of youth / the picture of health / the autumn of life
(iii) So who cares, let’s forget about them and introduce the KENNING : something described by TWO things, and the thing itself isn’t there – only the two things. Hm.
examples : the birds’-field = the sky
the ships’-way = the sea
the iron wheat = thicket of spears
the face-fungus = beard
Using these has a brilliant effect on the sound of a poem : almost a mini-riddle, and with a genuine Saxon and Skaldic ring to it.
(i) try some : do KENNINGS for a pillow (headcloud?), fork (foodcrane?), trees (earthgiants?), cactus, beer, dragon, mug, shield, knitting. Look round you and use things you can see from where you are.
Now use some KENNINGS for a small ship/sea poem.
(i) choose a sea-going vessel (steamer, yacht, galleon, quinquereme, tugboat, longship, junk)
(ii) choose weather (hot, cold, calm, tempest, dark, bright)
(iii) choose the journey/purpose (carrying cargo, fishing, war, pleasure)
example : I’m going for KAYAK ICE/CALM FISHING
(iv) Write your small ordinary prose bit 50-100 words.
example : kayak floating on freezing water / man lets down his line (I’m alliterating already!)/ will the fish bite / clouds low overhead / icebergs in the distance / a few silent birds / creaks of ice and the plastic hull of the kayak / waiting
(v) Write your little poem : remember half-lines, alliteration and a KENNING. With these 3 weapons you will have all the armoury you need to write super-good Saxon poems.
floating on the freezing fishes’-field
Loopy lets down his long line
clouds cluster calm and colourless
in the birds’-way above Bergs break and crack
the kayak creaks waiting for a catch
You are now a poet, Saxon-style. This would sound good recorded/videoed. And look good drawn/painted/calligraphized.
Next week, Week 6 is a bit optional. The Christian element of Anglo-Saxon poetry isn’t liked by lots of people – but as we owe all the surviving poems to monks and copyists like them, it isn’t surprising they turned things their way as they went. So we’ll do a Saint-poem.
Remember to send any work that you would like looked at to email@example.com