From “Old English Rune Poem”

By Anonymous Anonymous

Translated By Miller Oberman Read the translator's notes

i (feoh)
Wealth is a comfort                    to every man
yet every man                              must divide it mightily
If   he wishes to have                   the measurer’s mercy



ii (ur)
The ox is steady-hearted             and over-horned
A fierce and famous beast                      it fights with horns
Glorious moor-stepper                that is a noble creature



 v (rad)
Riding is mild for warriors                    at their hearthsides
and strong-bold                             for he mounted on the back
of a mighty horse                          over a distance measured in miles



vii (gyfu)
A gift is the grace                           and praise of men
and warmth and worthship                    to all exiles
sustenance for him                       who is stripped of all else



viii (wyn)
Joy is won                            by whoever knows little of woe
sourness or sorrow                        and who has for himself
breath and bliss                              and fullness and a fortified place



x (nyd)
Need is bound in the breast         yet nonetheless becomes for the
      sons of men
a help and healing both                 if   they heed in time



xv (eolxh)
Elk-sedge is found                          most often in a fen
it waxes in water                             and wounds severely
burns in the blood                          of each man’s body
who with his hand                          takes hold of it



xx (man)
Man in mirth                  is dear to his kin
yet must every one                         betray the other
for that reason                the Lord dooms
wretched flesh                                 be taken by the earth

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2013

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Aphorism, Free Verse

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