Greetings one and all,
Today I have something special to share with you. My own Shakespearean sonnet that includes kennings.
A kenning is a metaphor that is strongly associated with Old Norse and Old English poetry. They are created by putting together two or more words to rename a familiar thing or person in an unfamiliar way. Oftentimes, the words are not related to each other to begin with. Also, kennings are a circumlocution, which means they are a roundabout way of saying something. Finally, kennings are often used to create a mental image of something. When kennings are used in writing, they often force a reader to view the object being referenced in a new light.
To give you an example of this, the individual words battle and sweat don’t really have anything to do with each other. Granted, one does tend to sweat a lot when in battle. When they are combined, they may form the image of a sweaty battle, but the kenning “battle sweat” actually refers to blood. Once the connection is made, the image can be quite striking.
If you have read my first post, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that my archery class gave me the name “Bird Killer”, to describe my mad archery skills. For the record, no birds were harmed in my class, but the kenning stuck with me through the semester.
Let me spew a tall glass of giant’s mead
Because you have stolen my valor’s stone
I plead for you to let go of your greed
I wouldn’t have boasted if I had known
I’ll die at the edge of your wound serpent
As you cast your beam from the eyelash moon
Alas, it is as if we’re divergent
For I won’t caper to your siren’s tune
Still you wander in my lung’s market place
You shake the ensemble of my bone-house
So I’ll retrace what you hope to erase
Like a sea wood in search of a light house
It is time for me to battle your fears
For you are my only Kisser of tears
Now, my dear friends, can you figure out what this poem is all about?