Sunday, August 11, 2013

Viking Poems

From a visitor’s guide that we picked up in Reykjavik:  “Hávamál are words of wisdom which served as spiritual provisions for the Vikings on their long journeys over rough sea to discover new lands.  These sayings are more than a thousand years old and give a valuable insight into the Viking way of thinking.”  Here are some examples.

A true friend
whom you trust well
and wish for his good will:
Go to him often
exchange gifts
and keep company.

Better weight
than wisdom
a traveler cannot carry.
The poor man’s strength
in a strange place,
worth more than wealth.

Huh?  How about this one…

He is truly wise
who's travelled far
and knows the ways of the world.
He who has travelled
can tell what spirit
governs the men he meets.

That’s kind of a no-brainer, hm, Kath?

No man should call
himself clever
but manage his mind.
A sage visitor
is a silent guest.
The cautious evades evil.
Never a friend
more faithful,
nor greater wealth, than wisdom.

Hmm.  Well, I think I get that one.  Here’s one I definitely get.

has too often
been praised by poets.
The longer you drink
the less sense
your mind makes of things.

Let’s try to keep that last one in mind as we’re walking pub to pub across England next month – ok, Pint Virgin?

1 comment:

Katharine said...

These guys were really into wisdom and travel, low on wealth which is easy to say when you've been looting and plundering your neighbors.