Olcan’s Championship Scroll: 2016

In 2015 (A.S. L), Olcan became our Shield of Glymm Mere for a second year in a row. 

In planning the Charter to give him at the end of his year of service, I really strove to create a wholly original piece in a meter, rhyme scheme, and style consistent with his persona’s poetic culture. 

I dove deep into ninth century poetic forms, reading works in Old Irish and Old English alongside translations of the pieces. 

Although I do not understand these languages, I find that reading them aloud helps me find the meters, rhymes, and cæsura.  Reading the pieces alongside translations assists me in understanding the metaphors, similes, variations, and alliterations commonly used.  Additionally, the translations gave me ideas of how kennings, a kind of metaphor, were crafted.

Properly, the word kenning applies to the figurative language used in Old Norse poetry.  However, similar techniques are found in Old Irish and Old English poetry and, lacking a native word, ‘kenning’ is modernly accepted as a term for the technique regardless of origin. 

In these brief words, I tried to capture the essence of Olcan Mac Meanma: the juxtaposition of his juggernaut fighting style tempered by his frank and friendly demeanor.

Firm and fast his ashen axe, 
Grim-grinning his hardened helm, 
Valorous victor now named. 

Gentle giant, generous giver, 
Friend to foe and fallen fighters, 
Soft spoken now named. 

Olcan oak-limbed, spirit's son, 
Twice taker of Glymm Mere's greatsword, 
Named now hero and hearth-friend.

I am pretty satisfied with how this one turned out as an original composition, and people who know Olcan well have complimented the poem’s epithet of him, but for historical accuracy I know that I still missed the mark.  For one, the brevity makes it more of a modern ode than a poem from ninth century Ireland.  It should be considerably longer, narrate his accomplishments, and tell a story.

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