Sunday, December 28, 2014

For HE Catherine Townson upon being named a Vigilant of the Order of the Laurel

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

There is a dame quite skilled at loom,
Whose work in garden makes herbs bloom,
Whose art and knowledge are quite clear,
And so the Royals name her Peer.

Kind Catherine Townson she is named,
In Ealdormere her work is famed,
By hoe or shuttle, thread or shear,
And so the Royals name her Peer.

With weft and weave and warp and sley,
She labours each and every day,
And students hands she can now steer,
And so the Royals name her Peer.

On knee descended, rises bold,
A ring of leaves on hand to hold,
For her the Laurels raise a cheer,
And so by Royals she is Peer.

Written as a kyrielle.

Monday, December 22, 2014

For Asa Gormsdottir upon being elevated to the Order of the Laurel

THlaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

For some are masters of an art,
They practiced each and every day,
To hone their skill, find their way,
And in the kingdom play their part,
For some are masters of an art.

One of these was blessed by her Queen,
For skill with needle, thread and cloth,
Who people in fine garb were swath,
Whose art was ‘mongst the greatest seen,
One of these was blessed by her Queen.

Now Asa, Dame of Ordered Laurel,
Sworn by faith, worthy scholar,
Wearing leaves about her collar,
In our kingdom of the boreal,
Now Asa, Dame of Ordered Laurel.

Since Asa does both Old Norse and Venetian I had a choice to make about what kind of poetry to use. I decided to go with an Italian form and settled on a ballata. Ballate were often accompanied by music and dancing, but not always. And since I can’t write music or choreograph a dance, simple words it is!

Monday, December 8, 2014

For Gann upon his Elevation to the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

I invoke the name of Gann:
Gann who stands on fields of battle,
Battle, wherein he forged his name,
A name based on honour and right,
Right on his side, high his banner,
Banner steady and preaux,
Preaux is this man, word-bound,
Bound to justice and service,
Service to his King and land,
Land of the north, which he defends,
Defends with blood free spilled,
Spilled in protection of the weak,
Weak are his foes when they see him,
Him, from Éire’s northland,
Northland’s son this warrior,
Warrior for Queen and wolf-born,
Born to the lance and sword,
Sword dipped to touch his shoulder,
Shoulders a burden from high-lord,
Lord names him worthy knight,
Knight is this man, and I,
I invoke the name of Gann.

Written as an amra (a praise poem) using the technique known as conachlonn (where the last word of each line is the first word of the subsequent line). Partially inspired by Amergin's invocation of Ireland.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

On Generosity

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, August 2014 (AS 49)

Words of wisdom,
Sung in song,
Of faith and justice,
Of right and wrong,
Of virtues and
The virtuous,
Of folk giving
And courageous.
Like golden apples
Give their flesh,
Like the bulls,
Like fish in mesh;
So chief among
The virtues true,
Is giving like
The knightly do.
Sir Cleges and
Sir Amadace
Were renowned
For art and grace;
For helping those
Who needed aid,
With ne’er a thought
To be repaid.
Like Beowulf,
In Viking hall,
Rewarding carl
And freeing thrall;
Like Roland blowing
On mighty horn,
And giving succor
As he had sworn;
Like Saladin
Who a babe bought,
Returning it to
Mother o’erwrought;
So great and good
Are those that give,
And by their deeds
Will be outlived.
Praise be to them
And all their kind,
Who to others woes
Are not turned blind.
Friend, with thanks,
I bless your name,
And hold it forth
For fond acclaim.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

For Varakii Varenko Vlkovitch upon being Elevated to the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

In Ealdormere, in famous Ealdormere,
There lived a man adept at sword and spear,
A leader of men on the field of War,
Who carried out all deeds to which he swore.
Varenko was this stalwart valiant man,
A founding member of MacLachlan clan,
Trusted to lead the gusars [1] in battle,
Spears to fly and brilliant swords to rattle,
But of this Ktetstvo [2] more was expected,
Much more glory was to be collected.
So to the far-off foreign war he went,
To sleep on hard ground in cold darkened tent,
And in the morning, stand before his troops,
And bravely survey the foe man’s grim groups.

So to win word-fame, glory for the Tsar,
Varenko’s warriors from near and far,
The vlastèla [3], followed him on the field,
With armour bright, sword, dagger, spear and shield,
To face enemies from across the world,
Whose weapons bristled and whose banners furled.
The northfolk met their monstrous fearsome line,
Strived, fought to send them down to hell to dine,
While arrows, darts, fell down from August sky,
And comrades dropped in the dark mud to die,
Bashtinik and voynici [4] who had come
To follow Varenko in grevious scrum.
The scarlet line faltered under the foe,
And determined faces gave way to woe.
Fear strode forth from the enemies’ front rank,
Wielding weighty cudgel and face-plate dank,
The army of the north fell back in fright,
But Varenko met Fear in forthright fight,
And though Fear was a dreadful giant born,
Ktetstvo brave blew on his battle horn,
And weapons clashed and clanged and bit soft flesh,
And giant in his arms tried to enmesh
Brave Varenko, who struck off its dark head,
And left it on the trampled ground quite dead.
But before the army regained its heart,
Doubt waded out and wove its darkest art,
Turning strong souls weak, making stout faint,
Felling the brave without care or restraint.
‘Til Varenko with sword heavy with faith,
Faced his Doubt and slew the dark-hearted wraith.
The army, renewed, surged forth to the fight,
Defeating the foe ‘fore coming of night.

In Ealdormere, in famous Ealdormere,
The vlastèla returned with bloodied spear,
Hailed brave Varenko who stood at their head,
Dripping with sore wounds, the ground turning red,
Varenko, they shouted, won them the day,
Defeating the monsters loose in the frey.
Wise King and Wise Queen, then told him to kneel,
And touched his wide shoulder with royal steel,
Named him a rystar[5], a Peer of the realm,
And put their blessing atop of his helm,
He stands now exemplar of all that’s right,
Guardian against all evil and blight.

Written in the form of a bylina, a traditional East Slavic poetic form.

[1] Light cavalry forces.
[2] A term used for the best warriors in the Novogrod chronicle in the year 1181.
[3] Noble cavalry armed with bows and lances.
[4] Feudal land holders who had to perform military service.
[5] An accepted SCA alternate title for a knight with a Russian persona.

For Her Excellency Christiana MacNamara upon being named a Vigilant for the Order of the Pelican

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

A martyr for her children
Mother bird sits atop her nest
And feeds her young her gushing blood
Pouring forth from her pierced breast

And like this bird a mother bear
In cave cares for her cubs newborn
Protects them from the wind and rain
From talon, claw and ripping thorn

She leads through drought, the arid heat,
Through storm and sleet and tempest gale
And shoulders through the snowy drifts
To keep her young all well and hail

Like a winged snail she is a home
Who welcomes in her loving brood
Her brood the people of the land
Being the high born and the crude

Her sacrifice and toil find
Favoured grace in the royal eyes
And wolfen rulers call to her
And praise her virtues to the skies

Christiana, bear, recognized
For deeds well done and reckoned true
Named a Peer of the northern land
Whose many toils were not yet through.

A ballad.

Friday, December 5, 2014

For His Excellency Tiberius of Warwickshire upon being named a Vigilant of the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

Who tall has stood in mud stained field,
With sword in hand and banner high;
Sent spear in flight across the sky
And acted as the weakest’s shield?

Who in battle fraught will nay yield,
With gauntlet hand and armoured thigh;
Who will not let a challenge by
And all the virtues rightly wield?

Thy answer is a man from Thule:
Tiberius, the cross of right,
Clad bright in mail and silver helm,
Named chosen now by those that rule,
Touched by a sword and made a knight,
Ands stands protector of the realm.

Petrarchan sonnet in iambic tentrameter.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

For Eirik Andersen upon being elevated to the Order of the Pelican

November 2014 (AS 49)
By THLaird Colyne Stewart

For Ealdormere Andersen tended
and built and laboured and mended.
From city to town he has flown
and under him all this has grown
like the Pantheon defended.

Through trials and hardship he wended,
any he met were well friended
and all of his works were well sown
For Ealdormere.

Now his knee will be bended
with honour to his name lended;
From Royals favour he’s shown
As he stands before lupine throne.
Now to a Peerage ascended
For Ealdormere.

Written as a rondel (my first attempt).

Monday, September 29, 2014

For Dafydd and Mahild, Upon the Occasion of Their Wedding

THL Colyne Stewart, September 2014 (AS 49)

From north land
Taken in the hand
For to love,
In late summer
They stand together
Under a dove,
They vow to share their life.
Now he husband, and she wife,
                        My soul is rife
                        With joy for them.

With friends aside
They feel the tide
Of others joy,
At the unity
In their community
None can destroy,
As cake is cut with knife.
Now he husband, and she wife,
                        My soul is rife
                        With joy for them.

Both kith and kin
They welcome in
Bonds are tightened,
Love wins last
When it is vast
And rapture ever heightened,
As they start another life.
Now he husband, and she wife,
                        My soul is rife
                        With joy for them.

Based on ‘Ab plazen’, an alba written in 1257 by Guiraut Riquier.

New Heirs

Sep 2014 (AS 49)

Septentria will have new heirs,
Chosen from amongst the players
Who love the land of snow-white bear;
Who will it be? That I can tell.

There are two who have the skill,
To lead the people, hand to till,
And can these high seats spacious fill,
Being Stinkeye and his Badrielle.

Monday, June 30, 2014



By THLaird Colyne Stewart, 2014 (AS 49)

Þorfinna, Thor’s finest,
there she stands red-handed,
life-friend and foe-hammer,
Serpent’s favoured daughter.
In spear-din, shield-maiden,
in saga, skald singer,
on cloak her foes flounder,
at Althing friends gather.

‘Neath sky-candle’s searing,
the gray-coat stands waiting,
blood-ember flood flowing,
long-tooth eagle feeding.
Her fingers ring heavy,
her arms and hands banded,
Hersir’s mind’s-worth healing,
heart-treasure of husband.

For Þorfinna gráfeldr, in recognition of her deeds at the Passo Hanso tournament held at War of the Trillium 2014, where she was selected by the viewing gallery as the winner of the tourney for her exemplification of the virtue of humility.

This was my first attempt at writing in the Old Norse drótkvætt style, and my inexperience does show in my lack of near rhymes in some of the second and fourth lines in the half stanzas.

Below is an annotated version of the poem.

Þorfinna, Thor’s finest[1],
there she stands red-handed,
life-friend[2] and foe-hammer,
Serpent’s favoured daughter[3].
In spear-din[4], shield-maiden[5],
in saga, skald singer[6],
on cloak her foes flounder[7],
at Althing friends gather[8].

‘Neath sky-candle’s[9] searing,
the gray-coat[10] stands waiting,
blood-ember[11] flood flowing,
long-tooth[12] eagle feeding[13].
Her fingers ring heavy[14],
her arms and hands banded,
Hersir[15]’s mind’s-worth[16] healing,
heart-treasure[17] of husband.

[1] Þorfinna means Thor’s finest.

[2] Wife.

[3] This line alludes to the serpents in her heraldry, equating them with Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.

[4] Battle.

[5] Þorfinna is a fighter.

[6] She is also a bard. A skald was a Norse bard.

[7] This alludes to the holmgang duels which the Norse fought on a cloak laid on the ground.

[8] An Althing was a gathering to deal with judicial issues. This line is saying that Þorfinna is well respected, something she was told at this same event.

[9] The sun.

[10] Þorfinna’s byname ‘gráfeldr’ means ‘gray coat’.

[11] An axe, this one freeing her foe’s blood.

[12] Sword.

[13] Slaying her foes.

[14] The Norse gave rings as tokens quite often. After the Passo Hanso, one of Þorfinna’s opponents gave her such a token.

[15] Baron.

[16] Honour. This line is saying Þorfinna brings honour to her baron (and baroness).

[17] She is my everything.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Fian Stands Upon the Field

By THLaird Colyne Stewart
June 17, 2014 (AS 49)

The Fian stands upon the field
To face the noble swords of three
Brave men who will not ever yield
Nor from a challenge ever flee.
The first to draw his blade so keen
Is Rorik with his noble mien
Former champion to a Queen
His worth so easy to be seen.

Next comes Thorulfr, father, squire,
With braided beard and blue white shield,
Whose foes smolder on burning pyre
Who in defeat has rarely kneeled.
Third comes Bjarn from northern hall
Skilled with the sword and mace and maul,
His victories are beyond count
No challenge he can not surmount.

In bloody contest now they meet
Fianna from across the land
Who in fray they must now defeat
To earn the right to join their band.
Strong is the bear, and stronger still,
As more its ranks the people fill,
Strong is the bear, and strong our will,
Who next will face the Fian’s skill?

Written in the form of three rispettos in iambic tetrameter. Done as a proclamation for the challenge of Lord Rorik, THL Thorulfr and THL Bjarn, who fought their White Bear Fian challenges at War of the Trillium 2014.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Now Goes Pelayo unto the Lists

Now goes Pelayo unto the List;
I rejoice, freedman, do not desist.
Now goes Pelayo unto the field;
I rejoice, freedman, do not yield.

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, based on the 13th century poem “Now Goes the Sun Under the Wood”.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

For Eleanor, from Menken

To his Freya went a humble knight,
Wounded sore from honour’ble fight,
In his hand her favour fierce he clasped.

Eleanor, my wife, my bride, my life, I am here;
Naught can keep me from you! I am returned!

Her face agleam with boreal light,
Her fingers, long, held his face tight,
Her husband smiled as he rasped.

Eleanor, my wife, my bride, my life, I am here;
Naught can keep me from you! I am returned!

She guides him home, her blue eyes bright,
To bind his wounds and treat him dear,
She the only thing in his mind’s sight.

Eleanor, my wife, my bride, my life, I am here;
Naught can keep me from you!

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, April AS 48, as a ransom paid to Sir Menken Brechen. Based on the 10th century anonymous alba, phebi claro nondum orto iubare.