Need‘s Rune poem partner is the Human stanza, but you can’t translate the Need stanza without keeping an eye on the Hail stanza next door. Need and Hail are so much alike. Hail comes suddenly and can destroy a crop, smash berries from bushes, fruit from trees, destroy a roof. Hail makes need. Need can come suddenly too. You know quickly when you are in need. The sky opens up and pummels you with it.
Both the Need and Hail stanzas are anomalies in the Rune Poem. They stand out for being only two lines each, when the others are three or four (five for the final one) and they stand out for having many more stressed words per line than is customary for Old English poetry. The effect when sung is a fast staccato beat. A rapid pounding of the heart. Sounds like hail feels like need.
The Rune Poem stanzas Wealth and Human have so much in common they ought to be a matched set, except they already have their own partners, The Grave, and Need. Here are Wealth and Human repeating themselves:
Wealth: Sceal ðeah manna gehwylc (though each of us must).
Human: Sceal þeah anra gehwylc (though each and every one must).
And look at how many words they share: byþ, gehwylcum/gehwylc, sceal, wile/wyle, ðeah/þeah, drihtne/dryhten, dome/domes, 7 not counting pronouns. The name of the Human rune, manna, appears in the Wealth stanza so let’s count that one too: 8 words in common is a large number, especially when you consider that the Wealth stanza has only 18 words and the Human stanza has 23 if you include ꝥ, which isn’t a whole word but a grammalogue for the … More
Listen up. As if from nowhere you will have nothing. Nowhere is where nothing comes from, did you not know? That pain in your chest will be your heart squeezing down two sizes too small. You’ll be in need and you will feel it. Pay attention to the gods on this one baby love, help will come if you shush, listen, and do what you’re told.
Voiced alveolar nasal. Vibrate some air through your vocal cords, stop it at the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Nope. No passage here. Never. Send that air out through your nose.
When N stands next to C or G both letters are pronounced together and sound a bit like Ing, the other nasal letter besides M, which is N’s Rune Poem partner. M and N are still close in modern English, next door neighbors, and together they are the only nasal letters left to us since Ing went east.
Carve a line straight down to rock bottom. Now constrict it with another line, right through the heart. Point that line down a bit too, but also point it up.