Translating Eþel

The Rune Poem is sung in a tempo that changes from time to time. You can find the beats and the rests between them in the stresses of the words in each stanza. Some move quickly like the adjacent Hail and Need stanzas. Stand in the hail and you’ll see why it needs a quick stanza. Stand in need and you’ll feel the staccato tempo of a life crashing down. The Home stanza is the last in a string of four stanzas bound together by a change of tempo: Human, The Sea, Ing, and Home. Together they tell a story about Ing who was a goddamned legend. He appears in the adjacent pair to Gift and Home, so we’ll visit Ing soon. For now know that home is where you start from and the end of the story as well. You have nothing else.

In the world of the Rune Poem, home means survival. How do we survive? Look at the word mot. If this is a form of the verb motan, it means may or might as in you might be allowed to do something: it is a maybe that’s tied to an action you could take. The word gif is here with it, meaning if, adding to the maybe of it all, so this is a choice many translators make: If we may or if we might. Spelled as it is here as mot and sharing a line with words about how we conduct ourselves: rihtes and gerysena, right and proper, just and befitting, equitable and appropriate, well this mot is a moot. A moot is a gathering to decide if we may or if we might. By the 11th, 12th century a moot was a full on formal court proceeding with tax collecting, things done in the name of the king, etc. However, rewind six to eight hundred years to the beginnings of the Rune Poem and lawmaking was happening at home with your family. This would be your full extended family usually, your family community. You’d gather together in the big house with all your relations and figure things out. Decide what’s to be done and how best to survive.

This sounds serious but big family gatherings can be fun. There’s words here that say it’s a good time. Brucan says it’s enjoyable. Home is oferleof, over-love: this doesn’t mean loved too much. This is loved right up beyond and over love. Above love. Gerysena holds a lofty meaning as well, it sometimes means to rise together. Families rise together. Bleadum often means prosperity, as in the fruits of a harvest, but just as often it means the more atmospheric breath, wind, spirit, and inspiration, without which a high flying family meeting deflates in a hurry.

When should we get together? This is good stuff so we should get together oftast. Often. And where? In the bolde, in the house, the big one we all can fit into together.