Whale-kenning (Old English-style poem)

One of my few attempts at poetry, this is from back in high school when we were studying Beowulfit's meant to be in the style of an Old English poem, with a split line structure - full of caesuras and kennings. Not sure how it holds up, but I don't mind it.



Lachlan Marnoch

Whale's tail like thunder crashes,
spreading sea-ripples like sun's
lament. In kin and kind her
daughter arises beside. Twin
jets climb from their backs in noble
exhalation. With grace befit
of the greatest of beasts, the ship-fish
return to their longest of marches. Through
Winter's sorrow, to her cling, where the great
abundance lies waiting far from
summer's abode. This annual
odyssey of Adam's ale.
'Tween the tender worm cities,
while from afar, the barbed ocean-
hawks gnash frustrated
teeth at the glorious meal
passing invulnerably by.
The warm-fish's song pulses mourning
through the wide, salted waters.
A reply rings; out of the gloom
Another great shape emerges.
And more, a herd of fish-kings,
all joined in their titanic commute
to the earth's true end
the cold desert, a place of ice,
and needle's regret. Where the land-birds
dwell, and beneath the crystal crust,
there be monsters of flipper and fang.
But for now, the great lords of the water
float alone, a mob no monster
would dare. Their great music rings
in metal ears, awing those who would know.
And as the fish-birds swarm for their scaled
prey, evading becoming the prey
themselves, the whales come together,
and the great dance begins.


Picture by Terry Howard

Picture by Terry Howard