[poetry] Weekday of the Conqueror

I wrote this December 2006-January 2007. This is the poem I entered in my school’s literary competition senior year at Cistercian. It didn’t win, and I didn’t expect it to. It actually did surprisingly well, two judges voted for it. (Actually, the version I entered had one word changed – “lore” -> “war” – but I prefer it this way, even if it does break the alliteration.)

I wrote it after reading Beowulf. It deals, I suppose, with the English language and how it was changed by William the Conqueror’s invasion of Britain and the introduction of French words.

I’m not sure if anyone has picked up on it, but the word ‘cursen’ at the end was actually chosen because Fr. Greg (my English teacher) said, when we came across it in The Tragical History of The Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus, that it means ‘Christian’, though of course it reminds us immediately of ‘cursed’.

Week-Day of the Conqueror

To begin our vika, the day of the Sunna
Lighting the path, the lord of the sky
Then realm of the dead, marked by the Móna
The silver orb, it floats slowly by.

Tyr’s time now comes, the fighter god
Off to battle, off to war;
Now Odin’s day, the ravens’ lord
God of wisdom, wolf and lore
And Thor, his day, the lightning-strike
In enemies inspiring fear
Freya, goddess, last, Odin’s wife
Most lovely fair of all Æsir.

At week’s end, then comes Saturn, ’twas
The lord of time, but that was Rome
No time this day, by William’s cause,
Is this day so far from its home.

An impostor; the King of Time’s
Confusion has been done.
Cursen week; cursen tongue.


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