Sunday, 20 April 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 13 – kennings

Good to have an assistant
Day 13 Prompt
 Kennings were metaphorical phrases developed in Nordic sagas. At their simplest, they generally consist of two nouns joined together, which imaginatively describe or name a third thing. This was an interesting, though difficult challenge.

Some well-known Anglo-Saxon kennings include:
Descriptions of the sea included:
bone-house (banhus ) - the human body
whale road (hronrad) 
battle-light (beadoleoma) - sword
fish home (fiscesethel)
wave-floater (wægflota) - ship
seal bath (seolbæp)

I haven't read Beowulf since I did my B.A.(ECE –1979) and took both English and children's literature. I had to start with dreaming up some kennings first. They are tough! Rather than nouns, I was dredging up nouns with verbs. I gave up. 

worm factory (robin)
twig gluer 
seed scatterer (messy birds)

In my mind, I was trying to use natural images, the birds scattering the seeds, trying to find the right one. The birds madly building nests, phoebe perching here and there. Often, I'll walk out the door and Phoebe come around the corner and nearly run into me. Soon, once she chooses a spot, I'm going to follow her progress. 
I was up on the roof, cleaning out the eaves, and phoebe would perch on a tree near me each time, as if supervising whilst my nervous hubby (who doesn't like heights) was fretting below! This is the time of year when the four Fs impale the brains of the critters: food, fornicating, flight, or fight. 

Hubby's new office, two cats in beds
No Ken Do

worm-warrior worries them out of the ground
seed-scatterers toss the bad ones aside
ground-feeders scavenge
frenzied frolickers attempt escape
perching pigeon
tree circlers go round and round
hoping for some loving
twig-gluers build
nut hoarders up and down, up and down
helper-hubby rests after chores
grooming-mousers rest in bed

phoebes babies in nest 2013


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Hmm, two nouns to describe something else. I'm sitting here pondering that and it seems very difficult. I'm also coming up with nouns and verbs.

William Kendall said...

I don't think I've ever heard the term before.