Bergen Catholic Talisman

on-line edition of our literary magazine

Anglo-Saxon riddle #14


I was a warrior’s weapon, once.

Now striplings have woven silver wires,

And gold, around me.  I’ve been kissed by soldiers,

And I’ve called a field of laughing comrades

To War and death.  I’ve crossed borders

on Galloping steeds, and crossed the shining

Water, riding a ship. I’ve been filled

To the depth of my heart by girls with glittering

Bracelets, and I’ve lain along the bare

Cold planks, headless, plucked, and worn.

They’ve hung me high on a wall, bright

With jewels and beautiful, and left me to watch

Their warriors drinking. Mounted troops

Have carried me out and opened my breast

To the swelling wind of some soldier; lips.

My voice has invited princes to feasts

Of wine, and has sung in the night to save

What savage thieves have stolen, driving them

Off into darkness.  Ask my name.

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