1_Anglo-Saxon Riddle Jig-Saw by hedongchenchen


									                      31                                              74
     An awesome beauty angled the wave;           Suckled by the sea, sheltered near shore;
  The deep-throated creature called to land,           Cradled in cold catch of waves,
     Laughed loud-lingering, struck terror           Footless and fixed—often I offered
    Home to men. Her blades honed sharp,           To the sea-stream a stretch of mouth.
    She was slow to battle but battle-grim,        Now a man will strip my bonelike skin
    Savage wound-worker. The slaughterer        From the sides of my body with a bright blade
       Struck ship-walls, carried a curse.            And bolt my flesh, relish me raw:
      The cunning creature said of herself:            A quick cuisine—crack to jaw.
“My mother, who comes from the kind of women
    Dearest and best, is my daughter grown                            79
   Great and pregnant; so is it known to men
                                                       My race is old, my seasons many,
    On earth that she shall come and stand
                                                    My sorrows deep. I have dwelt in cities
    Gracefully on the ground in every land.”
                                                  Since the fire-guardian wrought with flame
                                                   My clean beginning in the world of men,
                      32                              Purged my body with a circling fire.
                                                   Now a fierce earth-brother stands guard,
        I saw close to the houses of men          The first to shape my sorrow—I remember
      A strange creature that feeds cattle.      Who ripped our race, hard from its homeland,
          By tooth-hoard and nose-haul            Stripped us from the ground. I cannot bind
     (A useful slave), it scruffs the ground,    Or blast him, yet I cause the clench of slavery
          Scratches at plants, dogs walls       Round the world. Though my wounds are many
        Or drags fields for plunder-seeks           On middle-earth, my strength is great.
        A crop-catch and carries it home.        My craft and course, power and rich passage,
      Its prey is bent stalk and weak root;          I must hide from men. Say who I am.
       Its gift is firm grain and full flower
    On a glittering plain-growing, blooming.                          87
                      48                           My head is struck by a forging hammer,
                                                      Sheared close by a shaping blade,
     On earth this warrior is strangely born           Honed smooth by a fierce file.
   Of two dumb creatures, drawn gleaming           Sometimes I swallow my tempered foe,
   Into the world, bright and useful to men.     When bound by rings, I heave from behind,
     It is tended, kept, covered by women-         Thrust a long limb through a hard hole,
         Strong and savage, it serves well,     Catch hard the keeper of the heart’s pleasure,
           A gentle slave to firm masters            Twist with my tongue and turn back
    Who mind its measure and feed it fairly      The midnight guardian of my lord’s treasure
     With a careful hand. To these it brings     When the conquering warrior comes to hold
    Warm blessings, to those who let it run         The gift of slaughter, the joy of gold.
            Wild it brings a grim reward.
                     14                                               25
    In battle I rage against wave and wind,      I am man’s treasure, taken from the woods,
    Strive against storm, dive down seeking           Cliff-sides, hill-slopes, valleys, downs;
  A strange homeland, shrouded by the sea.          By day wings bear me in the buzzing air,
   In the grip of war, I am strong when still;    Slip me under a sheltering roof-sweet craft.
        In battle-rush, rolled and ripped            Soon a man bears me to a tub. Bathed,
      In flight. Conspiring wind and wave        I am binder and scourge of men, bring down
    Would steal my treasure, strip my hold,         The young, ravage the old, sap strength.
      But I seize glory with a guardian tail        Soon he discovers who wrestles with me
      As the clutch of stones stands hard                 My fierce body-rush-I roll fools
Against my strength. Can you guess my name?        Flush on the ground. Robbed of strength,
                                                  Reckless of speech, a man knows no power
                     19                           Over hands, feet, mind. Who am I who bind
                                                    Men on middle-earth, blinding with rage
    Head down, nosing-I belly the ground.
                                                         And such savage lows that dazed
  Hard snuffle and grub, I bite and furrow
                                                    Fools know my dark power by daylight?
     Drawn by the dark enemy of forests,
 Driven by a bent lord who hounds my trail,
  Who lifts and lowers me, rams me down,                              30
       Pushes on plain, and sows seed.           Middle-earth is made lovely in unmatched ways
    I am a ground-skulker, born of wood,             Rich and rare, I saw a strange creature
    Bound by wizards, brought on wheel.              Riding the road, weird craft and power
   My ways are weird: as I walk one flank        From the workshops of men. She came sliding
                                                    Up on the shore, shrieking without sight,
   Of my trail is gathering green, the other
                                                           Eyes, arms, shoulders, hands
 Is bright black. Through my back and belly           Sailed on one foot over smooth plains
  A sharp sword thrusts; through my head          Treasure and haul. Her mouth in the middle
 A dagger is stuck like a tooth: what I slash           Of a hoard of ribs, she carries corn
   Falls in a curve of slaughter to one side            Gold, grain-treasure, wine-wealth.
         If my driving lord slaves well.            The feast-floater brings in her belly food
                                                   For rich and poor. Let the wise who catch
                                                     The drift of this riddle say what I mean.
    Shunning silence, my house is loud
 While I am quiet: we are movement bound
                                                 Who am I who stand so boldly by the sea road—
     By the shaper’s will. I am swifter,
                                                  Hightowering, cheek-bright, useful to men?
  Sometimes stronger-he is longer lasting,
     Harder running. Sometimes I rest
     While he rolls on. He is the house                              Key
     That holds me living—alone I die.
             Fish and River
                 Gold ore

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