Rune Poems


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Cool Rune Poems


The Rune Poems were methods used to pass on meanings, symbolism, and the mythos associated with each rune.

As there are divisions within Runes (Elder and Younger Futhark) you will notice that the Norwegian and Icelandic poems do not include all 24 runes, the only cover the younger Futhark.

You may find that comparing the three different rune poems for each rune helps your study and understanding behind each rune.

You will also notice that over time, there has been an unfortunate Christian influence, and the pre-Christian era stanza has been lost.

THE NORWEGIAN RUNE POEM, English Text

Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.

Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.

Giant causes anguish to women;
misfortune makes few men cheerful.

Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords.
Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses;
Reginn forged the finest sword.

Ulcer is fatal to children;
death makes a corpse pale.

Hail is the coldest of grain;
Christ created the world of old.

Constraint gives scant choice;
a naked man is chilled by the frost.

Ice we call the broad bridge;
the blind man must be led.

Plenty is a boon to men;
I say that Frothi was generous.

Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.

Tyr is a one-handed god;
often has the smith to blow.

Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.

Man is an augmentation of the dust;
great is the claw of the hawk.

A waterfall is a River which falls from a mountain-side;
but ornaments are of gold.

Yew is the greenest of trees in winter;
it is wont to crackle when it burns.


THE ICELANDIC RUNE POEM, English Text

Wealth
source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.

Shower
lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.

Giant
torture of women
and cliff-dweller
and husband of a giantess.

God
aged Gautr
and prince of sgarr
and lord of Vallhalla.

Riding
joy of the horsemen
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.

Ulcer
disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.

Hail
cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.

Constraint
grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.

Ice
bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.

Plenty
boon to men
and good summer
and thriving crops.

Sun
shield of the clouds
and shining ray
and destroyer of ice.

Tr
god with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.

Birch
leafy twig
and little tree
and fresh young shrub.

Man
delight of man
and augmentation of the earth
and adorner of ships.

Water
eddying stream
and broad geysir
and land of the fish.

Yew
bent bow
and brittle iron
and giant of the arrow.


THE ANLGO-SAXON RUNE POEM, English Text

Feoh (money) is a help to everyone,
Though every man should deal it our freely,
If they wish before the Lord To cast doom's lots.

r (Aurochs) is savage and greatly horned,
A very fierce beast it fights with its horns,
A well known walker of the moors that is a bold spirit.

Thorn (Thorn) is very sharp for every thane
Who grabs it, it is evil and immeasurably cruel
For every man that with it rests.

s (Odhinn) is the primal source of all speech
Wisdom's support and wiseman's help
And every earl's riches and happiness.

Rd (Ride) is in the hall to every warrior
Soft, and mighty hard to him that sits upon
strong mare over miles of paths.

Kn (torch) is to all of the quick (i.e., "living") known by its fire
Shining and bright burns it oftest
Where the nobles rest inside.

Giefu (Gift) is to men glee and praise
Support and worship (worthiness) and to every wretch
Honor and sustenance that they would otherwise be left without

Wynn (Joy) one uses and enjoys that knows little (of) want
Sores and sorrows and himself has
prosperity and bliss and fortress enough

Hagol (Hail) is the whitest corn it whirls from heaven's sky
Rolled by wind's showers it worths (becomes)water then.

Ned (Need) is narrow on the chest though worths it oftto men's children
To help and heal however if they listen to it early.

s (ice) is overly cold immeasurably slick
It glistens like bright glass most like gem
A floor wrought of frost is a fair sight.

Gar (Year) is man's hope if
God lets, Holy heaven's king, the Earth sell (i.e. "give")
Bright fruits, to nobles and needy.

oh (Yew) is outwardly an unsmooth tree
Held hard, earthfast fire's guardian
Roots twist underneath a joy on the estate.

Peordh is always play and laughter
Amongst bold men where warriors sit
In the beer hall happy together.

Elk sedge (grass) has a home oftest in the marsh
It waxes in water it wounds grim
And burns with blood any man that in any way dares grab it.

(Sun) by seamen always is hoped for
When they fare hence over fish's bath ("ocean")
Until the sea steed ("ship") they bring to land..

Tir is some token it holds troth well
With nobles aye it is on course
Over night's mists it never wanders or deceive.

Beorc is shootless it bears even so
Twigs without fruit it has shining branches
High in its crown fair adorned
Loaded with leaves it touches the sky.

h (horse team) is for earls an noble's pleasure,
A horse's hooves are bold when around it heroes
Wealthy on war horses exchange speech
And is for the restless is ever a help.

Man is in mirth his kinsmen's dear,
Though each shall others deceive
When the Lord wishes in his doom
That poor flesh be committed to the earth.

Lagu is to people thought long
If they should go thence on a shaky ship
And the sea waves strongly terrify
And the sea steed (ship) obeys not its bridles.

Ing was first among the East Danes
Seen by men but he since went east
Over the wet way his wagon ran after
Thus the Heardings named the hero

Day is the Lord's messenger dear to man
The Measurer's great light mirth and hope
To rich and poor for all to use or enjoy.

thel (Estate) is very dear to every man
And enjoy in his house - increase.
If he may straight away keep what's fit
And enjoy in his house increase often.

(Oak) is on earth for sons of men
Food for the flesh It fares often
Over whale's bath (sea) The sea finds

Whether oak has nobile faith

Ash is very tall dear to men,
Resolute in stability It holds the right place
Though it fights off many men.

Bow is to nobles and men alike
Joy and worthiness it is fair on a horse
Steadfast on a journey It is a piece of war gear.

Serpent is a river fish and though it always uses
Food on earth it has a fair home
Surrounded by water where it lives in happiness.

Earth (The grave) is hideous to every man
When steadily the flesh begins
The body cools and chooses the earth black
To bed with Fruits fall
Joys pass away truths are broken
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One can also find other translations of the same Rune poems in Edred Thorsson's 'Runelore', published by Weiser.

In this book Thorsson also gives a few dates for the poems.

The Old Norweigen Rune Rhyme he says dates from the end of the 12 century to the beginning of the 13th.

The Old Icelandic Rune poem dates from around the 15th century.

The Old English Rune Poem dates from around the end of the 10th century, though it is uncertain since the translation made in the 18th century was lost in a fire.

Kiama
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