THE KALEVALA (19)

By: James Parker
November 25, 2017

The Kalevala is a sequence of folkloric songs, runes and charms from the Karelia region of Finland, collected in the field and concatenated into epic form by Dr. Elias Lonnrot (1803-1884). The versions presented here are not translations or transliterations — they are respectful bastardizations, working from the 1963 English version of the Kalevala produced by the versatile and witty Francis Peabody Magoun Jr.

kalevala_bastardized

*

SONG OF THE GUILTY VIKING
[being a departure from The Kalevala, Rune 30]

Here I come, you vulnerable villagers,
off the beach and over the moor.
My scaly knuckles sound like death
against your wooden door.
No ring, no reverb, death goes clunk.
Life is junk. It comes off in hunks.
Are you there?
Shall I drag you by the hair to my sea-lair?

The rain it tumbles in the trees, the wind is
      in the wood.
Get me ale, and more ale, to stanch this
      sorrow-flood!

Before me, the curling snarling dog,
the fireside bitch and her yellow incisor.
I chastise her.
Before me, the lank-haired woman.
Behind me, the busy flames,
the fun and games, the toppling frames.
A child’s eye holds me, round with fear.
What am I doing here?

The rain it tumbles in the trees, the wind is
      in the wood.
Get me ale, and more ale, to stanch this
      sorrow-flood!

Looming in your portal,
archetypal silhouette,
making you feel mortal,
I do things I regret.
The village smokes and sizzles in the wet.
Bleeding persons have I chased.
Volumes of air have I displaced.
Oh blue-eyed druid, oh blessed witch,
transmogrify my lust.
You simply must.

The rain it tumbles in the trees, the wind is
      in the wood.
Get me ale, and more ale, to stanch this
      sorrow-flood!

***

Series banner contributed by Rick Pinchera.

ALL INSTALLMENTS: RUNE 3 (1–278): “Wizard Battle” | RUNE 4 (1–56): “A Failed Seduction” | RUNE 4 (300–416): “Aino Ends It All” | RUNE 5 (45–139): “An Afternoon Upon the Water” | RUNE 5 (150–241): “The Blue Elk” | RUNE 6 (1–114): “Therapy Session” | RUNE 6 (115–130): “Joukahainen’s Mother Counsels Him Against Shooting the Wizard Vainamoinen” | RUNE 11 (1–138): “Introducing Kyllikki” | RUNE 23 (485–580): “The Bride’s Lament” | RUNE 30 (1–276): “Icebound” | RUNE 30 (120–188): “The Voyage of the Sea-Hare” (Part One) | RUNE 30 (185–188): “Losing It” | RUNE 30 (departure): “Across the Ice” | RUNE 30 (departure): “Song of the Guilty Viking” | RUNE 31 (215–225): “The Babysitter” | RUNE 31 (223–300): “The Screaming Axe” | RUNE 33 (1–136): “The Cowherd” | RUNE 33 (73): “Song of the Blade: Kullervo” | RUNE 33 (118–284): “The Cows Come Home” | RUNE 34 (1–82): “The Pipes of Kullervo”.

MORE PARKER at HILOBROW: COCKY THE FOX: a brilliant swearing-animal epic, serialized here at HiLobrow from 2010–2011, inc. a newsletter by Patrick Cates | THE KALEVALA — a Finnish epic, bastardized | THE BOURNE VARIATIONS: A series of poems about the Jason Bourne movies | ANGUSONICS: James and Tommy Valicenti parse Angus Young’s solos | MOULDIANA: James and Tommy Valicenti parse Bob Mould’s solos | BOLANOMICS: James traces Marc Bolan’s musical and philosophical development | WINDS OF MAGIC: A curated series reprinting James’s early- and mid-2000s writing for the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix | CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM: J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT | EVEN MORE PARKER, including doggerel; HiLo Hero items on Sid Vicious, Dez Cadena, Mervyn Peake, others; and more.

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