February 03, 2011

To wind and tide

OK. Or Hwaet if you want to get Anglo-Saxon about it. Let it be duly noted that when I pass over to the Great Perhaps, I don't want a fancy funeral. I'll settle for one just like that given to Scyld Scefing, the ruler of the Spear-Danes in the early part of Beowulf.

In lieu of flowers, here's how it should be done, by way of Seamus Heaney's translation. First, take me out to a Viking ship like this:

they shouldered him out to the sea's flood,
the chief they revered who had long ruled them.
A ring-whorled prow rode in the harbour,
ice-clad, outbound, a craft for a prince.
They stretched their beloved lord in his boat,
laid out by the mast, amidships,
the great ring-giver. .

But make sure it's decked out like this:

Far-fetched treasures
were piled upon him, and precious gear
I never heard before of a ship so well furbished
with battle tackle, bladed weapons
and coats of mail.

Then pile it on:

The massed treasure
was loaded on top of him: it would travel far
on out into the ocean's sway.

And deck me out:

They decked his body no less bountifully
with offerings than those first ones did
who cast him away when he was a child
and launched him alone out over the waves.

Then raise a standard and shove me off:

And they set a gold standard up
high above his head and let him drift
to wind and tide, bewailing him
and mourning their loss. No man can tell,
no wise man in hall or weathered veteran
knows for certain who salvaged that load

Any questions?

ON THE AGENDA. WV advocates for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault highlighted their public policy agenda yesterday. One of these priorities is modernizing unemployment to cover people who have lost employment due to domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault when they are again available for and seeking work.

FOR FOR THOUGHT and for the future.

NOT IF SOME PEOPLE I KNOW CAN HELP IT. It is suggested here that clean energy sources could meet most of our needs by 2050.

SPEAKING OF ENERGY, a draft study by the Department of the Interior on the future of mountaintop removal mining is stirring up predictable controversy here. Here's Ken Ward on the topic in the Gazette and in Coal Tattoo.

THIS COULD REALLY HAPPEN. For your amusement from The Onion.


No comments: