A Riddle


This was submitted to the  Cædmon Prize run by Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) and published in the magazine Wiðowinde.  Unfortunately someone submitted a better one, so I didn’t win.

It’s written in modern English, but using the conventions of Anglo-Saxon poetry.  They liked the idea of Riddle Poems, so I wrote one with the old rules, but in a modern setting.

If you want the answer to the riddle, scroll down.

Wes ðū hal

Malcolm Cowen


A Riddle

Dragon-fire driven, – bright spear burning
Ascending to Asgard-realm – thunder of Thor
Wise men have wrought it – devising, designing
Casing it cunningly – with star-brightened steel

Now guided by golems – most subtile of servants
Crafted with care – from the sand of the sea
Bound in obedience – commandments they carry
From men who have made them – and set them to serve

See offspring of Ægir – sundered by skillmen
In blazing and burning – break Middle-Earth’s bonds
Sailors of starpaths – far flying in freedom.
Bearing their burden – to high heaven’s halls

Teller of tidings – Skírnir skills sending
Wisdom and woe-news – to Middle-Earth’s men
Riches from riddle games – tales from far travellers
Weaver of Norn Webs – to bind the wide world








Answer   (Keep scrolling)






V1, A satellite launcher
V2, A silicon based electronic guidance and control system
V3, Delivery of a satellite to orbit, using liquid hydrogen and oxygen as fuel, cf Ægir, a sea jötunn.
V4, Communications Satellite acting as a link for the World Wide Web, cf Skírnir, the god Freyr’s messenger.



 Posted by at 3:13 pm

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