The Modern English Rune Poem

Ned Ramm





Elder Futhark


Younger Futhark


Old English Futhorc


Mediæval Scandinavian


Modern English



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There is an Old English Rune Poem; this is not a translation of that but a poem for Modern English Runestaves, written (I hope) in the style of the Old English poem.

The Fee Eightsome

      Fees and funds                          and flocks and finances;

To keep you comfy,                    to care for others.


      Up Ower! the aurochs               upwardly horned;

Fearsome fighter                     of fells and forests.


      A thorn in the heart                 is a thing to thole,

It lets a lover                           linger for longer.


      Oswald overlord,                       king of old,

On Bamburgh’s bargh                now lies he buried.


      The road is for riding               a roan red steed

Or wending your way                 with a wink and a smile


       The chene by the chimney         is cherished by all

It’s brightness and brilliance    bested by none.


      A gift from god                        is granted to those

Who’re balm for the blighted,    and better the poor.


      Wyn will wash                           your woes away

Free of sorrow,                         you’re safe and secure.


The Hail Eightsome

      Hail that’s hurled                     from heaven on high

Dashes the wheat                     and darkens the dawn.


      Need like night                         may numb the heart

Or stir the soul                        to stronger things


       In ice that’s buffed                  are inky images ;

A frosty floor                          is fine to the eye


       Years may age                           the youthful yeoman

Yet bring on wisdom                  to the wizard’s workings.


      Yew’s a tree that’s                    yeared and yarn-filled

Fast and firm,                           for the finest fittings.


      The perth it holds                              the precious perry

Tankards tilted                         and tapped in taverns.


      The she-elk shoulders               her shapeless sorrows

She lost her fawn                     to a frightful forester.


       Sile who spreads                       the sea with sunlight

Skimming across                       the sand-rimmed saltwater


The Tew Eightsome

        Tew the tireless                       trembling for battle

Steadfast star                         of the northern sky.


       Birch is barren                         bearing branches

Silver skinned                           with slender waist.


       Eigh when ridden                      ne’er ails nor aches

Highly honed                             well-hooved that horse.


       Man in mirth                             his mates does love

But tried and tested                 them could betray.


        Law does lie                                        from land to ship

That steed that sails                the savage surf.


      Ing was first                            our forebear, flagstaff

Brought by breakers,                floated not buried.


        Ethel our endless                      tradition and heirloom

Down-handed heritage              houses and castle.


       Day will drive off                      darkness and dyllth

Waking us warmly                     wanting us well.


The Oak Eightsome

      Oak who’s oldest                       owner of forests

Rugged and rigid                       right for the rigged one.


        The Ash does for arrows,          after-prey flying

Feathered and flighted,            finding the fiend.


      Yre and wrath                           wordless and wicked

Burns the heart                        and burdens the brain.


      The Ear’s a lug                          that listens and learns

It holds back the heart            and hastens the wit.


      Caulking the crannies                keeping off crabs  

Proofing with pitch                   the plank-built poop.


      Earth is irksome                       to peasant and earl

Their fated bed’s                     in that final field.


      Jaw may gape                           and jowls jade

As time tears by                      on its terrible trod.


      Yore was yester                        years are bygone

With tender tales                     of tetchy tests.


The Quearth Eightsome

       Quearth is quiet                       and quite unknown

          A useless rune                          that rails at writing.


       Zed’s the stone                         solid and silent

          Mighty marker                          on a mountain trail.


       Vixen dappled                           from den now darting

          chicken-seeking                        with sudden spring.


       The owzel sits                          on sycamore sprig

          with baleful glare                      at boastful bullfinch.


        That is that                                       and this is this     

          Let all live                                and life be long.


        Sugar will surely                       not shed any stones

          Try pork and poultry                 and parsnip soup.


       Measure the milestones            marking your path

Treading and tramping              the fellside track.          


        Arlaw the latest                       and last of the letters

          Finishes finally                          foots off the futhorch.







© Edwin Ramm 2014.
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Last updated: January 15th, 2014.