The Old Norse Rune Poem

Rune poems were created as mnemonic aids for remembering the rune symbols, their names, meanings and properties. Here is a very old Runic poem:

  • Fe 

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

  • Ur 

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

  • Thurs 

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

  • As 

Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords.

  • Reidh 

Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses;
Reginn forged the finest sword.

  • Kaun 

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

  • Hagall  

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

  • Naudhr 

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

  • Isa 

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

  • Ar 

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

  • Sol 

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

  • Tyr 

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

  • Bjarkan 

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

  • Madhr  

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

  • Logr

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

  • Yr

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

From: Runic and Heroic Poems by Bruce Dickins

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