Friday, December 31, 2010

Tim Romano's "Wanderer"

Searching for a digital text of my favorite Anglo-Saxon poem, "The Wanderer," I stumbled across a new verse translation by Tim Romano. I have never heard of Tim Romano, but I like this version better than any other I have read. Excerpts:

A haven awaits
the homeless soul
waters serene
though wretchedly
on the ocean's lanes
long must he work the oars
in a wintry sea
fare as a fugitive.
Fate is decreed.
So said the exile
anguish recalling
ruthless killings
how his kinsmen fell.

. . .

on this dark earth
walls are standing—
homes overlaid
with layers of ice
halls falling apart
the powerful lying
their bliss all broken
brave ones fallen
proud by the wall.
War claimed some
and bore them away.
The water-bird took one
over high seas.
The hoary wolf
dealt one his death.

. . .

Where now the horse?
Where now the rider?
Where now the ring-giver?
Where now the high seats?
Where the hall-joys?
O bright chalice!
O chain-mailed warrior!
O the dignity of the people!
How those days went
to naught under night's helm
as though they had never been.

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