From: The Brimston Worm

 

Giles Goodland


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dawn.

 

 

 

Thus yn darkhood the drightmen      dredden                   

 till at ughten an underwynd      uprose

 & budbyrds bewoke      yn beardtrees,

 the donkand dew      draped of leves,

 & fenfyres      flut.

 

 

 

Rothead appears.

 

 

 

Thei heared a huscht      hove thurgh                                 

 the grimful gryndle      als Rothead grobbed,

 hwuffyng lyke a hweyblooden      hwimlyng

 a wylfen, a wilder      or an aelwiht,

 a gigant, a gorge,      a hellgast.

 

 

 

They see it breathe.

 

 

Behield thei yts beasten      blead.                                       

Yts swoty snuffers      sweald

as yt snufted & smeld      & smired.

Yt gnasted gogmagogytall      golls

& toclatterd yts twaytoothen      tutel

as gramelie the gagril      toweard theim glod.

 

 

 

 It sees them.

 

 

 

Allatonce agrose      the astonyng wyrm.           

Sighlentlie yt slithed      & swole.

Yts pizzel paggled      pulpilie als

serpentlich yt slipperd      screwways

& cwark, cwark     yt uglie quod.

 

 

 

It advances upon them.

 

 

 

Hard & hask      als hundfisch                              

wyth writhlich wrizzlen      wrats

& foul flesch yn      foreteeth

yt clove asundir clowds      of cley

& yts horie loom heng      hyndlong.

 

 

 

Mooncow flees.

 

 

 

Yn a swime to sen      the spitpoyson 

Mooncow bived & blutherd      bawways.

Cowherdlie he cwekt      & crang

then arghlie awaped      arselyng

elsehwither, hys eddres      embladderd.

 

 

  

Of Ofmach's armour.

 

 

 

Uplie Ofmach unyarked      hys umbrere,                            

hys chaul & hys chyn wyth      chayns bond.

Bedight he was wyth breastlet      & badelar.

The glisch on hys graith      dyd gloze

& truelie to tel      he trimbeld for dred.

 

 

 

He unsheathes his sword

 

 

 

Hondled he hardlie      hys helve                                         

& husked the hornen      handel.

Begirden wyth a barben      bistourie

impen wyth herd yren & harnischt      hys

cnife he cnotcht      yn cnightweed.

 

 

 

and fights Rothead.

 

 

 

Then fierced the funestall      foemates.              

Ofmach hys gomegraith      glentyng

he foind hys fist wyth      the sweord forn

but the wyver waived      & wered

& uplie areard yts atteren      anleth.

 

 

 

 

 


Kater Murr's Press, Piraeus Series, 2005. 
Copyright © Giles Goodland, 2005
Cover image: ‘Giant Worm’ copyright © M.J. Weller, 2005
This text was previously published on the Great Works website; reprinted
with the kind permission of Peter Philpott / Great Works.
Mike Weller’s cover image is derived from his frontispiece to
‘The Passing of Beowulf’ (Beowulf Cartoon, Writers Forum, 2004).