The Joiner Had a Vision of God’s Glory

Ice Crystals Escaping3131547281_9a1f8ef3af_o

Tell how you came to drudge in my kitchen
you child of the sheltering sky.
Who were your people?
Where did you get that hair, those blue eyes?
And that we’ll all of us be worms’-meat one day—
is that why you scoff at us?

The wildflowers were abashed
when the fountain burst from frozen ground
and the ice formed complicated branches
as if to demonstrate how much remained to be done.
They have scattered to the far fields,
and now must be counted again.

The roofer practices his trade,
he grows strong off his need for others.
The reseller of goods heard the drone of the chanting,
and the night grew pale.
The conference of geologists has been disbanded:
the earth is strong enough without them.

 

 

In the original:

Nu sculon herigean / heofonrices Weard
Meotodes meahte / and his modgeþanc
weorc Wuldor-Fæder / swa he wundra gehwæs
ece Drihten / or onstealde
He ærest sceop / ielda bearnum
heofon to hrofe / halig Scyppend
ða middangeard / moncynnes Weard
ece Drihten / æfter teode
firum foldan / Frea ælmihtig.

Apparent nonsense (old English, indeed), with a little thought and a pass through the autocorrect, the meaning becomes tolerably clear:

 nu scullion heritage / ionospheric Ward
Nematodes meat / and his mordancy
cower Elderflower / saw he tundra geyser
ice Dendrite / or demonstrate
He rest scope / afield renumber
hone to roofer / haling Dependency
a middleman / monotones Heard
eve Brighten / after geode
forum foldaway / Area might.

This, then, is a free translation of Cædmon‘s original.

Image: Ice Crystals Escaping by Len Burgess, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) license.

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