Gæscligcrymblingas, by Ariel Bolton



A is for Alhwin, whom nematodes ate

That’s not an untypical Old English fate

And Æ is young Ælfred, attacked by his thanes

B is for Byrhtnoth, beheaded by Danes

C is for Cynewulf, caught with a wench

D is for Dufenal, duped by the French

E is for Eormanric (Passed. So must you)

F is Finn’s in-laws, their numbers too few

G is for Grendel, who wasn’t well-armed

H is for Hrothgar, whom Grendel alarmed

I is Iohannes, gone off of his head

J’s Juliana, who’s boiled in hot lead

K is King Harthacnut’s ale-soaked convulsion

L is Pope Leo’s blind, tongue-less expulsion

M is for Monsters, maligned by the critics

N is when Nynian ran out of Pict-tricks

O is for Ottuel, who drank beyond reason

P is King Peada’s queen plotting treason

Q is for Quentavic, raided and dead

R is a Ruin, its lichen stained red

S is a Sparrow’s swoop into the night

T is for Tostig, his troops turned to flight

Ð is for Ðeodric, thrown from his throne

Þ is for Þryðhild, her deeds now unknown

U is for Ulfcytel’s ungracious host

V is for Vikings invading the coast

W’s a Waymunding, whiffed by a lizard

X is an Exile, exposed in a blizzard

Y’s for Ysopa, unwise when he charged in

Z’s a Zoomorphic grotesque in the margin

Heroes get bludgeoned, burned, boiled, even bitten

So may we all be: our wyrd’s fully written.


Ariel Bolton’s short stories have appeared in Flash Fiction Online and the anthology Myriad Lands.  She is currently based in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, where she tries to make a living with her PhD in medieval studies–an epic quest if ever there was one.  You can read her blog at arielbolton.com.


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