Beowulf by Bonfire 2021

Twenty-five of us gathered around a roaring bonfire to read a ninth-century, Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney.  The night was cold, the readers were animated, the moon was luminous, and the Korean pancakes, pumpkin bread, s’mores, “mead,” and hot pizza were glorious. Many thanks to Avery Hill for the inspiration and to Oxford students for their adventurous spirits!

“Beowulf is my name” l. 343

“That great heart rested” l. 1799

So he did not balk / once Hunafling / placed on his lap / Dazzle-the-Duel, / the best sword of all.” l. 1141-43

“Meanwhile, the sword
began to wilt into gory icicles,
to slather and thaw. It was a wonderful thing,
the way it all melted as ice melts
when the Father eases the fetters off the frost
and unravels the water-ropes. He who wields power
over time and tide: He is the true Lord.” l. 1605-10

Another setback. l. 2680

“Many a spear dawn-cold to the touch / will be taken down and waved on high” l. 3021-22