Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

June 17, 2006

Gods of Poetry (part two): Saga

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 11:26 pm

The first part to this series is here: Gods of Poetry (part one). In that post, the poetry gods Bragi, Erato, Aengus, and Leanan Sidhe are touched on. Here in part two, we have Saga. When complete or further along, I will make an index, and place it at the bottom of each part, so that navigation is easy.

We know of the Norse goddess Saga, because the following verse appears in Poetic Edda, where the dwellings or halls are itemized:


Sökkvabekk the fourth is named
oe’r which
the gelid waves resound;
Odin and Saga there,
joyful each day,
from golden beakers quaff.


I will be going to Norway in August, and from Oslo up into the Arctic Circle to Lofoten. The waves around here in New England can get quite gelid at certain times of the years, so cold cold colder there.

Sökkvabekk is a sinking floor, or the sunken hall. The fjords of Norway can easily bring with them the idea of great halls by the ocean, to be thought of as representative of a quintessential sunken hall. And there, each day, come Odin and Saga, to drink from golden beakers.

Saga is thought to be Odin’s daughter, and here we have that offspring lineage to the great male god, that we have with Bragi in relation to Odin, Erato in relation to Zeus, and Aengus in relation to Dagda. We Christians know how this can work, how close this relationship is, the “aspect” the offspring brings, the Son in relation to the Father. Being a mortal inspired by such a godhead, indicates a near-direct line to the greatest most awesome wonder and being, something a human cannot behold or comprehend. So the offspring is the most powerful line humanly tolerable and therefore possible. This, it seems, is only one part of why Saga has become a god of poetry.

She may also be Odin’s wife, Frigg, enjoying a daily interlude with her husband. Frigg’s Hall, the Ocean Hall, is much like the Sunken Hall of Saga, with the gelid waves. Frigg, associated with water, weaves the clouds, for instance.

I am more apt to think that Saga is differently named, because she has a different aspect. And maybe this aspect, is better thought of in an analogy, that Saga is to Frigg the Mother, as Jesus is to God the Father. The resulting Daughter/Father relationship on the sinking floor, becomes a remarkable way of meditating on how a too-awesomely powerful, incredibly-high god may find joy in Earth, and why such godlike things as poetry would come presented to humans. Another way to look at the analogy is that Saga the Daughter is to an accessible fjord, as Frigg the Mother is to the vast ocean.

The hall floor is sinking, an indication that through time, the relation between Odin and Saga, will come very close to Earth, or very much closer, such that such high inspiration will not seem as remote as it does in our current everyday existence. A sort of prophesy of an aspect of heaven, if not on, at least very near our Earth. This was where the Modern movement was headed, before being derailed by the horrifics of such events as the Holocaust last century, the escalation instead of the recession of the terrible, what led into our Postmodern times, if that is where we still come from artistically.

For some, Saga, “the seeing one,” is considered more a goddess of history, as the quaff would be water, an indication of the waters of memory, circumstance, and the flow of life. Certainly from Frigg we have the rain of life. But, we have joy involved also, and this is not such a common aspect of the study of history that it would be mentioned in such a short telling verse. This is more an indication that the quaff could be spiked or not even have gerid water in it, that what may be bestowed or a catalyst to joy, is something like the mead, or maybe wine, of poetry. The gold beaker indicates usual tableware for the gods, but carries mystic, religious, high-rite significance to us here on Earth.

Shoring up Saga as a god of history, the quaff may indeed be thought of as having some water in it, or of all of it being water. The waters of the gods are the essences of life on Earth, and may represent truth, the truth being told. The gerid waves are certainly representative of time, the ebb and flows of history, Saga’s name as coming from the same root as the literary saga. We have two aspects of Saga, god of poetry and history, plus the idealistic merging of these two toward Truth.

And yet, in support of the quaff being other or more than water, with such cold conditions of Sunken Hall, a quaff of some warmth would be in order. When we think of Saga, and identify with her, taking her quaff in, we are sharing the everyday joy of what is most high in Earthly existence. This identity makes her a very good inspiration for all women, not only heterosexual. All women poets are daughters. And yet all male poets too, or at least the Christian ones, should have no problem with Saga in this setting as an inspirational ideal, since we are all aspects of the Bride of the Christ.

Shopping for a Father’s Day Card



While at work today, I decide to shop for a Father’s Day card, and to make this blog post about it, an idea that followed on a conversation with Deb Powers last night.    We had spoken of the varieties of poetry in our culture, and the possibility of this venture into greeting card aisles was expressed as a possibility, in lark form.

My plan is to go to a Hallmark store in a mall, and if they do not have a good one, there would be other card stores around.    But a customer of my own keeps me an hour after closing, and I do not get out of work until 7:00pm.    So I go just across the street from the car dealership to Sears Essentials, where they have American Greetings cards.    While parking, I resolve that if anyone else is looking for the right card, I will strike up conversation.

Looking down the card aisle, I spot the cardboard sign sticking out high off a card shelf, “Father’s Day,” and walk down.    First one I see has a monkey with two hearts by its head, and think how some little boy is affectionately referred to as a monkey, and that would be perfect–or who would buy that card?    There is a cute dog one, cards from “both of us,” and “all of us.”    Many say “Daddy” which I have never called my dad (but a poet cannot go for that anyway after Plath).

There is a section for cards from kids, cards from little girls, ones for father-in-laws and grand-fathers.    A good-looking card says, “King of His Castle” but he lives alone.    All those cards, and I have no reason to open any of them.    They are for different fathers than mine.    Card shopping is turning into a ballgame.    I should open some of them up, and start reading.    Ah, here is one in the “son” section:

Some sons
never find a way
to tell their
fathers how
they feel.

I’m proud to be
your son.

Okay, so this one is for the son who has difficulty telling a father how he feels, and the big feeling that needs telling is pride. Hopefully it helps the two of them.    Not for me, though.

Oh, here’s one:

A key to
a happy family life
is having a great
dad like you.

Logically, that is true.    He is a great dad, and because of his influence, I have raised my kids to have a happy family life.    But, he is not the kind of dad who would be around my family, so the intent of the card is not for my father.    And the focus is not what I want to say.    What do I want to do, like Deb said last night, maybe bring a tear to his eye?    I don’t know now.    Why?    I think not. . . . A woman is coming down the aisle.

I scope all the rows and columns, and there are not many more cards left.    It may be time for the mall after all.    Looking down, I see that I have missed an entire bottom shelf of promising cards, just for the occasion. I turn to my right, to where the woman has passed me to, and is looking at the top shelf.

I squat to where there is a handsome card with a duck and some shells on it.    It says “Thinking of You with Love” on the front.    I open it up:

It’s nice that there are days like this
for letting people know
The things we feel within our hearts
but all too seldom show.
So though this comes on Father’s Day,
It’s meant for all year through,
And it’s filled with love
that’s always felt especially for you.

Father’s Day

My first thought is on how wordy it is, how it does not get to the point.    And I know I am critting as if it were trying to go into the canon.    But, furthermore, if I give him this one, I am all set with, not only telling him I love him, but even seeing him at all, for another year or so.    I could sign it, “Call me if something comes up, With Love.”    And here is that theme showing up again, of not telling a father how one feels.

I spot another card.    This one is off white, almost parchment yellow.    It has a nicely-done greeting card drawing of an old mill house, with a water wheel in a stream, all within a lush woodsy landscape, as his town of Pepperell can get.    It says above the drawing:

Happy Father’s

With this verse below:

The love of
a caring dad
is one of
the greatest
life can

Alrighty.    We’re onto something here.    Now, for what is inside:

How wonderful having
a father like you
And knowing your love’s
always there,
Remembering the good times,
the laughter and caring,
Enjoying the fun we share.
How wonderful having
a father like you
Who’s helpful and thoughtful
and dear–
The kind who is always
admired and respected
And loved even more
every year.

Darn it. I would love to get a card that expresses sentiments that zero in on my father like that one does–for someone else’s.    The second stanza of “How wonderful” took the sentiment too far.    While I was growing up, my family became a broken one in my parent’s divorce, with lines drawn where sides are still taken, with bad feelings and bad moves still expressed.    It is disingenuous to go with the “always” and I certainly cannot cross that word out.

Oh, here is a good-looking card. A burgundy red, with a more crimsony one-inch wide ribbon centered down the card, a valentine of gold paisleys on the top part of the ribbon.    Above the ribbon, it says in gold lettering, “On Father’s Day.”    On the ribbon reads this verse in gold:



[valentine here]






heart . . .

But what’s inside?    That paisley heart at the top of the page, but this time it is the crimsony burgundy color, a wine color really, on an off-white paper, and this verse just below:

. . . because

you’re thought about

this Father’s Day

and always.

Have a Great Day

That wish for his great day is in large script.    This is the one.    I grab it and head for the check out.

As I walk to the car I realize that I never struck up a conversation with the woman who was shopping for a card herself.    She seemed pleasant.    But I was too involved with this personal event, and yet a personal event I should not mind sharing here.

The tribute to my father really comes in all the reflection, even the assessment of our relationship. I was reading verse and trying to apply it to my life and his.    It is not really the thought that counts, but this tribute reflection, this personal time of seeking verse.

I have four kids myself, and I expect that one or more will honor me with a card.    My oldest son is good for the humorous ones, but the mark still needs to be hit.    He knows it, and I know he knows it.    So when the card is given, the sentiment of the card is one thing, what means more is that it was chosen, the whole shopping for it.

I get onto Route 38, to be home in about ten minutes, and have no idea how long it took me to select the card. Time check–about five, ten minutes tops.    Cool.    It wasn’t a ball game after all.



Blog at