Germanic verse

Old poetic forms

Lyricist Mark draw inspiration from Germanic poetry, which is inseparably linked to two typical stylistic devices: alliterative verse and kennings.

Alliterative Verse

The poetic form used by Germanic poets, that’s something special. As it relies on alliteration, it sounds very different from the rhyming masculine and feminine endings in common poetry – but not less euphonic! We call this alliterative verse or Germanic verse, the latter being our preference.

Stressed syllables should have the same initial sound. Per example: ”Germanic” alliterates with “manhood.” “Alliteration” alliterates with “risen”. These examples revolve around equal consonants. It should be noted that s-, sch-, sk-, sp- and st- must be considered as separate consonants. The different vowels also alliterate with each other. Thus “east” alliterates with “earth”. Sometimes an alliteration is hidden in the spelling. “Oasis” alliterates with “wonderful”. So the sound is leading, not the spelling. In the following examples, the alliterations are in bold.

The Germanic poetry comes in various verse forms. For example, Mark’s work is based on fornyrðislag and ljóðaháttr, the Old Metre and Song Metre respectively.

The Old Metre consists of four lines of verse. Each verse has two half-verses. Each half-verse has two stressed syllables. So we count four stressed syllables per verse line. The third stressed syllable then alliterates with one or both of the stressed syllables in the first half-verse. The fourth and last stressed syllable is excluded from alliteration with any of the stressed syllables of its own verse nor to the first stressed syllable of the following verse.

The Song Metre is the same with regard to the odd verse rules. The even-verse rules, however, only have three charges, two of which alliterate internally.


Furthermore, Germanic poets made extensive use of kennings. A kenning is a suggestive style figure to express things or beings. It usually consists of two words that together form a lively imagination. It should be noted that many kennings can only be understood within their mythical context and, consequently, only for initiates.

Under construction, more to come…