Being Good Friday and at a fairly traditional church, it's been a busy (yet wonderfuly inspiring!) day.
So for your consideration a bit from one of my most favourtie finds when Iw as studying Anglo Saxon poetry.
The Dream of the Rood
(here in translation)
Hwæt, I will recount the best of dreams,
which I dreamed in the middle of the night,
after speech-bearers turned to rest.
It seemed to me that I saw a most wondrous tree,
the brightest of rood-trees, extend aloft
encircled by light. That sign was completely
covered with gold; jewels stood
beautiful, at the surface of the earth;
likewise there were five
up on the shoulder-beam. Many hosts of angels
- fair by their pre-ordained condition -
gazed thereupon; nor was that indeed a criminal's cross,
but holy spirits, men over the earth,
and all this famous creation gazed upon it.
Wondrous was the tree of victory, and I with sins stained,
wounded sorely with blemishes. I saw the tree of glory
beautifully shine, adorned in its covering,
adorned with gold; jewels
But still through that gold I was able to perceive
the earlier enmity, as it had immediately begun
to bleed on the right half.
I was completely afflicted with sorrows;
I was fearful because of that beautiful vision.
I saw that shining sign
change covering and colour;
sometimes it was made moist with blood,
drenched with blood's flow,
sometimes adorned with treasure.
But yet I lying a long time there
gazed at the Saviour’s troubled tree,
until that I heard it call out;
the best wood began then to speak words:
"That was years gone by - I still remember -
that I was hewn down at the forest's edge,
cut out of my tree trunk. Strong foes took me there,
shaped me there for themselves in the form of a spectacle,
commanded me to raise their criminals.
Warriors carried me there on shoulders,
until that they set me on a hill;
many foes fastened me there. I then saw mankind's Lord
hasten with great zeal; he wished to climb on me.
There I then darest not bow nor burst
contrary to the Lord's word when I saw earth's surface
trembling. I would have been able
to kill all foes but I stood firm.
The young hero stripped himself - that was God almighty -
strong and unflinching; he stepped up on the high cross,
brave in the sight of many, where he wished to redeem mankind.
I trembled when the Warrior embraced me; nor did I dare,
however, to bow down to the earth,
to fall to the surfaces of the earth. But I had to stand firm.
As a rood I was erected; I raised the powerful King,
the Lord of heavens; I dared not bow myself down.
They drove through me with iron-coloured and sinister nails:
on me the wounds are visible,
the open malicious wounds; neither dared I to injure any of them.
They mocked us two both together. I was completely stained with blood,
covered from the man's side after he had released his spirit.
I had endured on that hill
severely stretched out. Shades of night had
covered with clouds the Lord's corpse,
the bright radiance; shades went forth
dark under the sky. All creation mourned,
bewailed the king's fall; Christ was on the cross.