Laurel for Kudrun Pilegrim

This text was one of my first forays out of Norse poetics. Debate poetry was popular in the 12th century. The most well-known example of this poetry is the Owl and the Nightengale. Kudrun has since passed away, yet this remains one of my favorite pieces of poetry to date. She was a fine inspiration and a lovely human being, and I miss her.

Written in August 2014

Dawn broke o'er cliffs in Northshield fair

to find two creatures chatting there

For Siegfried, King, and Elizabeth, Queen,

Asked “what does being a Laurel mean?”

The griffin to the falcon said,

“I think Laurels should be well-read,

and books and stories often find.

Be rich of soul, and stout of mind!”

The falcon cried, “of course they should!

And also teach for common good!

Their knowledge spread throughout the land,

be generous with heart and hand.”

The griffin grinned, and said, “that’s true,

and espouse these qualities too:

Prowess, honor, and courtesy,

courage, and generosity.”

The pair agreed on all these things,

And so they told the queen and king,

“Kudrun Pilegrim, it’s been alluded,

this lady soon shall be included

in the Order of the Laurel.

For skills researchical and choral.

By our thought and estimation,

She is worthy of elevation.”

The sovereigns smiled, their thoughts confirmed

by griffin just and clever bird.

They said to Kudrun, “it is clear

by all accounts, you are a peer.

Acknowledged as a Laurel now,

we set this wreath upon your brow,

This moment forth, ‘til end of days,

You’ll guide, and serve, and light the way.

So closeth the tale, it is done

Though Kudrun’s story’s just begun.

A compass for our people, she

will be a light for all to see.


Based on the Owl and the Nightengale debate poetry.

Layout and Illumination by Ouyang Yingzhao, Calligraphy and Goldwork by Katerinka Lvovicha