A Song from the “Poetic Edda” – “The Last Poem of Guthrun”

This weekend, I released the first track from my new album, “Divan”. The word “divan” means “a collection of poems”. I called it this because the ten tracks on the album were inspired by very old – ancient – texts, many of them in the forms of verses or poems, that date from about the 24th century BC/BCE, to the year 1513 AD/CE. These texts are in the form of long-dead languages – hieroglyphics, Norse runes, Medieval Dutch, Feudal-era Japanese, Latin, etc. I translated and rewrote them, turned them into poems, and then turned them into lyrics.

“The Last Poem of Guthrun”

The first track to be released is “The Last Poem of Guthrun”. This song, a lament or dirge, is in Indie Pop/Alt Rock style, with Melodic Techno elements. The original text on which the lyrics of this song is based is in Old Norse, and is contained in Icelandic manuscript “The Poetic Edda” which dates from about 1270 AD/CE. It is called “The First Poem of Guthrun” – “Guthrunarkvitha I”. I reinterpreted this text in my lyrics, and named the song “The Last Poem of Guthrun”. The lyrics are about the death of the legendary Viking warrior, Sigurd (Siegfied in Germanic legends), and the grief of Sigurd’s wife, Guthrun, following his death.

The vocalist on the track is Ben Alexander; the bassist and bass producer is Luke Garfield, who also did the sound engineering.

Lyric video

Credits and production details are in the video.


The original text in Old Norse is a mighty long, dramatic, rambling saga of noble quests, murder and mayhem. I could only include a few ideas from the text in my lyrics, modern songs being as short as they are.

"The Last Poem of Guthrun" - Lyrics by Marthe Bijman
Verse 1
Guthrun was ready for death long ago.
By Sigurd’s body she sat in deep sorrow.
She did not weep, nor did she moan. 
She did not cry like others had, like they’d done.

 Refrain 1
Tears did not comfort her, her sadness stayed.
Her heart was pierced with pain like a blade.
Loudly the geese cry out, as they rise again,
while fires are lit for the end of a reign.

 Refrain 2
Tears did not bring comfort, her agony stayed.
Her heart was pierced with pain like a blade.
Loudly the geese cry out for all her grief,
for Sigurd the Warrior, who reigned well, but brief.

Verse 2 
Guthrun and Sigurd had a love like none other,
perfect in joy when they were still together.
Once a Valkyrie, now she’s a leaf, 
drifting and fallen down,
worthless and small without her crown,
she sings her last poem as the sun goes down. 

Next track: “King Unas Lives”

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