by Mark C. Watney
Why the folk-rage ?
Why the slither-schemes?
And why arise the earth-kings and elder-lings
Against Him and against his Holy-Oiled
Uttering Let us break the bands that bolt us
Let us un-chain unravel the royal reign.
The Over-God; the Great-sitter guffaws with glee
Then roars his word-hoard:
In terror they whimper and waste
before the Oiled-one: my Begotten, my Zion-rooted.
About Mark C Watney’s Anglo-Saxon Psalms (In Old English Alliterative Verse)
These psalms are inspired by my reading of the 11th century Old English Psalter. They are not translations, but rather, an attempt to re-capture the bold alliterative echoes found between the first and second half of each line of poetry. I have also tried to reproduce some of the “kennings” (compound words with which the Anglo Saxons loved to create new and blended images). Some of these kennings are footnoted back to the original Old English. Others I have created myself.
Mark Watney’s first poem was about a snail, published in a 1976 anthology of the best high school poetry in South Africa. Four decades later he published a 2nd poem– at the age of 56. And now, at age 60, he hopes to be finally hitting his stride. He says his brain is slowing down, yet seems to have finally acquired a certain poetic sensibility–perhaps as a consolation in old age. Mark is a professor of English at Sterling College, Kansas.
Publications since turning 56:
Dappled Things (First place, 2018 Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction), Avatar Literary Review, Saint Katherine Review, The Other Journal, Presence, Cider Press Review (forthcoming), and Acumen (short-listed).