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Bardic Riddling

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Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 4
Location: Universe Q

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:36 pm    Post subject: Bardic Riddling Reply with quote

I think one of the things I love the most about The White Goddess is its surrealist construction of history as a series of riddles posed by bards, which a true poet can begin to unlock.

Is there any indication bards actually encoded riddles into their work?

I ask because I damn well know that skalds in Iceland did, and many people feel the Icelandic skalds were influenced by Celtic poets. Skaldic poetry is just wonderful for its mythological allusions and riddles built into complex kennings. By examining just a few skaldic poems, one can often reconstruct mythological episodes that are detailed nowhere else.

Idries Shah indicates that Sufis engaged in some kind of gematria-like puzzling with their own language, similar to what is done in cabala. I don't see the need to derive a Celtic analogy from these sources, but instead it seems likely that poets of complexity in their native tradition would find ways to make language wonderfully baroque.

The existence of the ogams in Book of Balleymote it seems to me points to some sort of Riddling / Mnemonic system, with multiple references branching out.

What do people think of this?
"Bashir : So which of the lies were true?
Garak : My dear doctor, all of them."

Garak : Well, the truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination.

Garak : Mr. Worf, lying is a skill like any other and must be practiced to be perfect.
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