Copyright 2012 by Daniel Veach
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Beowulf: the fight with Grendel
…Then from the moors and the misty crags
Grendel came stalking. God’s wrath was upon him.
in the high hall. He crept through the clouds
to that place of wine and treasure
sheathed in beaten gold. He knew it well—
it was not the first time
he had sought out Hrothgar’s home.
In a rage, he tore through the iron-
ripped open the building’s mouth.
Now his tread fell on the decorated floor.
Heart filled with anger, from his eyes there gleamed,
like fire, an unlovely light.
Without delay, the monster seized
on a sleeping man, ripped him open
without resistance, bit through his joints,
drank the blood from his veins, and bolted
his flesh in huge, horrible chunks.
Before long the dead man had disappeared
right down to his hands and feet.
Now the creature began to creep closer,
reaching out with his claw.
Suddenly he clutched
at the stout-
lying still on his bed.
Beowulf sat bolt upright
quickly grabbed hold of the evil thing
and set his weight against its arm.
That master of murder now realized
he had never met, on this middle earth,
the grip of a stronger hand.
A mighty uproar broke out in the mead hall—
the brave Danes listened in wonder to the din
of that furious drinking bout. The building
rang out with the rage of the combatants.
It was a wonder the wine hall could withstand
the two terrible warriors, that the beautiful building
did not crumple and fall to the ground—
but it was held fast, inside and out, by iron bands,
the blacksmith’s cunning craftsmanship.
Now a sound rose higher, sending chills of horror
through every Dane around the wall
who heard that wail—it was the enemy of God
singing a terrible song, that Hell-
screaming in his pain.
A great, gaping wound tore his shoulder—
the sinews sprang apart
and the bone-