A kenning, that's derived from Norse and Anglo-Saxon poetry, is a stylistic tool described as a two-word phrase that describes an object thru metaphors. A Kenning poem is likewise described a riddle that consists of some traces of kennings, which describe someone or something in confusing detail. It is likewise defined as a “compressed metaphor,” which means meanings illustrated in a few words. For example, a two-phrase phrase “whale-road” represents the sea.
Characteristics of Kenning
A literary piece can be taken into consideration as a kenning instance if it possesses the following defining characteristics:
It is used to describe an object in detail.
The two elements of a compound word represent a relationship between topics and gadgets, which creates associations in an summary and concise way.
It is also called a compressed metaphor.
Examples of Kenning in Literature
Example #1: The Seafarer (By Ezra Pound)
“May I for my personal self song’s reality reckon,
Journey’s jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship continued oft.
Bitter breast-cares have I abided,
Known on my keel many a care’s hold,
And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent.
That he on dry land most adorable liveth,
List how I, care-wretched, on ice-bloodless sea,
Deprived of my kinsmen;
Over the whale’s acre, could wander wide
Eager and ready, the crying lone-flyer,
Whets for the whale-course the heart irresistibly.”
The Seafarer is one in every of the first-rate examples of kenning poems. Here, “whale-route,” “whale-road,” and “whale’s acre” talk over with the ocean. “Breast-hoard” refers to the coronary heart.
Example #2: Bone Dreams (By Seamus Heaney)
“… and its yellowing, ribbed
impression inside the grass —
¬a small ship-burial.
As useless as stone,
I contact it again,
I wind it in
the sling of mind
to pitch it at England
and comply with its drop
to peculiar fields …
within the tongue’s
vintage dungeons …”
This poem is likewise a superb example of kenning. Here, the words that are used as metaphors are “ship-burial,” “flint-find,” and “bone-house.” The two-word phrases supply descriptions of objects in an opportunity way. Though complex, kennings can make a poem greater enjoyable.
Example #3: The Oven Bird (By Robert Frost)
“There is a singer absolutely everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wooden bird,
Who makes the strong tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast…”
In the given instance, Frost has also hired kenning. For instance, “mid-timber” refers to a bird. And the second apparent kenning is “petal-fall,” which represents autumn or the fall season.
Example #4: North (By Seamus Heaney)
“I lower back to an extended strand
Were ocean-deafened voices
caution me, lifted again
in violence and epiphany…
turned into buoyant with hindsight—
it said Thor’s hammer swung
to geography and trade,
thick-witted couplings and revenges,
the hatreds and behind-backs
of the althing, lies and women,
exhaustions nominated peace…
It said, ‘Lie down
in the word-hoard, burrow
the coil and gleam
of your furrowed brain…”
Here again, Heaney has applied kenning. The two phrase phrases include: “ocean-deafened,” which refers to inaudible and warning voices, and different metaphors such as “thick-witted” and “word-hoard,” for erudition and books respectively.
Example #5: The Dream of the Rodd (By Caedmon and Cynewulf)
“Listen, I will tell the high-quality of visions,
what got here to me in the middle of the night,
while voice-bearers dwelled in rest.
It appeared to me that I noticed a more amazing tree…
That beacon changed into entirely … likewise there were five
upon the cross-beam. All those honest via creation.
Wondrous changed into the victory-tree, and I stained with sins,
wounded with guilts…”
This is an instance of kenning from an old Anglo-Saxon poem. Here, the phrases “voice-bearer,” “cross-beam,” and “victory-tree” serve as metaphors. These help in describing an item’s detail by using compound words.
Function of Kenning
Kenning is used as a poetic device, and its characteristic in poetry is to describe something in opportunity ways, so as to offer a richer and unique meaning. Kenning is related to dialects as well, wherein it works as a show off example of local or nearby dialect. Also, metaphorical usage of kenning makes the poetic language greater vibrant, and will increase thought-scary vocabulary. Hence, it tends to preserve readers engaged.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw