Two Old English Riddles for Christmas
Translated by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Storm at Sea
Sometimes I plunge through the press of the waves Unexpectedly, delving to the earth, The ocean bed. The waters ferment, Sea-horses foaming.
The whale-mere roars, fiercely rages, Waves beat upon the shore; stones and sand, Seaweed and saltspray, are savagely flung Against the dunes when, wrestling Far beneath the waves, I disturb the earth, The vast depths of the sea. Nor can I escape My ocean bed before he permits me who is my pilot On every journey. Tell me, wise man: Who separates me from the sea's embrace, When the waters become quiet once more, The waves calm which before had covered me?