NaPoWriMo: Poem – Kennings – Vallinella – “Mermaid- Creature”


And finally, our prompt (optional, as always)! Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. If you’re looking for examples, you can find one that Vince wrote here and a different example here. Happy writing!

Please see NaPoWriMo for more information. A Vallinella has a rhyme scheme of aba aba aba aba aba abba.


Ocean-dweller, belle wave- surfer,

Tide-drifter, a seaweed-eater,

Half-woman, fish-legs, egg-birther,


Treasure-collector, oceanic – worth,

Seashell-comb, seashell-bust, sweeter.

Shark-tamer, legendary-curse.


Beauty-fish, plankton-biter, search.

Tiny-fish-eater, a man-eater?

Drowner of surface-walker, worst.


Water- woman, seeker-of -worth,

Gill-breather, and ocean-drifter,

Feet-wisher, mammal-fish, girl-cursed.


Torso-woman, beauty-birther,

Man-drowner, and sailor-sleeper,

Sirene-kin, folklore-maid at first.


Salted-skin, dreamer-fish, surges.

Walking-fish, fairytale-wisher,

Sweet-girl, sailor-terror, whispers.

Secret-keeper, courage-maid, lures.


Pirates of the Carribean 4: Mermaid Scene

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

8 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo: Poem – Kennings – Vallinella – “Mermaid- Creature”

  1. clcouch123 April 21, 2016 / 12:29 am

    Once again, I admire the way you craft the rhyming here. I am reminded of your story of Talise. If in that story, there were a siren song, I think this would be it. The attraction and the danger of the mermaid are detailed here in a sonorous way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mandibelle16 April 21, 2016 / 12:37 am

      Thank you Christopher. Indeed, I’be been working on the next chapter of my novel. But when I thought of this I was much more thinking of the scene at the bottom of the post from Pirates of the Caribbean. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂


  2. jademwong April 21, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    Ooh I love your descriptions of a mermaid. You came up with some really creative and out of the box phrases.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mandibelle16 April 21, 2016 / 4:14 pm

      Thanks Jade. I love kennings they are neat. If you have ever read the very old story of Beowulf, which many students study in English, it is one of the first known pieces of literature to use kennings. Glad you enjoyed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • jademwong April 21, 2016 / 4:34 pm

        I actually never read Beowulf, but it’s been on my list of books to read. I’ve always been fascinated by the story. Thanks for the recommendation ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

      • mandibelle16 April 21, 2016 / 4:55 pm

        Yeah, there is an excellent movie with Angelina Jolie in it too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Annie April 23, 2016 / 3:49 am

    Clever! I love how your mind works. Full of imagination. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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