Can You Ken? XXII

Kennings nipping at your nose…

Today’s challenge is…

Jaw-lightning

What could be the lightning of a jaw?

The answer is, an insult! Yes, an insult is the lighting flash that comes from the jaw.

I’ve been teaching lately about senna, or flyting, or insult competition. The most famous example is in the poem Lokasenna, but senna can also be seen in Hárbarðsljóð and the second of the Helgi Hundingsbána poems.

It’s pretty interesting reading the senna poems to see what was used insultingly and what was not. There are many that attack the Old Norse concept of masculinity (see Carol Clover’s Regardless of Sex: Men, Women, and Power in Early Northern Europe), much centered around fighting, sex, and bravery.

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