Kari Maaren

Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off

Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic poem about a hero who fights three monsters, finally succumbing to injuries incurred in the final fight.  This song is from the perspective of the first monster, Grendel.  Yes, I do realise that Beowulf was actually not "roasted' by the dragon, but "Beowulf went and got bitten on the neck by a poisonous dragon and later died of his wounds after making an improbably long speech" doesn't scan.


Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off
I was just a kid
On the wide bleak moor
And I had a longing for
Sitting on the gift-throne,
Lurched to the hall on a cold dark night,
Killed the people inside,
And I got to sit there all alone.
Somehow, this didn’t really go over well;
They called me hell-spawn, dunno why.
I only ate thirty guys every night,
No real idea why they kept coming by.
Twelve years went by,
Twelve years went fast.
I admit that I
Thought the danger past
Till they called in an expert.
And he laid in wait, waiting in the dark,
Waiting till I jumped him.
And the fight raged fast, and the fight raged slow,
And the fight was done, and you already know that

Beowulf pulled my arm off
In the hall, in the hall.
Beowulf pulled my arm off.
It doesn’t matter at all.
It doesn’t matter at all.

So I wandered down
To the mere to die,
Would’ve rather that I was
Sitting on the gift-throne.
Here’s the thing: when he fought me there,
What he actually did
Was to leave my mother all alone.
She didn’t take it calmly at all;
Stormed to the hall and killed some guy.
So Beowulf chased her down to the mere,
Borrowed a sword and jumped in: waved goodbye.
And down he went
To certain death;
I’m not sure how
He held his breath,
But that’s not in the story.
And he made it to where my mother lived,
And they had another battle,
And it all got pretty confusing then,
But the bit that you need to know happened when

Beowulf stabbed my mother
In the mere, in the mere.
Beowulf stabbed my mother:
You see what’s happening here.
Can you see what’s happening here?

In some other land,
Fifty years went past,
And then it was Beowulf
Sitting on the gift-throne,
Known as a wise and a mighty king.
No more monsters to be slain;
He just ruled the kingdom all alone
Until some dragon went and burned the place down;
Then Beowulf’s crown left him kind of stuck.
He had to take a dozen guys off on a quest
Down to the dragon’s lair, creeping through the muck.
Thirteen ran mightily
To the cave;
Too bad that only
Two were brave;
It became quite a problem.
So the men hung back, and they hemmed and hawed
Till the fight was nearly over.
Just the king and this kid named Wiglaf fought,
And you probably know, though possibly not, that

Beowulf went and got roasted
In the cave, in the cave.
Beowulf went and got roasted;
The situation was grave.
The situation was grave.

People keep asking me, “What’s the deal with Beowulf?
He killed you pretty quickly, and that wasn’t fair.
Doesn’t that make you mad, doesn’t that make you wish
You could do it all again, or don’t you care?
He destroyed your life;
He stabbed your mum in your very own home.”
And I say, “Yeah, but hey,
I’m in an epic poem!
I’m in an epic poem.”

Beowulf pulled my arm off
In the hall, in the hall.
Beowulf pulled my arm off.
It doesn’t matter at all.
It doesn’t matter at all.

Beowulf pulled my arm off
In the hall, in the hall.
Beowulf pulled my arm off.
It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter.
Despite the spatter, it doesn’t matter.
And you are forced to read about me for your first-year English course, and so
It doesn’t matter at all!

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Content copyright Kari Maaren 2013
Images copyright Kari Maaren, Phil Mills, Erik Mohr, and Karl Stahl 2013