In the modern Middle Ages, I am Thegn Dyfn ap Meurig y Pencerdd, the Seated Bard of Bryn Madoc. I have had several mentors who have given me inspiration both in history and in poetry, but three in particular put me in the place I am now: chronicling the history of Bryn Madoc, and encouraging poetic endeavors of the populace thereof.
I am man-at-arms to Baron Hywel, who helped me begin to find my niche in the SCA. It was with his help that I started to find traction with my Saxon bardic research.
His successor, Baron Gwydion, thrice-gifted me. First, he made me the first Muse of Madoc, a baronial award celebrating artistic endeavors. Next, he bestowed upon me a name: Pencerdd (“Master of Song” in Welsh), the title of a ruler’s chief poet. Lastly, he gave me a seat in his court – an honor his successor has not yet seen fit to revoke.
Finally, there is the founding Baron Bryn Madoc, AEdward, whose thankless efforts to archive some four decades of SCAdian history gave me both material to mine and the inspiration to make the attempt.
Developing the sinecurial role of a minor court officer, my interest both in the position of the court bards of old, together with my interest in the unfolding history of the SCA, led me to incorporate some the former into the process of preserving the latter.
In the SCA, bard is the default term for a singer, poet, musician or storyteller. A bard is a performer, an entertainer.
Beyond that, there are as many views of what makes an SCA bard as there are artists.
I have chosen to explore a more specific view with my bardic persona: reconstructing and adapting the bardic job description based upon the writings and legendry of early period bards, scops, and skalds. These, too, entertained, but they were also historians, chroniclers, social commentators, and keepers of law and tradition.
I feel every bard who wishes to be more than a fireside minstrel should take as their duty these three things: to witness, to remember, and to remind.
As Pencerdd and Seated Bard, I endeavor to encourage the poetic arts in my barony, in hopes that happy and noble actions of our fine folk will be fixed in verse to remind ourselves, and those who come after, what we were about and why we spent our days in this game.
For more of where I'm coming from, check out this handout on the early period bard.