My personal hearth culture is Gaulish, though there is some Nordic, Vedic, and Greek flavouring in my actual practice. For the most part, I use these other hearth cultures to fill in my own gaps and blanks.
In Celtic culture, the bard was known to create magic with his words: rhyme, song, and satire were all known (and often feared). The story of Bres and his poor hospitality was not unknown (see my article in
General Bardic Studies 1, Req. 3, for a discussion). The power that the bards had was amazing (imagine how much power one who could simply omit you from an oral history would have), and their potential power itself was possibly more magical than their actual power.
Poetry could be used to lure girls from their homes for trysts with bards (the SATOR squares were
rumored to have this power); it could raise boils on the head of a king (see Bres' example above); and it could elevate a skilled user in status (the bardic contests could create amazing fame).
In my own work, I rarely chant or sing, with the exception of the ADF Clergy Charm that I sing before every working. Partially, this charm refocuses my mind on both the gods and on my own ethics (it helps me to see clearly as I act).
Poetry is a different matter: though I cannot read poetry, I can write it given the rules and the technical specs I need to follow. For the majority of my poetic work, I simply follow syllabic rules to create a minimum flow: often, I will write the first line (or a key line) of an invocation or spell and then match the rest of the lines
syllabically to that line (i.e. if there are ten syllables in the key line, there will be ten syllables in all other lines). This is simple poetic form, and it is generally unpolished and rather crude, but it is still simple poetry.
I may also slip into a specific form of poetry or a particular device, such as iambics or alliteration or kennings or
onomatopoeia, but these are rare. Because I cannot read poetry, writing in it is a rather unfeeling exercise to me, and I am less able to express my feelings as I become more polished.
General Bardic Studies 1, Response 3