Well, with the first of these image modifications, I run across the problem of copyright again. I will settle for just saying that the image of Frodo is from a Lord of the Rings movie poster, the text is mine. The second image and text are all mine. If you prefer poetry straight, the sonnets by themselves are printed below. Melkor is the angelic spirit that rebelled against Iluvatar, of whom Sauron is only a servant.
The first poem is an imagined part of the conversation that Bilbo had with Frodo as he gave him the sword Sting and the mithril coat in Rivendell, when he also famously, and rather startlingly in the movie, flipped out.
The second poem is an imagined conversation between Galadriel and Frodo as they meet to go to the Grey Havens in the newly redeemed shire at the end of the Return of the King.
My dear Frodo, I did not ever dream
To be my heir would mean so dark a road.
But adventures are never as they seem
In tales, wholly self-chosen. The load
Unsought is given, then sealed in our choosing.
But with the load the Unseen Giver also gives
Graces and Beauty to soothe the losing
Of homely things. So take now as you leave
Fair Mithril for without, and for within
Fair memories of sunlit days and friends,
Of glorious Elder Days, of Elves and Men
In darkness fighting for a brighter End.
Despair not. Whisper with your final breath,
If Night falls, Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!
F R O D O
Dear Elf-friend we meet well under these trees
That bloom in part because of sorrow borne
By you and of the love and toil of he
Who, tender, bore you up, who soon will mourn
That you cannot savor the fruits of joy
Which bloom in field and hearth since Elven-home
Has stretched to bless the Shire. For pain alloys
Each joy you feel vicariously alone.
But know your pain has brought you close to me.
You feel the holy ache we feel who knew
Undying Light beyond the Sundering Seas.
You will be healed. The root of Melkorís fall
Will die and Iluvatar be All in All.
The imagined monologues in these sonnets both take place in Rivendell. And, hence, the picture above, which is actually J. R. R. Tolkien’s own version in pen and ink and watercolor. I should say watercolour. It is definitely very stylized, but I like it. Oh, “Iluvatar” is from The Silmarillion, a book detailing the early history of Middle Earth. It is the name of God.
Elbereth is one of the names of Varda who is spouse of one of the Valar, or spirits through whom Iluvatar creaes and upholds the world. She functions as analogue to the Virgin Mary and is revered by the Elves.
Gandalf to Bilbo as the Fellowship Leaves
My dear Bilbo, you know it must be so;
The burden has moved on. It came to you
For one purpose alone, for him to go,
Full-knowing of the Dark he must walk through,
To give it up into the Cracks of Doom.
For you it was a treasure far too great.
And taken once again it would consume
You from within. And even now it waits,
Subdued within these holy walls, to rise
Again and chain the neck on which it hangs,
And drag it to the Dark where its lord lies.
Your task must be to wait, not hear the clang
Of swords, but help to bear the pangs of fear,
To plead the Grace of Elbereth be near.
Elrond to Bilbo as They Leave for the Grey Havens
Dear, faithful tenant of my homely house,
Who melds the joys of Shire and Elven-home,
The time has come. The secret power aroused
Through you was raised ever to be cast down.
But its failing also begins the end
Of all things, foul or fair, wrought by the Rings
Of Power. This home I made to blend
The Good of Middle Earth with holy things
Must also pass. So, Ringfinder, now come
And taste the Joy for which we long have ached.
The homely joys we leave, as such, are done,
But, I perceive, Iluvatar shall take
Up each reflected image of His face
And make anew a joyous, homely place.
The following is a blog repeat for a slow blog week, but hopefully it will be new to some of you all. It is part of a larger sonnet cycle dedicated to the Ringbearers in the Lord of the Rings.
Smeagol a ringbearer? Well, yes and no. He physically bore the ring, but could not bear to resist the temptation it proffered, and so it enslaved him to his ultimate ruin. In my sonnet cycle, which needs revision to make it more accurate, each of the true ringbearers, Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, have two sonnets, a “before” and “after” vis a vis the ring, if you will. I gave Smeagol/Gollum only one sonnet, because, of course, there was no “after” for him.
This sonnet is an imagined plea from either one of Smeagol’s relatives shortly after he got the ring and began his murderous spiral towards damnation or a plea by Gandalf when he imprisoned Gollum for the good of Middle Earth, and it should be added for the good of Gollum. Admittedly, the language rather heavy-handedly makes connections to the Christian faith, but I do not think this is an unwarranted tack to take.
Ok, that was meant to be the sound of a cymbal being hit.
This is all to celebrate the addition of two new blogs to my blogroll. The first is the final flatmate holdout to the blog world finally surrendering. Sweet Chicken! This is sure to be a delightful, punnerific blog. Stop in and say hello to Nathan.
Next is Transpacificism the blog of Travis Scott, who you may have seen emceeing Friday Nights at the Institute for the Francis Schaeffer Institute a few years ago. Make sure to check out Travis’ articles on music, movies, and culture under the heading “Articles and Talks.”
Incidentlly the Francis Schaeffer Institute, as always, has a good line-up for this Fall.
-by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Here is a link to some remarkable comments by John Rhys-Davies relating the war against Islamic extremism and the Lord of the Rings. I am particularly pleased with my comment on this post, so I thought I would post a link to post and comments. Jump in if you like.
Or perhaps this is just a sneaky way to get you to check out my favorite film reviewer. No, I eschew sneakiness! Or am trying to more and more anyway.
Here is his movie review blog (Updated frequently).
Here is his main reviews page, which includes books and music. Jeffrey is a huge Sam Phillips and Over the Rhine fan.
And an article about him.
These are excerpts from a poem I once wrote:
is it where you hang your hat
or where your heart is…
i only know to travel is to yearn
and i am always travelling…
In reality, I do not travel literally much at all. I do yearn a lot for home, though. I am beginning to understand that while this yearning may be significantly met here on earth, I make the concept of home into an idol if I believe it can be fully met in any earthly context. This is a hard truth to learn and accept.
Nonetheless, after a very nice time in the home of my brother and sis-in-law with three wee ones, who at this moment as I write are nestled all snug, in comfort and the care of their parents, who in turn are nested in the care of the Parent of them all, it was good to get back to my home. More importantly it was good to realize that it is my home, and in just a few minutes I will go into my soon-to-be-unmessy room, turn out the light, and nestle all snug myself, in the palm of the same good hands.
I dug up the poem from the post above, which was the ending to the long journey poem of which the first two bits appeared in Catapult not too long ago. This piece is about coming back to the U.S. after being away for a year. I have reworked it a little.
is it where you hang your hat
or where your heart is
what is this coming?
i do not know
amidst so much that is known
which pretends at newness
in these arms so long unknown
that i embrace in newness
am i home?
i do not know
i only know
to travel is to yearn
and i am always traveling