Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste Brought death into the World, and all our woe – Or, At the Apple Farm

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Of Twinkies and Fruitcakes – Hostess Holiday Fruitcake

A few weeks ago nutritionists everywhere must have rejoiced to hear of the sinking of Hostess Brands, makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Cup Cakes, and Wonder Bread, amongst many other titles. It is almost impossible to conceive that the rights to produce these iconic products will not be picked up by someone else, however bad that might be for the obesity epidemic. I wonder, though, no pun intended, whether anyone will choose to pick up Hostess Holiday Fruitcake?

I got the cake above in a overstock store for the low, low price of $1.49. And, the verdict. Well, I must say that I was surprised at how decent it actually was. The consistency was just right, with a good selection of fruit. With some additional spices (nutmeg to name one) and some brandy added it would actually be quite good. Shock and surprise.

I have written about fruitcake at greater length here.

St. Dalfour Earl Grey – A Tea as Delicate as its Name

I have long enjoyed Earl Grey tea but only recently have begun to notice some of the nuances of different brands. Some like Bigelow are, for lack of a better descriptor, almost musky and strong. I have been enjoying some delightfully light and refreshing varieties recently, though. Ahmed Earl Grey is one of these, and can be bought relatively cheaply at my international food store. I found one bag of Earl Grey by St. Dalfour the other day (sorry housemate to whom it belonged) and this tea was amazing, light and fresh and zesty. And I do love the way these utilitarian, though nicely shaped glass mugs display the color of tea, particularly in the autumn light.

A Sonnet for Smeagol – In Anticipation of the Hobbit Movie Part I

S M E A G O L
My dear Smeagol, indeed, you still are dear
To me, my son, please hear me if you may.
Turn from the dark, from things that crawl in fear
Of light into the earth. Look to the day,
Though it may hurt you for a while. Repent
Of whatever deed it is that chills your heart.
Warmth will return; the daylight is not spent.
My son, see light again. Come take your part
Again in wholesome meals, in wholesome talk
Around the table. I will make amends
If you will but start; just begin the walk
Towards your healing. There are much worse ends
My dear son, than to feel chastising pain.
Smeagol, repent. Come back to life again.
G O L L U M
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If you have had a blog a while, it is interesting what things your stats page, which shows what searches led people to your site, will turn up from time to time. Here is a sonnet from 2004. Why republish? For more exposure, yes, but also a blog and its readers are like a river. You never step into the same river twice 🙂 I have changed one word and removed some capitalization.

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2009 Intro
Imagine. Smeagol returns from the river carrying Deagol claiming he has drowned (I do not remember what the books say about when Gollum’s relations know he had murdered him). It soon becomes apparent, however, that all is not well, as Smeagol begins to isolate himself in the dark and transform into Gollum.

Imagine. Perhaps somewhere during this time, his mother speaks to Smeagol, prefiguring Gandalf’s and Frodo’s after him rather more severe, but still merciful approach to Gollum many years later, which is really a remarkable aspect of the books and films, all the more tragic for Gollum’s ultimate refusal to accept the offer.

Admittedly, I have rather spiritualized the plight of Gollum. However, though he is a far greater and subtler craftsman, do not think that Tolkien did not have such dynamics in mind, not allegorically (he steadfastly denied LOTR was allegory) but thematically speaking.

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2004 Intro
For a seminary class I took on Tolkien, we were permitted great latitude for our final project. It could be a formal paper or something more in the realm of creative writing. I chose to write poems on the Ringbearers in the the Lord of the Rings. In the Lord of the Rings, not counting the Elder Days, there are four ringbearers. Three we are familiar with because they are are the heroes; Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise each bear the ring for a time. The saddest “ringbearer,” though, is Smeagol. He does not “bear” the ring out of goodness, as his desire to possess it for himself that rules him. However, in a very real sense he bears the ultimate effects of the ring in ways that the others only begin to feel. The true cost of the ring is borne out tragically in his spirit, mind, and body.

For Bilbo, Frodo, and Samwise, I crafted two sonnets each, one for before they took the burden of the ring and one for after they had endured and its destructive pull. For Smeagol, there was no “after” sonnet, but only the descent into Gollum and death. In the Lord of the Rings, we get whispers that Gollum may still be able to be redeemed. When I first read the books, I so hoped he would be. My sonnet envisions an imaginary speech either given to him by his mother after he first acquired the ring or perhaps a pleading by Gandalf in his firm but benevolent imprisoning of him.