Happy Tolkien’s and Cicero’s Birthday

Cicero was the bane of my years at Boston Latin–that man was better at hiding a main verb than any author I have ever met.  After surviving Latin 3H, I developed a grudging respect for him, and frankly highly recommend Imperium by Robert Harris as a fantastic novel which humanizes the great orator and even gives him a small amount of humor.

However, anyone who knows me knows that my love for JRR Tolkien is lasting, and deep, and immutable.  So I offer to you three of my poems which were directly inspired by his world of Middle Earth, and the formal cadences so beloved by his Elves.

Ainulindalë

In the beginning, there was One,
Mighty Iluvatar was he—
And from his thought all life has sprung,
For he proclaimed “Let these things be.”

From Ea’s blessed everywhere,
The Ainur forth he called,
Gave them the Flame Imperishable,
And the chance to fly or fall.

Then Eru sang a melody,
And they joined in one by one,
Each adding to the symphony,
And so Arda was begun.

Brave Ulmo sang of oceans,
Great Manwë of the sky,
Yavanna of a living green,
And spring that would never die.

Though Melkor’s malice grew strong,
And the other singers faltered,
The One joined in to save the song,
Still beautiful though altered.

Through the music of the Ainur,
The blessed Ainulindalë,
For the Eruhíni was created
A land to love and light of day.


The Mirror

Look into your mirror, Lady,
Tell me what you see.
Are there dreams of Edoras,
Of Gondor, of the Sea?

Deep within your mirror, Lady,
Where future has its birth,
Are there tears and sorrowings,
Are there songs of mirth?

Peering at your mirror, Lady,
Do the Shirelings dance?
Do the Entwives wander ever,
If you give them half a glance?

In your misty mirror, Lady,
Of what was, is, and shall be,
Do you see the birds above,
Or the loves and fears of trees?

All that is, and was, and shall,
All that feels and dreams,
What things are and what they hope,
And what goes on unseen.

The oceans and the running brook,
The eagle in the sky,
My mirror shows the truth of things
to those who have the eye.

Hymn to a Ranger

Your body does not show the years
You’ve walked this earth my friend.
Nor does your face bear tracks of tears
You’ve shed at journey’s end.
’Tis only in your eyes I read
Countless stories yet untold
Behind the glance so grave and keen–
My friend, your eyes are old.

’Tis what the trackless Wild has done,
And war has left its mark,
Concealing you’re your father’s son,
Wandering nameless in the Dark.
Through Nature’s paths and ways of men,
You’ve grown both strong and wise,
And soon, I deem, we’ll see again,
King’s banner ’gainst the skies.

Once more again the Tree will bloom,
White shining in the sun,
Standing tall against the gloom,
the Hope of Men is come.
You gaze at me with patience kind,
Wistful dreams that seem so bold
I see the Shadow haunts your mind–
My friend your eyes are old.

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