Poet's Gallery

Well this is a growing body of work that I've divided into 'real life' and Middle Earth inspired.

Poetry was something I thought I'd left behind long ago as I disliked it intensely at school where we were taught Tennyson and the Brownings, some Coleridge and Shelley to the point where I loathed them all thoroughly and saw iambic pentameter and various other 'forms' as superlative methods of torture. But... never say never they say and when I joined my first fan forum in 2005 I looked around a lot at what people were doing and writing and found someone I admired very much from afar for a little while. When I read his poetry thread something moved me deep within and I changed my mind.

He knows who he is and he's still my good and kind friend. One of the things that keep us that way is honesty and possibly more than that - sincerity. That is what I hope my own poetry conveys, whether it's based in fantasy or true 'real' feelings.

I've split the fantasy-specific work from the 'personal' but really they are the same in spirit ~ I like my dreaming to be authentic, but then so do most people...


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Middle Earth inspired work
| The 'Real' World

Poetry and Middle Earth

Tolkien of course wrote poetry and it features heavily in all his books about Arda. So it also has its place on the forums and there is a rich mix of it in many people's personal threads. Huge variety in quality as well as content of course and it was by no means confined to the fantasy world. Being someone who gets bored quite easily I had ME and RL poetry in my own thread when I finally got around to making one.

So these are poems that are linked in some way to the stories of Middle Earth or to people's ME characters, including of course my own. I'm adding notes and sometimes images to most of them so they're put into context.


Remembering Hirillonwë

I did not know you,
Yet I felt you touch my heart.
I never saw your face
But I heard you breathe
Life and care onto frail paper
With grace and passion.
I never spoke to you
Yet your images tell me
They were drawn with love.

I can never meet you
Yet still your mind
Beguiles mine.
You never knew of me
But still I feel kinship
As I sense the sure
And skilful stroke
Of your pencil on the page.
I wish I had known you, friend.

How do I know your spirit
Found joy in this life?
Through the sinuous lines
You leave in your wake,
Your soul must surely sing
You on your way.
Sail away Hirillonwe.
Go to your rest knowing you left beauty
For us to remember you by.


Hirillonwë was a forum member and a promising artist who regrettably died in his late teens. However, he left some really great artwork behind him. We wanted to do something as a memorial to him and so we opened a thread for people to post memories, pictures and poems in response to his work. I did some artwork but also felt moved to write this piece, which summed up my reaction to his untimely death.

I didn't know him at all except through his beautifully drawn and sensitive portraits and so this is what I wrote about him as I saw him on the threads. Sailing for elves is a euphemism for leaving Middle Earth forever, although they do not die as such, or rather they can live a second life in the Blessed Isles and so it's rather a positive image to portray. It's a comforting thought to us poor mortals who do not know where we go when we meet our end, save that the memories of our lives can stay with those we leave behind and so does survive us in a small way Or maybe not so small.

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Beloved Jewel

He is far from me, yet within my heart
and so fills all my senses with his love.
I watch the ocean move and see him breathe
easy and light beneath the dawning and the dusk
in time with the dark green rise and fall of waves.
I wait so long, trusting to his courage and our great hope.
Even as fate and horror stalk our land - I leap in faith
into the deep, the glowing jewel of our love upon my breast.

My love rises high, silver-grey and white. Light as salty air
and flies into my arms, unlooked for, yet so desired.
I take her gently in my arms and hold her close - as I dare
to hope that this time we shall not be parted in my life.
As the red dawn brings her wholly back to me, I hold her yet
knowing we have no words left to say. We have our love
to hold us fast now, both knowing it is strong and perfect
as she binds the shining jewel of our love upon my brow.

My Beloved bids me to wait for him upon the sands
of this strange land that called us both in hope
and fear. We are not free to be together yet
but our love’s fair jewel sends out its brilliant gleam
still stronger, as he seeks our people’s destiny
and their salvation on those shores we left behind.
For us there will be no rest, until the jewel of our love
casts its soft and gentle light on every corner of the world.


Once more, my Beloved flies to me as I descend the heavens,
homeward bound. Falling landwards we both embrace
and whisper our love soft on lips like silk. The separation
feeds our desire and we sigh as her soft wings enfold me.
Bound together now, we rise and fall as one upon a vessel
of pearly light and glimmering dust of Elven-gems, returned
each day anew from a star-blown ocean, high above the world,
serene and at peace. The Great Jewel of our love, shining through...


Beloved Jewel was an early 'masterpiece' for me in that it was written as I was really beginning to fall in love with Jano. Like me, she had had to find to her feet on the Imladris forum and we had both found our muse for ME and, for a time in RL too, in the same person. I had written more ME poetry since the one for Hirillonwë, but the work was quite ambiguous and so I've put them in the other collection. So this one was my first truly deliberate Tolkien work and it deals with the story of Eärendil and Elwing (the parents of Elrond) which is tragic as well as heroic and romantic too.
It has the lot in fact for these two Peredhels (they both had elf and human blood and Elwing was also descended from a Maia, through her grandmother Lúthien Tinúviel) effectively 'saved' Middle Earth by returning one of the sacred Silmarils to Valinor and thus ended the embargo the Ainur had put upon aiding the Noldor and the other Elves of ME, mostly because of the kinslayings perpetrated by the followers of Fëanor and his sons. So the poem covers all that, but in a high emotional manner as Elwing and Eärendil had to struggle with their own fates and spent years apart before finally sailing west together, desperate to get aid for Men as well as the Eldar.
The Silmarillion is a remarkable book and a fantastic achievement, for Christopher Tolkien as well as his father, but it is most definitely an academic work and the stories and background can be as dry as dust, so this was very much intended to put some flesh and blood onto the basic bones of the tale. The italicised stanzas are Elwing's and the following ones Eärendil's.
I identified with Elwing a lot for some reason and so some of the intensity and passion that was rising in Jano and in myself as our combined muse and I for a time bonded very closely in those first months, got transferred into this - and so the love 'shines' as they say. He is Eärendil of course, at least in part. Whatever happened with us afterwards, with our characters or away from the forum altogether, I learned a lot about myself from him during that journey, including pouring the emotion into my writing. For that I am always grateful and in a way my progress as a bard is down to him. The 'love' we created lives in the poetry if nowhere else. In a way Beloved Jewel was written by us both, though he might not see it that way...

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An Elf of many parts

My skill with a brush paints a thousand words of meaning,
And as it’s you that’s asking, of course I’ll do the cleaning.

I could be your little sister, all fun and bright and cute,
But remember I’m a maiden, ‘though you’ve seen my birthday suit!

I will tell you all my stories, of passion and of might,
As you like this skill, and show it you may kiss and hold me tight.

For now, I’m still your virgin goddess, but my heart commands my head,
And I love to touch and know you, please come warm my lonely bed.


For fun mostly, this one describes Jano in those first months to a tee. She was drawing and singing and telling tales and finding a new family at last in her friends. Her relationship with the Elf who started out as a brother/father figure, was by then taking a more earthy direction and so the whole tone of this reflects all the flirting that was going on between them - on and off the threads...

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Sand

Love rose first in heat and harshness,
fiery and unwanted, burning to the truth.
A fantasy of kinship for shared passions fled
As I watched him look to another’s bond - for desire
and for completion. My heart’s gift for him died unborn.

And when all hope had burned away
leaving dry red pain behind, the winds blew me far away
to grief, destruction and the loneliness of time.
Stripped of hope yet facing fear, I turned once more.
I could not leave him. Should not. Would not. Did not.

Instead he fled from all he knew, chasing shadows of features
loved, yet not loving in return. We both could not win or keep
our dearest need and love. I ached for his return as he caressed
his own fantasy and dreams to no avail, or so it seemed to me.
And so I wait, my tear-stained love drying on the sand, for him to find his way.


This one's very mixed up and highly anxious, but was mostly describing what was happening on the threads rather than away from them. We'd been having fun down in the deserts of Harad where Jano's first realised that she felt more for her best friend-brother than a sister ought, but in the meantime he was looking with a lot of obvious attraction at an 'almeh' - a cemetery or 'death dancer' who was rather a minx and certainly led him a merry dance. Jano got pretty upset as she gradually recognised what her true feelings for her brother-hero were and ran off into the desert - or rather flew off as she was trying out a 'flying machine' rather like a hang glider. Don't ask!

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In praise of the Rainbows End

Rivendell’s best-kept secret spot
In echoing falls and bright waters,

Colours all fused, aglow. White-hot,
Heartfelt sons and daughters,

All eager to meet, to play and sing.
Rushing falls, foaming fresh and light.

Downwards to dim pools, mists rising
Onwards, upwards into the night.

Freeing of minds; brave hope gleams;
Yearning hearts in the brave fire-dance

Of distant years and soulful dreams,
Renew glory days in passion’s glance.

Keep the faith, come home some day.

Our Rainbow’s End - my love, to stay.

The Rainbow's End was a private drinking club in the Bard's House away from the main Imladris forum. Jano had met her 'big brother' there and he also brought two other 'sisters' whom he had stood as Guardian for whilst the two lovely ellyth (female elves) found their place and way on the forums. Guardian duty was a lovely idea that I bypassed by default as the friendship between our characters was forged spontaneously more or less - although I had followed around him a bit and posted in the Rainbow's thread just so I could get to know him better.
Anyway this nice little piece of cosiness more or less describes the family feeling we had going in there for the four of us and several others Elves (and a Hobbit too) for a very long time.


This is my Jano 'avatar'' which includes a rainbow!

This started as a monologue piece for Galadriel but I think this more generic treatment works better. Purely lore-related, this tells the tale of the horrendous journey into exile taken by most of the Noldor following Fingolfin, the eldest of Fëanor's half-brothers, by their father's second wife Indis who was a Vanyar - the most loyal clan to the Valar of all the Eldar in Aman.
The two sons of Indis inherited her calm and diplomatic nature, and so refused to participate in the horrendous kinslaying that Fëanor, in his fury and lust for vengeance, invoked against the unsuspecting and outraged Telerí. The Sea Elves had refused to join his unsanctioned crusade against Melkor or, more importantly, to hand over their ships to him so he could assail Middle Earth. Furious, Fëanor, his seven sons and their followers took the vessels by force, killing many of their sailor kin in the process.

Fingolfin and his younger brother Finarfin, coming late to the east coast were rightly appalled by the atrocity, which was in its dying phases and helplessly watched their tumultuous older half-brother sail off back to Middle Earfth leaving them stranded in Valinor, though they had pledged to follow him. Feeling bound to his oath for love of their murdered father, Fingolfin nevertheless determined to follow Fëanor and so he led those of his people who felt the same northwards into the Helcaraxë. Others who could not bear to leave after witnessing the carnage in Alqualondë followed Finarfin back to Valmar to seek the forgiveness of the Ainur.

Finarfin's children including Galadriel and Finrod Felagund, followed Fingolfin in crossing the terrible arctic wasteland of Helcaraxë, which cost many of the Noldor their lives...

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Helcaraxë

We followed a dream of new lands
and passionate words, seeking justice,
following fabled tree-lit gems.
On a wave of hope and honour,
we left all that we had known before,
pursuing dreams that vows turned mad.

Our kin fought kin in our urgency
but others cried against the slaying,
whilst our despair turned to rage.
Some of us sailed beyond ahead,
as others sadly lagged behind,
then watched the long-gone ships catch fire.

Yet still some hope burned on within
for new horizons, freedom, and life
we shaped ourselves, forsaking bliss.
We took the road far north knowing not
how high the price to pay, through lands
consumed with biting, grinding cold and ice.

For some our road ended in Helcaraxë
with fog for shrouds and bitter, freezing blood
stained red flickering skies with our sad plight.
Of those who came through, we will ne’er forget
those cold, cold hills and slicing winds that sucked
away those lives so meant for green and light.

We vowed that never would we rest again
until we regained all that we had sought
on that dread road of deadly frost.
Though many ages passed us by
as we dwelt in starlit trees and hazy green,
in timeless halls of leaf and trunk,
still in dreams we walked with ghosts
through the white wastes of Helcaraxë
And remember those whose faith we lost.

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Forever Mortal

When mortal love has ended and the Eldar left behind,
can the immortal bear the ending of their heart’s dear lover’s sigh
– or recall that precious moment of passion’s first soft touch?
Can the lost one’s face still smile at you, inside a memory?
Does it matter if the love was for a parent, friend or kin?
Will it hurt less than a beloved soulmate,
who was closer than your skin? Don’t ask, don’t dare
to think of differences,
when the loss…
is still…
the end

Forever is too long for mortals. Your love must die one day
and leave you sad and lonely, far beyond all hope and pain.
The Eldar may endure great loss and conquer hurt 'tis true,
but can you keep on holding fast a shade who once breathed love with you?
Better not have loved at all? Is a mortal worth that hurt?
You have no say, no guide - no shield against the pulse
that beats within you, so soft, yet strong and fierce.
To love a mortal is both gift and curse…
it stays on…
and lives…
in you


This is a personal one for Jano, but also follows the recurring Tolkienesque theme of love between the Firstborn and the Secondborn Kindreds - between Elves and Men who are the children of Eru Illúvatar. There are four couples in all who get this 'treatment' - Lúthien Tinúviel and Beren; Idril Celebrindal (granddaughter of Fingolfin) and Tuor; and their son Eärendil and Lúthien's grandchild Elwing were the first of these ill-starred lovers. They were followed in the Third Age by Aragorn and Arwen, the grandchild of Eärendil and Elwing. These are the most important human-elven couplings and they are all related to Elrond of Imladris (great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and daughter respectively).

There was a fifth pairing, but much later in the Third Age, in Gondor where the first prince of Dol Amroth was born of an Elven mother who wed Imrazor, a man of Númenorean descent (though not necessarily through a royal line). Rumoured to be the famous Nimrodel, this elleth who loved a mortal was in fact called Mithrellas, but that really is all we know of her. Her bloodline however was still apparent amongst the princes two thousand years later. Jano is probably of that bloodline, but was brought up amongst mortals from an infant, and so to some extent she has more human traits than elven in her manner, though she is wholly an elf in appearance and physicality.

This is a case of nature and nurture and which wins out. In Jano's case her love for mortals is purely familial not romantic and so this piece is very much her take on it. She was scarred with grief for her dead parents and brothers which in a mortal sense is insuperably devastating for an Elf. Being immortal, although they can be killed in battle, by poison or by fire Elves can also die of grief, literally of a broken heart, but they can all potentially be resurrected to a second life in Aman and this is why grief is such a killer when an elven spouse is taken by death. The widowed spouse can literally grieve to death so they can join their beloved in the West. If the spouse is mortal however, death is forever and there is no hope of reunion. This is what Jano has had to face in the loss of her dear ones - and what this piece deals with. How it is to go on living with no hope of a second life together.

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GIMLI’S GOLD

Three strands of gold
fine and precious
bestowed with grace
and honour high
on my humble wish
and thankful tears

Three shafts of light
gossamer in my hand
I shall encase with love
in clear crystal rock
and revere them
all my days

Three golden curls
wire thin yet strong
as she who gave
so quietly and smiling
gazed on me
my soul entranced

A nice little piece this about the gift that Gimli begs from Galadriel when the Fellowship say farewell to the Golden Wood. Just three strands of her hair that he will treasure.

Dwarves and Elves historically do not 'get on', especially if, like Legolas, they are of Sindarin origin for Dwarves murdered their greatest King Thingol, husband of Melian the Maia and father of Lúthien. Galadriel however, though she knew Thingol and was a student of Melian is a Noldo and they get on with Dwarves, having a shared love of stone and precious metals. In the wars of Eregion she did take refuge with the Dwarves of Moria, and so she is not unfriendly to the Naugrim. So kind is she that Gimli gets rather a crush on her and asks this boon which she happily grants.

What Gimli doesn't know is that she's been asked this before - by Fëanor. She gave her infamous kinsman an emphatic 'no' - so Gimli is one lucky son of Durin's clan!

I can't remember what the crisis was - for the characters or some kerfuffle with thread etiquette, but this was the kind of atmos in the Rainbow thread - we were all there for each other on the threads if something was wrong or someobody had the blues and then same for outside of the forums too. I'm still in touch with most of them and hope to be always.

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My friends at the Rainbow are the best on this earth,
They know what is true and acknowledge its worth.
They will stand by your side through the thick and the thin.
Still love and support you when there’s no way to win.

And if nights are bleak they will wait for dawn’s break,
They will love you and hold you as long as it takes.
Then when times are good they’ll be merry and bright
And dance into your future by the moon’s silv’ry light.

 

Kindred Love

The Firstborn sing the first three verses

You will go and I must stay
so whilst we share our lifelong way
we will not think on what will be
but take our time so lovingly.

For I am old and you are young,
so we take the path with starlight strung.
We fill our days with love and light
and take the warmth into the night.

I must stay and you will go
so since we know our love can grow
we will not think on what will be
but take our time so lovingly.

The Secondborn sing the last three verses

For I am young and you are old
and here we reach the time foretold.
Your eyes still shine like mine in youth
but my life’s strength soon fails in truth.

And I will go and you must stay
so whilst we share our lifelong way
we will not think on what will be
but take our time so lovingly.

So you must stay and I will go
and where I’ll end we do not know.
Time’s passing way - it is death’s call
for I cannot stay in Mandos’ Halls.

And another slightly happier little ditty on human-elf love affairs. Bit more positive in a way although the outcome for most elves and mortals still ends in tears. Some people think half elves are fun and a lot of people do roleplay them and have varying levels of success at making their backstories plausible.

The thing with Tolkien's Elves is that they would have a lot of trouble with mating with humans for a variety of reasons, running from lack of contact between the respective communities, to a lack of physical attraction, as well as the immortality side of it, which possibly took attitudes almost to the point of making it taboo on the elven side in purely social terms.

The immortality aspect is almost insuperable for an Elf. They mate for life for a start and if they are seperated by death they have the reincarnation deal in the West so they don't re-marry except in extreme cirumstances, such as when a spirit refuses to re-incarnate - which in itself is a very rare event.

So for Elves the prospect of loving somebody not immortal and then never ever seeing them again after they die is almost unthinkable - only very strong-minded or exceptional Elves would accept a mortal lover. Perhaps this explains why the elves Tolkien had doing this were always female. Also why the descendants of Eärendil only chose the mortal path if they love one - so they can follow their love into death and so avoid the eternal grief. A kindness really. Except for one of them whom we shall come to soon.

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And speaking of resurrection or going into the West, this of course deals with the elves passing out of Middle Earth. The Elves seemed not to have belonged to Middle Earth at all in a way - or not the one that Melkor and Sauron marred, which is why the Valar tried to herd most of them over to Valinor before the Sun and Moon first rose. Not all of them went of course, but this was supposed to be the eventual fate of all of them.
For the Elves left in Middle Earth or the Noldor exiles, not all of them were in too much of a hurry to cross the sea and this piece reflects that to some extent with a lament in the first stanza for the places in ME that the Eldar would have been loth to leave perhaps, whilst acknowledging that they were heading for a place where they would truly belong at last.

True Elvenhome

My homeland lies west of the Sundering Seas
Far away from the woodlands and fair Lindon’s leas.
It lies o’er the waves, from the Grey Havens’ shores.
Past the graves of Beleriand, from the bleak Ettensmoors,
Soars far past the Mountains of Mist and of Blue.
Takes the Great River’s course west, taking you
To the Bay of Belfalas where the foaming waves’ calls
To our kin from Lothlorien’s and Imladris’ halls.

And I long to find peace in the realms of the West,
To come home to the heartlands of Valinor’s rest.

My love would lie easy in Aman’s sacred lands,
Find its peace in the works of my fair kindred’s hands.
All our loved ones will find us and hold us again.
They will comfort our ills and heal all our pain.
We will sing of the heroes who redeemed all our sins,
The Great Ones who conquered the Foeman so grim.
We shall sail to the haven of the fair Lonely Isle
And bask in the light of our true love’s sweet smile

And I long to find peace in the realms of the West,
To come home to the heartlands of Valinor’s rest.

 

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Beloved!

Beloved. That’s what you are.
Inside my mind, within my blood,
I feel your call spun through the air.
You touch my spirit with your sweet words.
You are my truth, my one desire.
My Beloved. My heart’s on fire.

Forever is ours Beloved.
Our hearts are entwined. Our love is real.
I can feel your touch and trace your smile.
We are living a dream, our minds fly high.
Your love is fine and true, fulfils demands,
To be very close - have you all to myself.
You are all mine! Beloved elf.

Now this one is a little cheeky in that it's actually a re-working of an earlier poem that's similar in parts but is very much away from the forums. This one is about Jano's beloved and so it does belong with the Middle Earth collection and is of course incorrigibly soppy and reflects Jano's joy in finding somebody who will always love and look after her.

She's a very lucky elleth indeed for Silen Aranor is a very handsome chap indeed and loves the bones of her - and she returns the sentiment of course. When Jano's happy so am I and she's always happy with Silen. Well nearly anyway.

Jano's a flip of the earlier one and Silen's adapted from a painting commissioned from the artist Ebe

OK - so this is the exception to the Elf making 'the choice' to follow their mortal love into death. This piece is Elrond and his twin brother Elros and their different Fates. They were the first to make the choice and they more than likely had help from the Ainur since they made different choices. Elrond of course followed the elven path but Elros chose to be mortal...
When the Ainur and warriors of Aman came to aid Middle Earth and defeated both Melkor and Sauron, destroying all of Beleriand and most of Ossirand in the process the survivors were given a number of opportunities. For Men allied to the Noldor and Sindar a new home within sight of Valinor was made and Elros made his decision to become mortal on the basis that he would be the first King of Numenor. The King of the Ocean.

For Elrond the decision had its sorrows but he became the Guardian of the Winds at the end of the Second Age when he also later stood as guardian to his long dead brother's heirs...

 

The Fate

Twin sons marked by Fate.
Children of both Kindreds,
sealed in nobility by a Maia.
Born to starlit sea travellers,
on wings and waves.
Bound to the Dying Lands,
to guard and to guide,
to rule and to hold
the eastern shores in trust.
Raising kings in light and in shade
then watching their maturing
no matter the season.
Beloved brothers parted by a gift,
blessed and cursed by choice
to follow the Mortal or the Eldar paths.
Each raised to destiny and to power.
King of the Ocean.
Guardian of the Winds.
No others could have matched
their love or their care.

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Listening, not listening

I am listening...
to the beating of hearts.

I’m not listening…
to those who fear and hate.

I shall listen well
to thoughts that are unvoiced.

I will not listen
to thoughts that shun the light.

I’ll keep listening
to soft sounds in the night.

I’ll stop listening
to whispers that deceive.

I must listen still
to the quiet voice inside.

I shall not listen
to those who close their minds

To those who cannot love...
I will not listen.

To you all mellyn nín…
I always listen.

This is one I wrote for Jano in pensive mood just before she was acclaimed High Bard in Imladris. I should perhaps have some of these couplets tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

Listening is something I'm fairly good at - well I hope so anyway. I only ever met one person who didn't think I listened to him so well, but he's the only one that's actually said so. So I listened to what he had to say for as long as I could stand it and then I gave up on him, because we weren't doing each other much good really.

I'm kind of a hoarder with people as well as possessions and it does take a lot for me to walk away from situations. But when I do walk that's generally the way it stays. There are exceptions to this but not many. I don't really know what this means, but chances are I'll listen patiently to anyone who can tell me why.

 

Gwathel means a sworn sister (gwador is sworn brother) and Feowen is Jano's almost 'mind-twin'. A very good friend on and off the threads, Fee as she is known for short, is also a bard and she and Jano love and admire the other's work - they sometimes sing together as well, so the best sisters in the whole of Middle Earth!

Out in the real world we are shockingly attuned even though I'm almost old enough to be her granny which is why she's 'my friend. My sister, daughter,' even though I'm in England and she's in Russia. You meet the best people online Fee! *blows a kiss eastwards*

 

To my dearest gwathel...

Feowen. Maiden swift and true…
So warm and fast a friend are you.
Your laughter rings and twines with mine
Your hair aflame like brandy-wine.

Súrindis. What joy will you bring?
The freshness and new hope of spring
Still young, though ages she has seen
Held bright in deep, wise eyes of green.

Feowen Súrindis my friend.
My sister, daughter, love I send
To you, each and every day -
We know our words come home to stay.

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RAINBOWS

Passion marks the maidens
from the deep purple cool of the night
to the heat of the fiery red dawn,
they span – changing – not changing.
Giving of their feelings, quick and true,
spending their passions, fierce and fine,
or soft, without fear of holding back.
Speaking, singing their fulfillment
in words of grace and love.

Bright as guiding beacon flames
and cool as grass under the wide sky.
They are steady and warm-hearted,
solid and strong, just and wise.
Words that echo deep in blue-green seas
to the arcing heavens’ blazing realms,
their song is both ancient and of the day,
constant and loving, nurturing their world
and all they reach out to and hold dear.

Back to the Rainbow! This one's about Jano's family of friends again and the maidens are Fee and Jano - the passionate bards.

The guiding beacons are the elusive brother-friend-hero and our 'older in the threads' gwathel (Jano and Fee are mere babies being around 250 and 300 years old whereas the other two are older and much more sensible really). They're also bards but also loremasters and a leetle bit more serious and not quite so giddy as Jano and Fee who at this stage were not in a steady relationship and still prone to giggling in corners occasionally and teasing our poor old gwador relentlessly... I think he was very glad when Silen came along and took Jano off his very tired hands.

 

He thought he had strayed into a dream,
That he had conjured in his song of fair Tinúviel,
And he called me by her melodious name.

His own name he gave as Hope and I saw that true
In his bright eyes and our far kinship called us then,
As doom began to roll its long and certain way.

Long years had passed e’er we met again in Lórien the golden.
Arrayed in silver, white and elven-grey, a star upon his brow.
An Elflord of Aman could not have seemed so very fair.

And then I felt that moment as Lúthien had before
As a tender fate befell us both when we slowly walked
And gazed into each other’s eyes on Cerin Amroth’s hill.

Time took us far apart yet we were bonded fast within our hearts
And when his triumph came to pass, my banner flew proud and bold,
To mark our vindication and our dream to come.

We did not stray but willed our dream to shine
with love so strong and true, it rang so clear
And called all lands in strife to peace and harmony.

I chose a mortal life and vowed to pay the price as would he,
Not knowing yet how hard and high it would come to be.
Here on Cerin Amroth’s hill, my Hope is gone – so now Death may come for me…

The story of Arwen and Aragorn, based mostly on the Appendix to the Lord of the Rings which gives a lot more information on these star-crossed lovers than you can find in the actual book. Arwen in many ways is a frustrating character in that she really hasn't got much of one and is only in there as a symbol of the Elves last gift to Man. It's quite a sweet little love story really and in some ways she is a fitting reward for the noble long-suffering Aragorn who has to get out there and justify his love by retaking the throne of Gondor and bringing down the Dark Lord in the process. Aragorn, blessed with a longer than normal life because of that fate to which he was born certainly had a long and happy marriage after all the years of hard slog out in the Wilderlands and in War of the Ring and so it is a fairytale romance.

Though choosing a mortal life Arwen herself is not changed into a mortal - she is still an Elf but her fate is tied to Aragorn and so her ending is tied with his. She does not die until he does and returns to the abandoned Golden Wood where she quietly grieves to death like Elves can do but in her case knowing she will have no second life in Valinor. Instead the mortal path she follows her husband on is beyond the circles of Arda where she can join her love for eternity. The choice is kind remember.Arwen does not have to live a second bitter life without her soulmate and so her choice is eternal.

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A tale I must tell of the dreadful Battle of the Wardrobe by the sparkling and deep lake of Annuminas.
Of spite and of strife
In the boudoir of the Noldor’s fairest flower – in Galadriel’s bower.

‘Twas an Age or two ago when battle was joined in the darkest shadows and hours of the night
At first undetected
As the Polly Pocket Piskies sneaked into their ancient enemy’s’ territory.

The Flower Fairies had held the lingerie drawers since the Sun first rose in Middle Earth
Perfumed and safe
Until the Piskies boldly crossed The Great Divide from the garderobe.

‘Ere the fair Queen knew, she found chaos foully lurking ‘mongst her fine silken hose
Tattered and strewn
All over the floor as the Fairies defended her laciest smalls.

The Piskies roamed thriumphant, spreading mayhem through the drawstrings and fastenings
Delighting in ruin
As the Fairies fell back in angry dismay as their drawers fell one by one.

Galadriel wailed and cursed long and loud as she contemplated the vile and great humiliation
The loss of allure
In the sight of her sweet spouse if her undergarments were cruelly ripped and torn.

The Lady hastened to the aid of the Fair Little Foo Folk who had served her so well and faithfully
Keeping pills at bay
Tirelessly burnishing the silk satin and buffing up the velvety ribbons so soft.

But the Piskies were too many – their tiny teeth well-honed to vicious slashing sharp points
Snapping and gnashing
Dealing ferocious bites ‘gainst the Fairies if they ventured too near.

Weeping with rage, the Lady fled, o’ercome with horror at the state of her fine intimate apparel
She needed a hero
With no fear of the Foo and the foul curse of the pink. Her need was urgent and clear.

“Oh Constable Telly! Mellon nín !” gasped she in relief “Come hither right now - my honour is smeared!”
The Foo-Cop came good
And followed his Queen to her rooms where the Battle raged on.

Well it could not have been worse – never was there such a scene as the Foo Foes fought in a frenzy
Of blood and of fluff
As they pulled a feathery maribou boa into little tickly pink pieces.

Telly gasped in horror as he surveyed the state of his fair Lady’s bower – he roared out his challenge
“ Put - the - stocking - down !!! ”
But the Fairies just hissed and the Piskies all jeered. They showed no respect!

Telly’s face was livid and stern as he yelled “Listen Bozos! I’m ain’t kidding around here now!...
Sheesh! Gimme a break!”

As he whipped out his truncheon and took careful aim at the pesky Piskie commander…

… And down came the stick! But this maleficent Piskie with cunning and boldness was steeped –
He ran up the stick
And sank his sharp little gnashers in Telly’s magnificent nose!

The Foo-Cop was doughty but the bite really smarted and the Pisky was perky as Telly got started
On fussing and fiddling
With stemming the flow of his bloody and mighty throbbing blowhole.

Now Galadriel was not one to shy from a fight and whilst all this went down she thought long and hard
On tricks of her trade
And shouted to Telly “I’ll be back!” as she rushed out the door and sped to the kitchens.

Telly retreated to consider his moves, keeping watch on what the little baskets got up to next as they
Trashed Gala’s vests
Whilst the Fairies fought rearguard to protect her precious pink moonstone corset.

The cop still held his trusty truncheon ready to whack the tumultuous, rampaging Piskie hordes
Who were moving onto
The lower reaches of his Lady’s mallorn-wood bureau and her most secret drawers.

“Telly muin!” Galadriel returned “I have lembas and sweeties to lure them away from my garb!”
“Come on! – make my day!”
Cheered Telly, as his liege lady threw him a rainbow of sugary lollies!

“This’ll learn ‘em !” He gave a great grin and proceeded to wiggle lollipops with extreme prejudice
In the last drawer
Whilst Galadriel fed lembas to the brave but exhausted Fairies of Flowers.

Now it is not well known but Piskies have such very sweet teeth so could they resist these fruity treats?
“It’s working now Babe!”
Crowed Telly as he hefted the lollies right into their midst.

“And the Fairies are mustering!” She gave a conspiratorial smile “See – they will fly to the fight!”
As the lembas bolstered
Diaphanous wings, so they rose in the air, hands flexing with pinches and stings.

As the Piskies grew fulsome and sleepy with fructose, the Fairies swooped down and bashed ‘em
And thrashed ‘em quite hard
As the Queen looked on with pride as her Cop swept the vanquished hordes…

… of Piskies into his helm with his truncheon .Well that about wraps it up Ma’am” he said with a grin.
“I’ll wager these punks
Will not venture here much more again. But just in case there’s one thing I’d advise…”

“… get in plentiful supplies of popsicles like these for those crazy small pests and feed them daily
By the garderobe door
Keep them podgy and dizzy with sweet fruit rewards!”

Galadriel pondered the wisdom of this and nodded her thanks to the gallant fighter of Foo.
Cunning and guileful
She saw the sense in this precautionary tactic.

For Piskies, though vicious were still useful creatures and kept all the moths from eating her woollens
So it did make sense
To keep them to hand – so long as their teeth rotted and could no longer grind!

And as for the Flower Fairies – well those little dears soon set to mending the sheer delicate undies
of silk and satin
for the beautiful form of Lady of Light who shone and brightened her lucky Lord’s nights.

As for Telly? Well what can I tell you? It was the beginning of his Foo-fighting career and nobody now
Can come close to him
In banishing harmful foo-ish creatures with lollipop weaponry he’s the greatest there is!

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A parody on the saga form and an example of something we call 'foo'. Foo is pink and kitsch and can be done in such a way that it 'belongs' in Middle Earth without necessarily tweaking the Prof's nose too much or even upsetting 'canon' lore.

So - my legendary hero is Sgt. Telly Savaloy, a foo-fighting cop in the style of zen - so he does Kung-Foo and he embraces the Dark Foo to fight the more prevalent form of pink foo to which unwary Elves are exorably drawn and become rather... silly....

Dark Foo creatures are basically minor spirits who are not good, not bad but just there and, in the hands of experts, such as Telly and, in this Galadriel, can kick ass and generally save the world from silliness. He's based on Telly Savalas in his incarnation as Kojak (who was pretty foo when you think about it with the lollipops and everything) and from which Telly's sometimes volcanic temper - with Jano who annoys the hell out him - is sourced. He's great fun to roleplay and has gradually become quite a regular character who works quite well, if grumpily, with Jano when she feels like being very silly indeed.

 

Heart Murmurs

She was almost the first figure I saw
When I was brought before the golden king,
A fugitive son in the stone-encircled city.

His were the darkest eyes and guarded mind.
A fascination that drew e’en as it repelled
He stared at me and sealed his doom.

She was the fairest I had ever seen.
Her hair golden and eyes blazing light
As they seared the darkness in mine own.  

His darkling eyes shone with reflected light
That never touched my heart, nor warmed his soul.
We each knew the other and despaired our fate.  

She transfixed my heart, near dead from cold
With her gaze, piercing through perception,
She was my fatal one true sunlit love.

I would not, could not love him. He was death.

I loved her without hope. My heart denied... Idril.  

I feared. Yet I dared not name my fear… Maeglin.


So back to canon and an account of a romance that could never be and which led to one of the worst tragedies of the First Age when Maeglin betrayed Gondolin. Here he meets Turgon's daughter Idril for the first time. They both were true-seers, but he loved her anyway, even though she did not return the sentiment and saw his flaws and his propensity for treason.

A fateful meeting therefore and poor Maeglin's doom was sealed.

 

A sea song based on Legolas' account of his first sighting of the ocean. I later borrowed it for Jano who spent time in Dol Amroth on the Bay of Belfalas during her mother's final years, and used to it sing to her as they watched the ships in the Bay.

Jano feels an affinity for the sea, but for the Elves it has a deeper significance that she cannot quite embrace. This is in part because of her upbringing because in some ways she does not feel she is a 'proper' Elf yet and so she is a little scared of sailing west. Silen is gradually convincing her that this fear is unfounded.

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Belegaer

It calls to me and fills my mind
And senses with its lure
Of Undying Lands – mine to find
And know all that is pure.

It moves and crashes on the shore.
Music so wild and free.
The pull of waves that surge and roar
In my ears, calling me.

Over shades of grey, green and blue
My sight soars far and wide.
I see past the horizon’s view
Towards the other side.

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Circles

Circle of the Winds, warm or cold, tempest or breeze
Vilya of the Air.
Reaching all the places of Arda, touching all peoples, all lands.

Forces of nature circling yet bound within this world
Wind. Fire. Water
Made captive in metal encircling power, subject to the wearer’s way and will.

The Circle of Fire, blazing hot, flaring lightning swift
Narya of the Flames.
Burning bright into the heart of darkness and the blackest night.

Elemental strength harnessed to intent for evil or for good.
Vilya. Narya. Nenya.
Though evil never touched them, still corrupted eras channelled their sway.

Circle of Water, flowing clear and clean, fast and pure
Nenya of the Waters.
Rippling light yet strong, crashing waves that scoured and swept away.

Wielders of the Three, circling now triumphant, free
Elrond, Mithrandir, Galadriel.
They have shed their bonds and they are now at liberty.


This piece was written for a specific roleplay game (RPG) that was set in Fourth Age Rivendell after the departure of Elrond. He and the other bearers of the famed Three Elven Rings of Power that Sauron never touched, Gandalf and Galadriel, took their Rings with them into the West as their time was done and Middle Earth was no longer a place for the Eldar to rule.

So this is a tribute that Jano sings as a farewell to the Great and the Wise who had guided Middle Earth for so long. The Circles are of course the Rings themselves.

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RED. GREY. BLACK...

Red sky. Blood day.
Sun rising on battle’s field.
Smoke’s reek. Sword’s play.
War axe rings on doughty shield.
Blood day. Red sky.

Grey day. Noon Sun.
Wraith-like clouds o’er wounded, dying.
Great heart. Brave son.
Life’s blood now spilt and drying.
Noon Sun. Grey day.  

Dark Moon. Black night.
Shades flow swift on fighting ground.
Death stalks. Men fight.
Horn will call the vict’ry sound.
Black night. Dark Moon.

A soldier's tale this, but very loosely based on the crucial Battle of the Pellennor that broke the siege of Minas Tirith and marked the triumphal Return of the King. But people died of course and this is a lament for the fallen.

I don't always rhyme in my work - which is something you have most likely picked up on by now but I did with this one. With the meter for the first, third and fifth lines of each verse I was aiming for a 'heartbeat' effect that links to the phases of battle - in the book the Gondorians and Rohirrim rode out with the dawn. So for once an orderly arrangement, reflecting the discipline of the warriors.

Ellitarë was another talented young artist who co-ran the Art thread with me in Imladris for a while. Her main passion was for dancing and the theatre however. She died in February 2007 at the age of 17 and she left many friends and admirers behind her. This was my own tribute to her joy in life and was only one of many that celebrated her time with us on the forums.
The song 'Into the West' sung by Annie Lennox was played at Elli's funeral.

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Dancer in the stars…

She rises and falls in starlight
Dancing and dazzling
Unbound from the chains
Free and sparkling
She flies and floats
In the deep night
Past the celestial glow.

The Moon delights in her face
Whirling and spinning
Above earthly strife
Lightly turning
She leaps on high
And twirls on past
The heavenly star-strewn path.

All pain gone she dances on
Grey eyes glittering
Dark hair flaring wild
Twining, swirling
Her grace goes on
In bliss so high
With the stars - her dance lives on.

(In fondest memory of Ellitarë, friend and Co-Curator of the EAA)

 

This is a place to call our home,
Though we may dwell in other lands,
Walk our way through distant places,
Or find our rest within love’s hand.

Its walls are mountain ramparts,
The depths are lush with dew
The trees and grass breathe life
And its soul rises through the air.

The people are its blood,
The words they say are truth
And those unspoken comforts,
Calm your heart and soothe.

So come back to the Valley,
No matter where you strayed,
Or why you chose to leave us,
This can be your home, someday.

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This piece is a tribute to Rivendell or Imladris as it is known to the Elves. For most of us who RP elves, two places stand above the others - the other one is Lothlórien. Also in most cases this takes into account Elrond and Galadriel. So that's why I choose to base my character Jano in Imladris, because of the Peredhel but also because I like to see where I'm going and woods sometimes make me slightly claustrophobic.

A trite reason but I fell in love with the Imladris of the films and that was partly to do with the ætherial waterfalls and the steep dramatic cliffs - and what I try to describe in here, along with the the concept of the Valley as 'a refuge for the weary and oppressed' to quote Tolkien. I should have joined Imladris when I first joined the forum because that is how I was then.... in dire need of a haven.

I found it there too, even though it was online, in the people I met and the things we did together.



Another thing I found on joining the forum was that many of the people I met had similar RL stories and problems to my own. My wonderful friend who writes Silen and his twin Galen was one such. We took some time to gel on the threads as she had a busy period in RL and so she wasn't about much whilst I was settling in, but two years in we got talking online whilst we were running a game together and bonding took flight and soared so high it took our breath away.

Jano was struggling at the time because her gwador had more or less left the forums by then and she was very sad as a result and so Galen, who had also been High Bard at one time and was still in the guild in retirement, kindly had his twin Silen, who was rarely brought out on the threads, come for a visit to Rivendell.

Silen was a stranger, but not entirely, for of course he was very much like his married brother - and so easy for Jano to fall in love with. The minute Silen walked into the Rainbow's End the chemistry with Jano was... magic!

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For Silen

I saw a stranger who was not,
Whose bold gaze pulled at me
And spoke of passion strong and hot,
That called my heart for all to see.

Though never known, I knew his face
On sight, so fair, so keen
Of glance, that spoke about a place
That I could sense, though never seen.

He took my hand and led me true
Down paths so bright and clear,
And his tender touch, rare and new,
Claimed my sad heart and made him dear.

The stars and Moon swayed overhead
As we lay in warm bliss,
Bathed in light on a downy bed,
Finding love in our deepest kiss .

Ears (unspecified version)

There once was a babe named Janowyn,
Whose dear little ears kept on growin’
These sweet Elven tips,
That her Mommy’s sad lips
were cryin’, 'cos their growth wasn’t slowin’.

Aldred, her step-dad round the room paced
Such a dilemma he never had faced.
He was truly dismayed
At the fuss those tips made
And a Healer was called – with all haste!

Now this poor man, he was almost clueless
On the pointy disease and its newness.
His talents were all spent,
And his instruments – bent
By the strong little tips in their pureness!

Had they paused to ask Jano she might
Have said “Love my ears” but her plight
Meant she wouldn’t -
Far too young, she just couldn’t.
So they all trekked to the City of White.

Now their plan was to ask of the great Queen
How such ears on a girl-child could be seen
And suddenly grow
‘Cos they just didn’t know
And by this time their size was – obscene!

Well the Queen, ne’er flummoxed, asked her father
If he’d tell, how they’d got in such mather
He said “’Course I can
‘Cos I am The Man,
The best healer in Arnor or farther!”

Well the Elf lord, of course he was wise
But these ears wore a cunning disguise
That, try as he might
The mystery stayed tight
As a clam, to their beastly loud sighs.

But this Elf Lord had more to his skill
Than some charms or a bitter-sweet pill.
So the Queen he did task
For Mom’s ancestry to ask,
And at last truth could finally spill.

Jano’s kin, they came from Dol Amroth
A town close by sea and wild wave froth.
Once a place that could tell
Of Elves from Nimrodel
And Dunedain mingled, so ’tis quoth.

So - half an answer they had finally got
That perhaps had been so hard to spot.
But now – where to look?
Such a long time it took
Findin’ theories that 'splained quite a lot!

Well Jaenarra, the Mom, finally told
Of Nazgul wounds, whilst her tummy still swoll’d.
Now although she was cured,
Her babe reeled as tho’ skewer’d
Like a fish, by cruel poison so cold.

Now comes the time for conclusion,
'Twas no cause to feel disillusion,
For Jano’s young blood
By kingsfoil ‘twas flood
When her Ma drank it strong by infusion!

'Tis said that kingsfoil it is strong
From it purged was that poison so wrong.
E’en with athelas 'twas said,
A human child might be dead,
So Jano clung to her Elven blood’s song.

Though different, Jano’s healthy and blest
With love, Elven ears and heart ‘neath her breast.
She’s still Momma’s child -
Aldred’s love’s still beguiled
With her life’s blood - Elven noblest.

A piece of fun written in what I promptly dubbed a 'limerick saga', I think there is a more precise description of this form - but I can't be doing with those. This is sending myself up for an earlyish attempt at explaining away Jano's 'duality' - being an Elf on the outside, but often thinking and feeling like a mortal on the inside. I needed an ME reason for this and worked out what I thought was a nifty way of accounting for that by basically making Jano a 'changeling' - originally a fully human baby but then magically changed into an elf at birth. The lore-enforcers - 'officers of the lore' would have had a fit I think so I chose to have Jano keep this very much to herself, only telling her closest friends and Silen of course, the true circumstances of her birth.

With changelings anyway having close ties with foundlings, the concept stands in the more mundane and still truthful explanation that she was brought up from birth by humans and so that's what Jano lets people assume until she knows them well enough. With writing 'fanfic', part of the fun for me is making a concept 'work' within Middle Earth, but also in a modern sense as well. So I played with genetics a little here and for purists I took a liberty too far perhaps - Silen didn't mind though. More plausible is my take on how Morgoth made the Orcs from Elves... But that's another tall tale - and one that is prose of a much darker nature and even weirder science and not poetry in any conceivable way...

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Another for Silen and Jano

I want to be alone with you
In beauty, quiet and fresh
Where all is green and sparkling blue -
A place where our pure souls can mesh

Your search was long but ends in me,
Our first meeting sealed our fate
And led us where our hearts roamed free -
Found in the other our true mate.

My heart had lost all hope of love,
Had long dwelt in misery.
In sleepy pools, clear skies above,
We found our bliss – our destiny.

You touched me as no other did,
‘Neath falling water shining,
Cool and bubbling, so well hid,
We found home in our hearts residing.

 

Having bonded so truly and so fast Silen quickly decided to stay in Imladris with his brother and his new love and so by day two Jano and he were house-hunting...

Jano had a special place that only she ever went to and, because Silen was feeling a little jealous of her gwador, she took Silen to this lovely little glade that came with its own ensuite pool and waterfall. There they connected even more deeply in their own little private paradise built for two

Parth Aranor is what Jano and Silen will call their future home and they will be very happy there whilst they raise their family.
(Tree house and pool separately googled and then filtered and embellished with falling leaves in Photoshop)

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Another adapted saga form that tells of the creation of the Moon, Isil, and the Sun, Anar. As well as stealing the precious Silmarils and murdering Finwë, Morgoth's greatest outrage was the slaying of the Two Trees that lit Aman. The Ainur were in the Noldor's eyes too slow to respond to these catastrophic crimes and so they set off on their own disastrous crusade too hastily and made the situation a whole lot worse.
Though the Trees were doomed they both delivered one last mighty gift before they died. Telperion brought forth a flower, Isil and Laurelin a fruit, Anar. The Valar took these and created the Moon and the Sun from them. If only the Noldor had waited those precious days before careering off into legendary exile chasing the only other remnants of the world lights contained in the Simarils...

 

The Coming of the Moon and the Sun

In dying Laurelin bore forth one fruit of gold,
Brought on by Yavanna’s failing song
That bade farewell the Valar’s brightest Tree of old.

Telperion’s last silv’ry glow birthed a flower,
Brought on by Nienna’s falt’ring tears,
Healed not evil’s wounds that slew the Two Tree’s power.

 Anar, the child of Laurelin shone strong and bright,
Kementári bore her to Aulë
With Isil, heir of Telperion's gentle light.

Two vessels Aulë wrought to bear the Lights on high
Anar and Isil shining full bright,
To banish Morgoth’s darkness that blighted Arda’s sky.

The silver hunter Tilion took up Isil
And high he steered its glimmering sheen
Lighting the dark seven times, weak’ning Bauglir’s will.

 Then flaming Arien bore high Anar’s bright fire
Conqu’ring the foul dark, killing the night,
The Sun’s blaze reigned fierce and set the skies afire.

 Thus two great lights against Angband each day made war
And evil darkness was twice laid low.
The Moon and Sun together, lit the world once more.

 And so the exiled Noldor, hailed the changing Moon
Calling his wand’ring, wavering face
Raná the Wayward, who lit their path like a boon.

 As for Anar’s fierce face that first rose far West,
Elves named her Vasá, the Heart of Fire.
Melkor’s fear of her was wrought at Aman’s behest.

 Long now have Eldar honoured Tilion’s soft light
As he follows Arien’s bright sway.
Her blazing face roused Men and freed them from the night.

So praise be to Anar who shines so long this day
For she vanquishes the cold dim dark.
But for her in ages past where would Man be today?

They fell...
in glaring flame
and dark black smoke.
From the mountain
into the rocky vale.
The cost we paid
for freedom.
They fell…

It fell…
from the high crags,
its fire diminishing.
Damned to the depths
for its defiling
of the light.

He fell…
still golden bright
in glory and in pain.
Fighting for us.
The path made safe.
His life the price.

They fell…
into a legend
of betrayal
and deathly oaths.
His life for hope
of an escape
to destiny.

They fell.

The story of Glorfindel and the Balrog. As sparsely told here as in the Silmarillion by Tolkien, but from an eye witness' viewpoint.

This was written a few months before I became a moderator and took on the role of Glorfindel myself, but he tells me that I got it about right although he himself does not remember too much about it.

In a later thread which was actually a quest game touring Middle Earth, Jano and Glorfindel talk of his death in the First Age. She had once sung this in his presence and knew he had been unsettled by it and wished to apologise, but he assured her he had not been offended and then tried to explain why.

How do you fight a being made of fire and darkness and hatred? Instinctively and also unthinkingly most likely. Glorfindel was traumatised by the vicious sack of Gondolin and was trying to take fellow survivors to safety and suddenly confronted by a fiery 'heart of darkness'. He lost all reason and went berserk - how could he not? So an adrenalin rush intent on destroying what lay between them and freedom and he succeeded in killing it but it took him with it...

 

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Another piece about Elrond and Elros. This is like a conversation between the two of them and to some extent it is hard to say which of them is speaking as twins of course often finish each other's sentences and know what the other will say.

They made their choice and then parted, Elrond staying on in Middle Earth with their Elven kin and eventually becoming one of their principal leaders and Elros departing to a mortal destiny in Numenor as the first King of the Edain, a dynasty that survived through twists and turns of fate into the Third Age and ultimately to Aragorn and to Arwen, the niece that Elros never knew.

In this I was seeking to explore how the twins parted company, divided now by the Gift of the Secondborn - death and freedom beyond the bounds of Arda. Elrond, bound to the immortal path of the Eldar in this, vows to stand as guarantor for his brother's choice and sacrifice, and to guide the children of his legacy into their eventual inheritance as the masters of Middle Earth.

Unending

Today ’tis all sad songs
But ’twill not always be that way.
Once we can right the wrongs,
Break the bounds, none can say us nay.
Dive to the depths. Rise to the heights.
We will reach near and far,
Not fear the dark, nor shun the lights
Of Sun, nor Moon, nor Star.

Together we are strong,
Our wills entwined though far apart.
Two paths, one Ages long,
The other short – vein of my heart.
My Brother, mind of my mind,
Closest of kin, dear one,
There is no way we cannot find.
Our battle's always won.

You are a part of me.
That will not dim, nor fade away.
Though your death has to be,
You will live beyond the stars sway
And I will keep the faith burning
Bright, so strong, without fail.
I’ll remember your face shining.
Your Gift will never pale.

The Fairest Gem

Bright Arkenstone, by sight alone,
the fairest gem to grace this land. 
Its beauty fair, its light so rare,
Held in a trem’bling dwarven hand.

Silver shim’ring, all a-glitt’ring,
dancing, glowing in the gleam 
of warm fires’ light, chasing the night
from deep stone halls’ of lofty beam. 

In daylight’s Sun, its glitter spun,
like twinkled sparks of light   
’pon water pure. Its bright allure
unrivalled, as the Bards recite.  

So glist’ning bright! Shimm’ring snow white,
facets aglint beneath the soft, dark,
frosted velvet, high starry net,
spangled ’cross the heavenly arc.

Wav’ring moonlit, reflections flit
o'er mirrored pools of rain,
like pearly rings, shifting, shiv’ring,
ripp'ling on a jewel without stain. 

A rainbow’s light, hailed Durin’s might
in a glorious refracted fountain.
O Arkenstone, by high arts hone,

the peerless Heart of the Mountain. 

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The next five works were written during the transition between the first forum I belonged to and the one I now moderate on. They were all written for the former forum for the 'Inter-Kingdom Poetry' contests, in which we competed with work on a set theme and a different form every month. I had changed kingdoms (I joined Isengard as the result of a disagreement with the moderators of Imladris at that time) and the poetry team was myself and a new friend - all the other teams had 4 people mostly and subs too. It was fun for a while and I vowed to stay with my friend until we got another person to play on. My heart however was turning more and more to my new forum and I am not too fond of forms as such - I prefer more freedom in my poetry, though rhyming comes easily enough to me I would rather concentrate on the emotional tone and to find my own solutions to the resonance of my meters.

Anyway - the Arkenstone was my first theme and a very bad start to my IK Poetry career in that the form (the Triquatrain) caused a lot of frenzied confusion and, despite the sample work containing assymetric syllable counts, the judges declared that they should be even throughout and so we had to change my original piece at the last minute. We did OK with it but the first version was much better in my opinion and so this is the one I choose to publish here.

(image made in Photoshop for an earlier art competition to depict the Jewels of ME - I chose the Arkenstone and based this on the Tolkien's description of it in the Hobbit - and the poem also takes the same inspiration)

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No idea what this form was - all I can say is that I'd long since done my Helcaraxë poem and so this did not really catch my imagination.

It's neat enough anyway and we got a reasonable placing with it but I was already beginning to resent the amount of nit-picking before and after submission and what was increasingly a thorn in the flesh over pronunciation - which of course can vary. Although English is the univeral language of the forum, of course there are many varieties these days and regional differences in how words are contracted or delivered also seemed to raise blood pressures when words did or didn't match the required syllable count.

It all started to get to be a chore to be honest but of course producing work to a common theme and using prescribed forms was really the only way to compete levelly, if mechanically...

 

Across the grinding ice…
Our road at first led east 
To the Sundering Seas,
Where elf fought elf, and rage
Left kinship bitter lees.

Across the grinding ice…
With tears of disbelief,
We watched the ships catch fire,
And turned our faces north,
Hope lost on burning pyre.

Across the grinding ice…
Still holding to grief’s Oath
We marched into thick frost
And biting cold and snow,
Mourning innocence lost.

Across the grinding ice…
Shrouds of fog freezing blood
Through cruel Helcaraxë
We endured, though souls died.
Our Vow still burned away

A Gift to their Beloved

Beren called her his Nightingale,
And Namó sent them home,
The bargain made, her love now hale,
A second life to roam.
She sang and danced, his love entranced,
’Til fate decreed their time was done.
She sang and danced,
She sang and danced,
They left the world, their story spun.

She loved Tuor unto his death,
Through Gondolin’s dread fall.
She loved him dear ’til his last breath,
And mourned in Mandos’ Hall.
They sailed the Seas a westward breeze
To fill their billowing white sail.
They sailed the Seas,
They sailed the Seas,
They passed beyond the mortal veil.

He was her Estel and her love.
They waited long and true,
For peace so just, blue skies above
Gondor’s White Tree bloomed new.
A mortal end, never to bend
From ancient promises long held,
A mortal end,
A mortal end,
For deepest love, pure hearts will meld.

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The theme of this was at least one that interested me although I twisted it to suit as it was I think about the Gift of Death. Again the form used is forgotten but I hadn't interpreted the rhyme structure properly and realised that the last four lines of each verse should have rhymed...

So another hasty re-write to conform correctly and the 'official' version again did well. Once again however I prefer my first effort which seemed to have more balance so that's the one that goes up!

 

Foe-hammer fell, so fast and hard.
Siege blown to shreds, past mountains’ guard.
Unnumbered Tears. Death’s bitter knell.
So fast and hard, Foe-hammer fell.

Blue light-rimmed steel. Blood stained Glamdring.
As fire burned fierce, Turgon the King,
Fought the Fates - never would he kneel.
Blood stained Glamdring. Blue light-rimmed steel.

From Trollish hoard, to dank, dark cave,
Beater was borne, a Quest to save.
Wizard struck true, swept orc-bane sword,
To dank, dark cave, from Trollish hoard.

To Greenwood's aid the Sword was called,
And legend made ’round Tower walled.
Evil took flight and doom was laid.
The Sword was called to Greenwood's aid.

In Demon fire the Blade burned blue,
As Gandalf fought that foe he knew
Could quench forever mortal ire.
The Blade burned blue in Demon fire.

Foe-hammer swung, blindingly swift,
At brave Helm’s Deep to Gondor’s gift
As siege bit hard on knife-edge hung.
Blindingly swift, Foe-hammer swung.

A poem about a sword - the one that Gandalf found in the Troll's cave and took for his own in The Hobbit. Although I can 'do' warrior stuff and quite enjoy it now, the mechanics of fighting and weapons are not of great interest but Glamdring is legendary of course and so the juxtapositioning for each verse added interest in how I could show the blade's history, whilst putting myself in an 'edged weapon' mood. An interesting exercise anyway.

 

Now this one I enjoyed writing! Again the form escapes me, except that it came in 3 stanzas and so this is really 3 poem forms in one, but it doesn't really matter at all. The reason I enjoyed this was because I was in a towering temper in RL with a friend but trying very hard not to lose it with him - wonderful therapy this!

Balrogs too, despite killing my lovely ruler IC Glorfindel are really great beasts to write about and this was arguably the toughest one or at least the one who managed to escape the Valar and outlive his brothers. He comes into the the story in Moria of course and the theme was actually about that fabled and most precious of metals - Mithril. Well I cheated I suppose!

So as the dubiously appointed guardian of the truesilver that was only found in Moria in ME, this Balrog destroyed the Dwarves mining there not once, but twice, firstly around the turn of the first millennia of the Third Age and then again 30 or so years before the Fellowship passed through Moria.

I think my piece refers to the first such scouring of the pesky miners from the Balrog's domain which ended with the fiery monster besting the Dwarves great king Durin (the last of that name I think, but no doubt some clever clogs lorists will correct me) and chucking him off Durin's Tower at the summit of Celebdil (the Silvertine).

And so ended my career as an IK poet. I went out with a bloody great bang though!

Mithril Blazing

Fire-wrapped I slept, in Shadow deep.
A rocky Keep
Around my dreams,
In Mithril seams.

Enmeshed in silver, strong and true,
Ages fast blew
Like so much sand,
swept from Angband.

My brothers lost, alone and cowed
I fled, pride bowed,
Though never lost -
Silvered in frost.

Five thousand years, or more I dreamed
As Mithril screamed
In forges bright.
Such scorching light!

Awoken by their scratching tools,
Those puny fools
Disturbed my rest -
Defiled my nest!

They delved too deep, too greedy Dwarves
Past dingy wharves
And lesser ores,
Like reckless whores.

My heart of fire blazed strong and fast.
Hurricane blast!
True silver strong!
Fierce and long!

They fled my rage, in vain they ran
’Cross bridges span.
My shadowed heat
relentless beat.

They robbed my depths, those foolish thieves!
Foul lives like leaves
Burned by my fire -
On Mithril pyre.

Faenelloth’s Lullaby

Sleep little love.
Rest quietly dear.
The stars high above
Will guard against fear

Sleep child of mine.
The wind in the trees,
Sing to you so fine,
Float soft in the breeze.

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This is a lovely little aside about a very interesting 'spare' or NPC character of mine (Non-player character - meaning not your usual character). She was brought in to help out in a battle RPG that was threatening to turn pretty banal and to serve as a female warrior foil to a friend's 'paramount warrior' character who was getting rather jaded.
The RPG had the NPC in a later guise as a kind of vampire-zombie elleth who lived to kill orcs. This lullaby comes from the time before she was corrupted forever and was expecting her first child. A very sad tale of course...

This piece is an ME-adjusted version of my first Hirillonwë piece. Glirhuin was a very minor Tolkien character and really this isn't him at all but a namesake that I threw in as a deceased comrade for the Bards of Imladris to mourn. So he never had an RP life save as a corpse. Well the Bards had to have someone to lament and this was what was sung as they buried one of their own.

In fact he died in the same battle as Faenelloth's next incarnation as the damned warrior elleth from the lullaby above. Poor Glirhuin did not get such a good share of the limelight but he may return in a flashback as he is related to another of my 'stable' of useful NPCs, so perhaps he'll get a bit more of a thread life in time.

 

Remembering Glirhuin

I was ever glad to know you,
And long you warmed my heart.
With joy I heard your voice
As it soared and glowed
With life and care filling your song
With grace and passion.
I heard your music swell
The lyre’s strings quivering
As you played out your love.

I recall the gentleness in your face
As your heartfelt words
Called out to me.
We were still new friends
And felt our kinship
As our voices rose and fell,
Sang out our wonder
As you played so sweet.
I was proud to call you friend.

And now your feä departs
Freed now and unbound.
Your voice will live
In our hearts and
Your soul will surely sing
You on your way.
Soar away fair Glirhuin.
Go to your rest knowing you left beauty
For us to remember you by.

never, ever, always

Were you never green?
Always arid - never nurturing?
Did the light ever fall unchecked,
onto your cracked earth of despairing ash?
Were you never green?

Did the rain ever fall?
Were your skies always dark and dry?
How thirsty are your hopeless thralls,
caught in a web that sucks away all life?
Did the rain ever fall?

Was a smile ever seen?
Has kindness never been bestowed?
Would there ever be soft laughter
heard rippling free in your dark echoing halls?
Was a smile ever seen?

Were souls always chained?
Could they never soar at liberty?
Would they ever dare to plan escape,
and find a trail that set them free?

In this land of Mordor where all is dust -
were souls always chained?

And the latest one for now. This one was performed by the Golden Chap himself whilst representing Imladris in a pseudo-Olympic 'event' held in Mordor recently. This didn't go down too well with the Judges (well one of them and for obvious reasons as the theme was Mordor and this is not good PR of course...). Glorfindel needed a bit of coaching from Jano but I think he did quite well for a beginner really - he lost points because I think the judges really wanted a more classic form with more rhyming in there. But I like it so - yah boo sucks!
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The above works are solely my own efforts, but I have collaborated with others at times and perhaps you would care to have a look at an epic poem - The War of the Ring - which was penned by 2 fellow Bards, Saranna, a fellow Imladris Elf and BombadillTom, a hobbit of the Shire (now known as Stabilia). I loved the piece so much I wanted to put it in a place of honour within the Bard's Guild and because this would be something of a feather in our cap I decided to try my hand at a kind of illumination approach to embellish and illustrate the work

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE WAR OF THE RING

 

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