In the House of Tom Bombadil

They all dreamed darkly in the Master’s house.

Pippin dreamed of willows in the breeze,
Of grasping fingers, and the creak and crack
Of rasping laughter; of the horrid squeeze
Of ancient limbs that gaped and seized him back.

And Merry dreamed of pooling water, black,
Spread out around the cottage like a bog,
So deep and shoreless that they should be lost.

Alone of all, Sam slumbered like a log,
While Frodo dreamed of Gandalf’s silver hair
And hoofbeats falling dully on the moss.

Why dream so darkly in the Master’s house?

For Bombadil was host, and nothing ill
Could pass his doorpost or his windowsill:
He was the Master of the nightly air.

And they had eaten well, and at his fire
Had laughed and told their tales. His own desire
Was that they have no fear or further care.

So why dream darkly in the Master’s house?

Yet here we are; and though we’ve eaten well,
Though dangers lie behind or far ahead,
Though earth is green, our lodgings here are fair,
And there is cream and honey for our bread:

We doubt the rising twilight before bed,
And all dream darkly in the Master’s house.

April riddle

Here’s a little light riddle for the week. In medieval Europe, April was the first full month of the New Year, which began on March 25 — the feast of the Annunciation for Western Christians. Tolkien borrowed this date as the day of the Ring’s destruction in Mount Doom, and Aragorn instituted it as the beginning of the Gondorian New Year.  So it seems appropriate to seize the day (well, about a week late) to post a short riddle about time.

The answer will appear in a comment on Friday.

I only appear
Once in a year.
Wherever you seek,
I’m twice in a week.
And I’m sorry to say,
I’m not once in a day.

Evenstar

She waited, as the evening
Waits for silver laughter.
She waited as the winter
Longs for dripping water.
She waited. Others left her,
Went riding far and wandering:
She waited, as a hollow
Fills with quiet haunting.
She spoke no jarring word,
Went warring not, nor ranging.
She wore no feckless sword;
She did no feat of daring.
She waited, for the healing
Of all things comes with waiting.
She waited, as the starlight
Waits for the world’s changing.

Many a Road

This poem reminds me of “The Road Goes Ever, Ever On,” though it was written about 50 years earlier. MacDonald influenced both Tolkien and Lewis–as well as less likely characters like Mark Twain.

Parting

Thou goest thine, and I go mine,
Many ways we wend;
Many days, and many ways,
Ending in one end.

Many a wrong, and its curing song;
Many a road, and many an inn;
Room to roam, but only one home
For all the world to win.

~ George MacDonald, 1824-1905

Solveig’s Song

Melancholy

There’s no help for it. February is bleak. Ironically, it is also the month of the Valentine. Combining both, here is a little Rilke on forsaken love.

*        *        *        *        *

Maiden Melancholy

A knight, as from a proverb old,
Comes riding into mind.

He came. So through the wood and wold
The storm may come and all enfold.

He passed. So evening’s benison
May pass before your prayers are done,
Forsaken by the bell;
And though you’d cry aloud with woe,
You only whimper, long and low
Into your kerchief cold.

A knight, as from a proverb old,
Rides armored, far and fell.

His smile was sweet, and softly shone
Like antique light on elven-bone,
Like homesickness, like Christmas snow
On darkling rooftops, like the row
Of pearls set round a turquoise stone,
Like soft moon-glow
Upon a book loved well.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Book of Images

A Blessing on the Poets

Annie Finch is one of the few poets nowadays who writes in rhyme and meter. The little tidbit below says it all, doesn’t it?

A Blessing on the Poets
Patient earth-digger, impatient fire-maker,
Hungry word-taker and roving sound-lover,
Sharer and saver, muser and acher,
You who are open to hide or uncover,
Time-keeper and hater, wake-sleeper, sleep-waker;
May language’s language, the silence that lies
Under each word, move you over and over,
Turning you, wondering, back to surprise.

~ Annie Finch, 1956-

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