Animal, vegetable, mineral…

We’re listening to an audiobook of The Hobbit, so I’m in the mood for riddling.

*     *     *     *     *

I’m not an animal, and yet I eat.
I’m not a plant, and yet I grow.
I leap and dance, but have no feet.
I have a tongue, but not a toe.

I’m not a seed, and yet I sprout.
A sudden wind can raise me high.
A sudden rain can put me out.
I have no life, and yet I die.

I’m not a mineral, and yet I’m struck
From dust and ash. In times of old
Had men not forced me from the rock,
Their hearts would still be dark and cold.

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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.

Riddle

I suppose any good Tolkienist should be interested in riddles. So here’s a little one for this week. (The answer is posted in a comment below.)

What swirls down hills
And into holes,
But will not fill
Our empty bowls?

To the Professor

A happy 125th birthday . . . to the one Professor who rules them all.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

~ J. R. R. Tolkien (Jan. 3, 1892 – Sep. 2, 1973)