Lothlorien

It’s autumn, and my favorite season. The falling leaves remind me of Legolas’s words about Lothlorien.

“There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold. Not till the spring comes and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof… My heart wood would glad if I were beneath the eaves of that wood, and it were springtime!”

“My heart will be glad, even in the winter,” said Aragorn.

They also remind me of Frodo’s first sight of Cerin Amroth:

Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever.

In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lorien there was no stain.

On Lorien there was no stain. That is strange, since we know from the rest of the mythology that Lothlorien is a place of exile. Galadriel dwells in Lothlorien as a penitent who is banished from Elvenhome and forbidden to cross the seas westward to the Blessed Isles again. So Lothlorien is a peculiar mix of timelessness and the longsuffering of penance.

And these are the themes I try to capture in this month’s poem.

*     *     *     *     *

Lothlorien

Run on, swift streams,
Around this circled vale.
Divide me here from then
And there from now.
Go running where the ships are deep enough to sail.

But I will stay. Leaves will not fail,
Nor spring, nor autumn,
Though the silver prow
Press ever onward through the westward sprays.
Heed not my tears.
The greening tree, once sprung,
Has long to live.
Time does not sleep, but strays
And stops to hear the shriving of the years.

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The Life of Beasts

The Academy of Inventive Literature has put out their first journal issue! It clocks in at 59 pages, with poems that actually sound good and a little prose fiction to boot.

Subscribe here, or read a free essay (“The Beastly Life and the Life of Art”) to get your imaginative juices going.

The Chariot

I’ve been on an Emily Dickinson kick. Below is the first published edition of one of her best.

The Chariot

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

~ Emily Dickinson, Poems: Series 1 (1890)

Dilemma

Behind the hill is sorcery,
And everything unknown,
But will the secret compensate
For climbing it alone?

~ Emily Dickinson, #1603

Inventive Literature

A new literary community is on the web! The Academy of Inventive Literature is taking shape over here. Their first journal issue takes off in late September. They’re looking for “musicality,” “pattern,” and “poetic diction” (as stated on an interesting discussion of formal poetry here).

Submission info is here. Their judging criteria are worth a read as well.

Still on the subject of the Hobbit…

Clamavi De Profundis has a recording of “Far Over Misty Mountains Cold.” They sing Howard Shore’s tune to all 20-odd verses of the original poem(s), including a contrasting melody for Durin’s Song.

Personally, I find Shore’s tune less singable than Maury Laws’s from the 1977 animated version, and it’s less intuitive than folk songs are supposed to be. But the Clamavi De Profundis version is very satisfying. Especially, for some reason,

Under the Mountain dark and tall
The King has come unto his hall.
His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,
And ever so his foes shall fall.

 

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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