written_leaves: (booktower)
Caged by men, to foe unfearing
The bars give way with courage nearing
In lines of steel her fair face tearing
Sharp, bright-edged Eowyn


An adaptation of Tennyson's Lady of Shallot for Eowyn's story, the idea was started by someone else but caught my fancy so I ran with it. I remember spending the better part of a long Thanksgiving weekend trip with a notebook in hand struggling to work this through - and yes, it's just as long. For what it's worth, I've had a couple people tell me they preferred it to the original, which was a fine compliment indeed.

The Lady Eowyn
In hall of stone above the plains )
-
written_leaves: (booktower)
A challenge was given to describe something complex in words of only one syllable and no more - and still make sense and preferably rhyme! This poem on the battle of Helm's Deep was the result.

We Won
We had no hope, the foe was strong )
written_leaves: (booktower)
The hunters three, persistently
(Consistent in their tracking feat)
A leaf of Lorien they found,
All pounded down in loam and peat.


An attempt at the patterning of Tolkien's "Errantry" which turned out to be quite a difficult task and increased even more my respect for his grasp of language. The pattern has been turned in this case to the story of the Three Hunters in their run and their encounter with the Rohirrim, emphasis on Gimli.

The Burly Axegrinder
There was a burly axegrinder, a taxminder, a warrior )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
Then in contentment, my searching done;
My final tale told in full, my wandering at an end,
I could recline this aged head to
Rest. In peace I could at last lay down,
And breathe out my last breath
With my Lady's name upon my lips.


Again from the Appendices as we draw the adventure to a close: an aged Gimli sets sail with Legolas, Galadriel's lock still set within its crystal. I'm tagging this with 'romance' only in the sense that it is a matter of the heart. With it I am including Galadriel's Message, which takes her message to him and uses each word to guide a full poem.

Lockbearer
Lockbearer, where have you gone? Over the seas, the wide seas to find you. )
-
Galadriel's Message
Greeting that I give you now, my Lockbearer, a bearer of heart's treasure )
-
written_leaves: (amused)
Before I launch into the set for Return of the King - Time for some random lighter bits of verse!

Two short bits that still amuse me even after all this time, one for the lack of love lost between Sam and Gollum, the other for that dramatic moment when Boromir lunges for the Ring and ends up eating leaves.

Sam Considers Gollum
Your eyes a buggin' )
-
Lots of Roughage
Gimme dat. )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
Silent and bright, the stars watch over
My suffering.


I bring the set for The Two Towers to a close with Sam's point of view as he watches the stars, and then seeks after Frodo in the tower. The first is an echoing pattern that I found very effective for the topic, the second is written with a simple song's rhythm - could use some editing, perhaps and I may eventually go back and rework it.

Star Watch
The light of Eärendil glitters )
-
A Song in the Dark
When it all seems ended, with no witness to our tale )
-
written_leaves: (booktower)
A tower with two faces

This is a poetic examination of the history of Minas Ithil / Minas Morgul, the formerly graceful Tower of the Moon that fell into darker hands and became what it was when we encounter it in the narrative.

Minas Ithil
radiant daughter of the Moon )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
Pale as sweet milk, yet rotted inside;
Luminous as the rising moonlight,
As the drying gleam of eyes newly dead.


This is a very dark piece, for me - the poisoned flowers of the Morgul Vale and the way they had been twisted from their natural purpose yet still bloomed. The underlying thought in this verse is that of children who are abused and kept in twisted situations until they believe it is 'normal' and go on to repeat those poisonous patterns and behaviours as they grow. Something or someone surrounded and steeped in distortion and deception will so often take it in simply for lack of anything whole or clean, a tragedy indeed.

Morgul Vale
the innocent deeply partake of evil )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
Lighting those trailing threads of life
On an austere, stony, fallen brow


We reach the Crossroads with its fallen, flower-crowned king and decisions to be made that are not truly choices - with it an unusual piece on Gollum that was a poetic exercise in an unusual form from the 13th century.

No Other Way
Herein lies the point of decision )
-
Poor Smeagol Harms Not Master
All the moanings merely madness; the whispers call though often fall to bickering and sadness )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
No doubts to touch their hearts, no fear however small
That you would ever lead them astray, no question
Ever shadowing their hearts to wonder at your honor.


A homage to Faramir and like The Red Book this is in the form of a sestina, where key words are shuffled and re-used in different order at the ending of each line in each stanza.

Sestina for Faramir
Though youthful for a Captain )
written_leaves: (illumination)
So near to darkness, green life holds sway

I've always had a love for plants and for simple gardening, perhaps that is part of why Ithilien remains one of my favorite places in M-e, the idea of a garden overgrown, the life just beneath the neglect. The first poem is a gentler verse for the bit of broth Sam made there, before meeting Faramir - the second is for the window beneath the waterfall of Henneth Annun and the contrast of its color and light with the darkness the men were dwelling in behind it.

Ithilien
A gardener's hands are among you )
-
Window on the West
Deep memories of some heart’s desire )
-

Fishhh

Dec. 20th, 2009 12:52 pm
written_leaves: (amused)
Om nom nom

Something Completely Different. This small verse for Smeagol's scrambling after his supper near Henneth Annun is strangely memorable, my family still launches into it from time to time.

Fishhh
Fishhh for Gollum, fishhh for strength )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
The stone reaches its blackened roots into another time,
Holds the wound open
And remembers.


A consideration of the Stone of Erech, where Aragorn rallied the Dead.

This piece was a MEFA poetry finalist, 2004.

Erech Memorial
Every wounded sunset sees it face another black night )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
Evil counsel, sweeter than honey, came to you

A 'moral' poem comparing and contrasting Denethor and Theoden, a Steward and a King facing massive decisions and having to carefully choose whom they listen to.

Counsel of Lies
Two leaders of men in a time of dark war )
-
written_leaves: (Default)
Yet for all your wisdom, you did not see
That a wound cannot be filled with shadows


A pair for Denethor, who obviously was once a better leader than the unstable wreckage he was becoming by the time the narrative reaches him. The first addresses his pride and claim on the leadership, the other his clinging to it by choosing to use a poisoned tool as a source of 'wisdom'.

Heritage
Lost beneath the banners and proud lineage )
-
Canker
Leader of ashes, Steward of secrets )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
All shadows fade eventually, don't they?

This is a longer prose-styled work, one of my first Tolkien poems and still one of my favorites. Pippin, so far from his home and in such a foreign land, waits for Gandalf in the room at Minas Tirith and looks out over the darkened, war-torn stone city.

Pippin in Gondor
How lonely is the sound of this city at night )
written_leaves: (illumination)
Saddled and bridled
And gallant rode he;
Home came his brother.
But never came he


The first here has a horse-riding rhythm for Boromir's ill-fated journey, who would never come home again and whose father would never recover from the blow. The second mourns Osgiliath and its broken dome, the lost city by the river with its abandoned artistry and bridges.

One Son of Gondor
Out from the battle )
-
Dome of Stars
...extinguished lamp of Numenor’s desiring )
-
written_leaves: (writing)
Three for Helms Deep and just after

For the Battle of Helms Deep I really have very little, but this first one notes Gimli's astonishment at the unacknowledged treasure that the Rohirrim were using as wartime storerooms. The second is a short verse for the uprising of the trees when they set the leftover orcs to better work as fertilizer. Not top quality works, but still worth a quick read.

With them I'm tucking a favorite piece for Theoden and Merry, which happened at Dunharrow rather than Helms Deep but followed shortly after. Their relationship always touched me. Anyone with a passing familiarity with Yeats will recognize it began as an adaptation from "When You are Old and Grey".

Glittering Caves
Wand'ring blind through paradise )
-
Huorns
Roaring and silent )
-
Theoden
Like a father you were, to him, - for a little while )
-
written_leaves: (illumination)
Such longing
I cannot conceal


I admit I am rather proud of how this one worked out. It is a wave-shaped piece on the sea-longing that tormented Legolas so. This poem folds back on itself - and in the proper formatting is a smoother wave - and the ending comes right back to the beginning, so the waves may continue as long as you like.

MEFA 2006 Honorable Mention for Dramatic Poetry.

Seabird's Cry
My soul fills my eyes )
-
written_leaves: (booktower)
The ancient trees extend their limbs in creaking-whisper secrecy
As rustle-leaf and quiver-root absorb slow thoughts that lie unseen


Two for the trees - or really, for the Ents. The first is not only for Fangorn "Treebeard" himself, but for all of the Ents and the trees they shepherded. It is written in an Entish way with very long lines and multiple-descriptives.

With it is a much simpler couplet-style overview of the waning of the forests and of the Ents, their rising again in war and their loss in their dwindled numbers being beyond recovery.

Fangorn
Deeping-eyes aglow come round, clear-watching all their wayward trees )
-
The Loss of the Old Woods
They hewed the trees and stacked the wood, and built their cities near beside )
-

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