Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On This Mountain

So it's been a while since a wrote a Tolkien-inspired poem, and I decided it was about time. I finally broke down today and bought myself the Lord of the Rings poster calendar, and the picture for January is what is quite possibly the most beautiful image in the whole trilogy: Sam carrying Frodo up Mount Doom, a la the Pieta. Looking at it, I could hear the instrumental strains of Into the West rising up. Beautiful. So that was the scene I tackled in the following poem. Hope you like it.

On This Mountain

There is danger on this mountain,
Where the air is foul and fell
Far above the lava fountain
Where no decency can dwell.

Frodo’s gentle eyes are clouded,
And he can’t recall the Shire,
For his faculties are shrouded
In ferocity and fire.

There is naught to taste but ashes.
Little memory remains
Of Hobbiton’s wholesome hashes
Or its berries ripe with rain.

All its idylls and its greenness
Are desperately far away,
And the world is full of meanness
And distortion and decay.

Yet with all the gloom around him,
Samwise stubbornly remembers.
Dim despair has not yet found him
In the darkness and the embers.

With a pain profound and piercing,
Samwise watches his friend fade,
And his passion makes him fierce
As he finds strength to bring him aid.

“I can carry you!” he roars.
With a focus undefiled,
Sam plucks Frodo from the floor
And cradles him like a child.

Every step is slow and steady.
As the Cracks of Doom draw near,
Defiance renders him ready.
He is numb to any fear.

And this scene so grim and gritty,
So engorged with grief and grime,
Evokes feelings not of pity
But of glory as he climbs.

Now the Shire is not so distant,
Nor its beauty out of view.
Sam reclaimed it in an instant
With, “But I can carry you.”

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