The Great Hall of Poets – January 2016
The Grand Tales of Middle-Earth
by L. Lybarger
In times past, journeys unexpected unraveled
and a curious company of folk traveled
across the lands, in the face of ruination
to reclaim their home once plagued with desolation.
A battle, there was, great clashing forces
fire and death was seen, but the weary travelers held their course.
A great dragon, Smaug, was slain, unexpectedly by a mere human,
and a clash of forces ensued amongst many lusting for treasure, honor-dooming.
The dying king under the mountain sought to repent
and his remaining riches thereafter were well spent,
gifted to the brave, so as to gesture apology to all those he caused pain;
and so ends the tale of Thorin, grandson of Thror, son of Thrain.
There were many meetings, and many a friend made,
but then to rest, those times were laid.
O’er lands a new fellowship traversed, a group unusually diverse
and though in times past they had qualms, at journey’s end their company dispersed.
For every last goodbye was said,
and reminiscent tears were shed,
in remembrance of those unexpected heroes who smote down the evils of old,
and made way for the new world, for all to behold.
The corrupt one, blemishing the goodwill of the throne, the steward,
upon the battlements of Minas Tirith was skewered.
Since that day, no person had to stoop; nay, save before the hobbit saviors,
those who laid their lives over the course of those many long years
so that the lords of the two towers would be brought low,
and that the return of the king to his rightful throne be made known.
Commit to memory the story of how the hobbits delved
deep into the Misty Mountains, Cirith Ungol, and the forest Fangorn, home of ent and elves.
Ne’er forget the resounding sorrowful cries, at the untimely fate of Gandalf
as he fought up winding stairs, Glamdring scoring Durin’s Bane with devastating aftermath.
Lest we forget the horrors of Saruman as he sought to abuse the powers of the Palantír
and slowly fell to corruption from Sauron’s power, however sheer.
Remember the valiant mustering and ride of the Rohirrim,
answering to the call of the king whose mind, by Gandalf, was made sane again.
Think fondly of the valiance of Aragorn,
descendant of the line of the throne, who under Andúril, united the armies of Gondor.
Recall the treachery of the giant spiders, spawn of Ungoliant, that our dear hobbits sparred,
and of the ancient marshes who, by the War of the Ring, were marred.
Remember the shear horror wrought upon all by minions of Minas Morgul
and the shrieks of the wretched Nazgûl, of their fell beasts, so very cruel.
Savor the memory of the glorious ride of Gandalf the White, no longer gray
as he and the company of heroes charged forth into battle, swords gleaming bright as day,
accompanied by cries of “DEATH!!!, DEATH!!!, DEATH!!!”,
and bless that few that day expired in vain, nor wasted their breath.
For Frodo, so very small
whose wound from Weathertop could not be borne at all,
was carried by Sam Gamgee up Mount Doom.
Think fondly of Frodo, a hero with a heart of hearts, whom,
alongside Master Gamgee, played a glorious part
in ruining Sauron’s devious plans, triumphantly thwarted.
I will not say “Do not weep”, for not all tears are an evil
especially those wept for lives of heroes spent in the wake of darkness’ upheaval.
Shed them as you think back to Sam’s cry of “I can’t carry it for you, but I CAN CARRY YOU!”,
to the place where the raging fire ever-grew.
Gollum stole the ring, clinging to Frodo’s back,
but still the One Ring to rule them all would be cast into the great fiery Crack.
You may not know that greater powers were at play
for no mere mistake sent Sméagol, or rather, the insipid Gollum, into fire, hot as day.
Yes, indeed, some believe Eru Ilúvatar was the source of his fate,
the deity of great power to who all praise should have been made.
Forgo your regret, stay your sorrow, for the journey has yet to end,
and say to thyself “Hark, my heart, you need only time to mend”.
Remember, friends, to all whose time has passed,
in the far western lands of Middle-Earth, beyond even the Shire, time moves ever fast;
in a land where white shores, and beyond, host a far-green country under a swift sunrise…
all of this, one great paradise…
Realize that the journey doesn’t end here….
Death is just another path, one all must take, and for some it is very near….
The grey rain-curtain of the world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it…
All of your dearest friends, faces alit,
beneath the party tree in the Shire they sit,
enjoying a pipe, sharing a pint with Mr. Tolkien himself, where all worries and troubles are quit.
~~ * ~~
Oh, Bilbo Baggins once did tell
’bout his adventures (he told them well)
Went many places—Rivendell!
Many places that he visited.
He wrote of swords and elven kings
Of fire-drakes and magic rings
And many, many other things
That he once had seen.
But quite a while later, in a land called Shire
There was another little hobbit that we all admire.
Bilbo’s nephew, his name was Frodo B.
He lived with Bilbo in a hole (as you can plainly see).
He had interest in adventures (not much at all like his kin)
And he had a friend named Fatty (yes, who was not very thin).
On his and Bilbo’s birthday, they had a celebration
And ev’ryone from miles came—the whole wide Shire nation!
Gandalf, the wizard, came to help with the long-expected party
Fireworks were brought by him—he was feeling rather jolly.
Bilbo knew it was time to leave, and so slipped on his ring
Gandalf didn’t disapprove but hid the use of bling.
When B. departed, his baggish home was left to one certain Frodo
And Frodo learned, because his ring, though he was loathe to go
He must depart for Rivendell as Uncle did before
To bear the object through anything including peace and war/
He took three friends, and their nicknames were Sam, Pippin, Merry
They set off to visit the Elves, to the homely house in the valley.
Through a forest, stuck in a tree
Old Tom saved them, yes, Tom, and he
was the master of that old wood
He cared for the hobbits, as he should
Swords, they gained, from Barrow-wights
And after just a few long nights
They arrived at the village of Bree.
The Prancing Pony the hobbits sought
Gandalf said, Mr. Frodo thought
Lord Aragorn inside they met
And the bartender wasn’t roasted yet
Aragorn (they called him Strider)
led hobbits through the fields and mire
And made their camp at Weathertop
Though afterwards they thought it glop
‘Cause Frodo’s shoulder there was stabbed.
The Witch-king’s Morgul Blade it jabbed.
Frodo was hurt, he almost died;
Sam and the others almost cried.
Finally they arrived at Rivendell
And after being put through hell
They, for once, got to rest well
And forget about their troubles.
People came from many places
And they were all of diverse races.
Hobbits, elves, dwarves, men
They most certainly were not kin.
They held a council, very slow
It took fore’er for them to go.
When they finished, the final count
Was nine companions to see it out.
They’d take the Ring to Mordor
and destroy that ring (this time for sure).
Sauron then would not survive
And the free-peoples would revive.
Through the Pass of Caradhras they left to go
But were blocked by a lot of snow.
Caradhras brushed them away like a bug on his knee
So they chose to instead take an underground journey.
In that excursion they lost one of their members,
Gandalf the Wizard died from more than just embers.
A Balrog it’s called, a great fire-demon;
Gandalf fell fighting, his Glam-sword a-gleaming.
The remaining Co. ran to Lothlórien
They stayed for a while, just mourning-in.
They left, with great gifts, down the Anduin they went
They found lots of water and gifts Saruman sent.
These aforementioned gifts just happened to be
The fighting Uruk-hai—more than two eyes could see!
The Fellowship was split and Boromir was slain
Frodo, he left, feeling much pain.
Sam and he departed, set out for the Black Land
The will of the Ring often was hard to stand
The hobbits, eventually, ran into Sméagol,
A disgusting ex-hobbit who killed his friend Déagol.
His lust for the Ring was so very strong,
He spent his years searching for it, all the day long.
Frodo Baggins, a brave little hobbit, convinced him
To take them to wher’er he asked ‘im.
Sméagol (Gollum) led them to a million mile-long wall
That didn’t work; they tried Cirith Ungol.
While Gollum told them, he inwardly chuckled with glee:
“First the Straight Stair, then the Winding Stair, then we’ll see.”
The “we’ll see”, hobbits learned, was a rather large spider,
She didn’t yet know that ol’ Sam was a fighter.
She stung Mr Frodo, Sam returned the attack.
A Elbereth, Gilthoniel! was what he yelled back.
He saved Mr Frodo, and onward they went,
They kept moving forward though their energy spent.
On the slopes of Mount Doom Gollum returned;
Want for the Ring was energy never burned.
Sam fought him off while Frodo went on;
Their last bit of strength was just about gone.
Frodo stood at the Crack, the Ring in his hand
“This ring is mine!” is just what he said.
He slipped it on and then disappeared
Gollum fought him, all without fear.
Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger and fell into the lava
“My precious!” he screamed. “I want my mama!”
Samwise and Frodo greatly missed the Shire
They sat there and watched as the Ring died in fire
Eagles came in, found them right where they lay
“I am glad to see you guys,” said Gandalf the Grey.
But grey he was not! Gandalf had come back!
His color was changed; Saruman out of whack.
Sam and Frodo went home, back to Hobbiton.
My adventures, thought Sam, have only begun.
My wounds are too deep, Sam. I can’t live with this sun.
Frodo left his friends for the Havens.
The others simply met all their cravings
They still had hope, and a long life to live.
So they had to learn not to forget but forgive
Frodo leaving them. He had a rough adventure.