Yesterday morning my grandmother-in-law passed away. It was half 8. I found out yesterday evening, when my mum came to tell me. I was sitting here, in my room. No tears, just sadness. We all knew it was coming.
It’s funny, how I seem to be in the same place every time I discover that another one of us has gone. Us, as in my family – the ‘ever-dwindling’ group around the proverbial fire. 2007 was a year for leaving. Three of us faded into the shadows. I remember sitting in this very spot when my mum told me about dad. I had known that was coming, too. The weight of the news didn’t settle immediately. For days, even weeks I sat staring out into the darkness among the trees. I couldn’t quite yet accept that it was final, that he was gone, that he wouldn’t be coming back. He left so quietly that his shadow still roamed out there, just beyond my vision, just beyond where the flickering light could reach.
For a Library.
My soul is like a book;
woken in the morning by the Jolly Postman
and nurtured in the loving arms of Enid,
amid the snows of Narnia.
Looking out into cold reality it saw
hope and endless possibility;
because it found Charlie’s golden ticket and
saw the green world through the eyes of Mole
on that first Spring morning.
Like Bilbo it rushed out without a clean hanky
and made windows with Stig out of jam-jars,
but always came home for tea at Mister Tom’s
because it had a place to belong.
Today I thought I’d share another of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings in an audio recording.
The two excerpts I’ve chosen are from the first of the three volumes, The Fellowship of the Ring, and concern the great council held at the elven fortress of Rivendell on the 25th October in the 3018th year of the Third Age of Middle-earth; more commonly known as the Council of Elrond. Though there were many other topics discussed at this meeting of elves, dwarves and men, by far the most pertinent of these was the fate of the One Ring, which had been brought to Rivendell by the hobbit Frodo Baggins.
In the first of the excerpts, Boromir of Gondor tells the council of the prophetic dream which had led him on the long journey into the north to attend the council of which he knew not the purpose.
The second excerpt comes a little later on, when the ranger Strider reveals himself to be Aragorn, the heir of Isildur. The steward’s son Boromir is dubious of his claim. The ranger’s old friend Bilbo Baggins then steps forward in annoyance to recite a poem which is one of Tolkien’s most beloved and well-known pieces of verse.
Why say you’re Irish?
You live an ocean away
and always have done.
People are stupid
you should get used to this fact
Sweaty man in gym
I hope you’ll wipe that machine
before I use it.
You there English girl
will you ever stop moaning
you sound like you’re French.
1:0 to the French
The following is a recording of myself reading from one of my favourite parts of The Lord of the Rings.
The Departure of Boromir is, in my opinion, the saddest part of the whole trilogy. Those who haven’t read the books will perhaps not be entirely familiar with this beautiful and melancholic passage, which can be found in the first chapter of The Two Towers.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli come across Boromir, lying among the woods upon Amon Hen. The son of the steward has fallen to the hands of the cruel Uruk-hai in a valiant effort to protect his charges, the hobbits Merry and Pippin; the great horn he carried split in two. In their grief, the three place the fallen Boromir into a boat with his shield and horn and the swords of his enemies at his feet. Then follows Tolkien’s most elegaic poetry; the song of the three winds, which Aragorn and Legolas sing as they send their companion out on his final journey.
Morning comes, yet all is dark
Over the plain of the Pellenor Fields
Rohan has emptied its men and its steeds
Noble men riding against evil
And in a dark cave in the Morgul Vale
Eärendil’s star shines into the black
Under the shadow, mist and despair
The flagging hopes of mankind
Under the sun, the battle finished
Let kin asundered be apart no more
For in a dark where all lights go out
Eärendil’s light has come again
It’s so dark in here;
the light is fading.
I can see the storm approaching through the window above me,
soon the rain will come down.
‘Hier drinnen ist es trocken,’ I say, and it is;
packed in like sardines, but at least we’re dry.
I share an awkward smile with the man next to me –
no, hardly a man, more a boy.
There’s barely any hair on his lip.
In the darkness it’s hard to tell,
which is comforting, in a way.
Difference is hidden by darkness.
But I’m close enough to see
that he has a blemish, in the shape of a star.