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.
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.
“Silence had fallen in the great hall, and she spoke.
“My brothers, listen to me. The gods came to assail us from the sea and I drove them back with my breath, to the very corners of the sea. But now the gods have come down from the mountain and I am unable to assuage them.
Battle is coming. I foretell by my witchcraft that none will be able to face this enemy that now comes; save the man who is named Shinutápka; our little brother and the heir of this castle. He alone will live. But even I cannot see whether this battle will go well; for on the sword our godlike brother Otópush wears the jewels do not shine. I do not know whether he will live or die.”
“Once again the golden sea-otter came in upon the tide, and I plunged into the surf after it. It fled before me, but relentlessly I pursued it. I dived again like a sea-bird and caught it with my foot. The otter looked up and, knowing me for who I was, was not scared of me. It came up and floated in my arms.
My prize was won. With a great leap the wind took me once more; I flew back across the land with the golden otter in my grasp. Soon, I saw my home – the castle Shinutápka. It was surrounded by mists, and I was overawed at its beauty. Gently I pulled aside the door flap and entered; my brother and sister had slept all of the night. But day was coming soon; so I placed the otter on top of the baskets and flung myself into my bed, as if I had been there the whole night.
The Ainu [アイヌ] are the indigenous peoples of Japan and far east Russia. Although the true number of Ainu descendants living in Japan is unknown, it is believed that only 200 pure blood Ainu remain, most of these upon Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Though the Ainu have their own language, they do not have a written alphabet. Even the spoken language is becoming much rarer. It is feared that slowly but surely the Ainu way of life is dying out; that soon the only records of their culture, their wisdom and their stories will lie in the hands of anthropologists.
Kutune Shirka is the most well-known story of the Ainu (you can read the original translated version by Arthur Waley here). It is an epic poem about an Ainu hero who catches a golden sea-otter in order to win the hand of an Ainu princess and is written, as is Ainu tradition, from the viewpoint of the protagonist of the story.