Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo!

This year, for the Baggins birthdays, jan-u-wine has written a pair of related poems, one from Bilbo's point of view, one from Frodo's. The poems are set at the time of Frodo's first birthday after the death of his parents. If they died boating in the summer, the loss, in September, would have been very fresh.

The poems capture both characters beautifully, and in a subtle range of mood. While the poems don't portray a "happy" birthday, they hint at the rich relationship, and many truly happy birthdays, that will come.

Happy birthday, dear Bilbo and Frodo!

Beneath a Birthday Moon

Upon the crown of the Hill
Eärendil stays

as I set out,
great sky-bowl lit
yet with his sail.

Little winds play
about my feet,

autumn's sharp-dull

chill with the promise
of winter.

Two days
shall pass upon
this slender journey.

Two days

a lifetime.

my other Adventure,

departed upon
with not so much
as a handkerchief.

More dangerous,

this errand,

one of ever-so-greater
a treasure,

upon its ending.

Two days
shall I tramp

fields made

two days

beneath a pocket-dark

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is good to walk
the Road again,

good to smell
the warm scent
of tumbled leaves,

good to feel the

of dark earth

the hard soles
of my feet.

Good, too,
the small-sparking

and the rude bed
between the knobb'd

of a great and silent tree.

Early days, it is,
to think on

bringing the lad
who shares my

my kin-blood,
Home with me.

Early days……
and yet my heart fears…..

none too early,

too soon.

What may I find,
within the clamour

of the Hall,
that great


of folk and noise?

What shall there be

of the quietly

happy lad,
the lad whose

dreamt of fair tales,

companioning his Da
in their telling,

or counted
the Netted Jewels
beside his Mum.

Who might he be,


might he be,

this elf-strange lad
whose feet

ne'er were close
upon the ground?

Two days.

It will be our birth-day then.

The day our lives in
this round world

though years

and Roads

In but two days,
my life……

our lives,
shall be renewed,

our Roads become

This small lad and I.

We shall have


of all.

And ever shall we celebrate
our birth-day,

in comfort,


They were grey days,
I remember,

and grief-shadowed,


in the Great Hall
of my merry cousin.

Even this one.

this one.

Quiet it was
that I wanted,

like they are now.

(Ah, but never might
it have been

*that* quiet,

might I have known
their water'd silence).

quiet crept

upon the polished floor,

its silencing finger upon the too-large desk,

seeped beneath
filmed windows.

I could hear them,


almost see
(had I but turned),

the sun-burnished
flowers woven in mumma's

the amused snap
of Da's eyes.

Never did I turn,
for fear

(and fright'd hope)
of what my wanting

heart might conjure
beneath the great tree,

upon the fierce green-gold
tapestry of the river.

They are empty now,
those places:

empty in all but


will she dance again,
breath held tight
beneath the great

leaf-shadowed tree,

let go

in the low, dark

that only Da ever heard.

would his arms
stay about her,

warm with gentle

never work
night-oiled oars

upon the river's
broad back,

rising in song
beneath an orange-blooded



Uncle has tramped
the long road

from Hobbiton

He leans over me
at my studies,

every which-way

upon the desk
(my thoughts as scattered,

my mind yet as blank
as the page upon
which I am meant to do sums).

I must go on,
he says,

his arm
about my shoulder,

kindly eyes seeking mine.

We must go on......

who were born

(and yet apart)
must go on.

I see a lifetime
of care

within his smile,
this odd uncle of mine,

this .......
weaver of tales


of Grand Journeys.


I should like to go
with you,

whatever the Adventure.


we shall
go on,


Happy birth-day,

birth day

to us, all.


About the painter of 'The Studio', the illustration that inspired this post:
Antonio Mancini (1852-1930) was born in Rome, Italy. Wikipedia's entry says of him,
[Mancini] showed precocious ability as an artist. At the age of twelve, he was admitted to the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples, where he studied under Domenico Morelli, a painter of historical scenes who favored dramatic chiaroscuro and vigorous brushwork, and Filippo Palizzi, a landscape painter. Mancini developed quickly under their guidance (...)

Mancini worked at the forefront of [the] Verismo movement, an indigenous Italian response to 19th-century Realist aesthetics. His usual subjects included children of the poor, juvenile circus performers, and musicians he observed in the streets of Naples.

While in Paris in the 1870s, Mancini met Impressionist Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet. He became friends with John Singer Sargent, who famously pronounced him to be the greatest living painter. His mature works show a brightened palette with a striking impasto technique on canvas and a bold command of pastels on paper.

In 1881, Mancini suffered a disabling mental illness. He settled in Rome in 1883 for twenty years, then moved to Frascati where he lived until 1918. During this period of Mancini's life, he was often destitute and relied on the help of friends and art buyers to survive. After the First World War, his living situation stabilized and he achieved a new level of serenity in his work. Mancini died in Rome in 1930 and [was] buried in the Basilica Santi Bonifacio e Alessio o the Aventine Hill.


Previous Frodo entry:

~ Jan-u-wine's "The Master Observed" and "Frodo's Lamp", with art by Grimshaw and Carlsen.

Other Links:
~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.

From: [identity profile] rakshi.livejournal.com

Utterly lovely and deeply moving as always. Happy Baggins Birthday to both of you!!


From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Ha ha ha! I just this minute saw your own birthday post! Let's raise a glass to the Bagginses. (Although I'm raising a cup of coffee at this time of day, not a pot of porter.) You're up early for your time zone, I must say. :)

From: [identity profile] rakshi.livejournal.com

I'm raising my coffee mug as well, dearest lady.. though I'm sure Cathy and I will lift another glass to them later.. probably with water.

And I'm ALWAYS up early. I'm such a morning person.. a carryover, I'm sure, from years and years of getting up early for work. I love mornings.


From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

I love morning, too, although I'm not as keen to get up when mornings are dark, which they are now becoming here in northern MN. I woke up a little after six this morning, which was when I posted this, but I went back to bed for half an hour because it was still dark out. How I love it when dawn comes before 6 am or, even better, 5. What a morning person I am then!
Edited Date: 2012-09-22 02:10 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you, dear Rakshi! And Happy BB to you, as well!

From: [identity profile] shirebound.livejournal.com

I absolutely love both of those poems. Jan's word-pictures are exquisite, and I hope they, too, go ever on and on.

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

I hope they, too, go ever on and on.

Me, too, like the Road. Thanks, Shirebound.

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you so much, Shirebound......it's true, there is a feeling of *forever* about them, isn't there? *raises the glass to the 'going on and on' of them*

From: [identity profile] frodosweetstuff.livejournal.com

Happy birthday to these wonderful hobbits! It's good to remember the sad times together with the happy times.


From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Yes, it is. Sad times heighten the preciousness of happy times, and happy times recalled can make sad times easier to endure. :)

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

nice to see you here! I have to apologize a bit for the shading of the poems, but it is true that sad times don't endure, and serve to highlight the happy ones. And there is so much more happiness in store for the Baggins Boys than ever there was sadness. A lovely day to you, so far away, dear!

From: [identity profile] frodosweetstuff.livejournal.com

And you! No need to apologise! After all, Frodo wouldn't be who he is if his parents hadn't died when and the way they did. And yes, much more happiness on the way for them!

*big hugs* Happy Baggins Birthday to you!

From: [identity profile] mews1945.livejournal.com

The painting is so beautiful, and I can see it as a very young Frodo, feeling so alone in the world, despite all the family around him. The poems are lovely too, very moving.

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you so much, Mews! It's very nice to *see* you here!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

I'm so glad the illustration "read" for you, Mews. I like the portraits of this artist so much.

From: [identity profile] antane.livejournal.com

I was wondering how you two would celebrate the day. :) I love the Bilbo poem the most - that was just great. And I like the ending of the Frodo one too. Happy Day!!!

Namarie, God bless, Antane *hugs*

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you, Antane! Very glad you enjoyed the post. A happy day to you, as well!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

We couldn't miss Frodo and Bilbo's birthday, could we? I am glad you enjoyed the post, Antane. :)

From: [identity profile] bellewood.livejournal.com

"I see a lifetime
of care
within his smile,
this odd uncle of mine"

And so it was ..

Wonderful poems, and a gorgeous painting. So much like Frodo! Thank you and a happy Baggins Birthday to you both ♥

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

I'm very pleased the birthday post suited. Jan wrote the Frodo section of the poem inspired by that painting. I think it, and the poem that can of it, are so, so good. Happy Baggins birthday to you, too!

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you so much, Bellewood. I hope that it was a beautiful day for you as well!

From: [identity profile] not-alone.livejournal.com

Many thank to both of you, Mechtild and Jan, for such a beautiful post to mark this very special day.

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

You are very welcome, Paulie! Thank heaven Jan was inspired to write these beautiful, perceptive pieces. Otherwise it would have been a picture and a "Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo!" She's got such a gift.

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you very much, Paulie......but may I say how much of an honour it is to work side-by-side by Mechtild, my fellow Tolkiensta in arms!

From: [identity profile] lavendertook.livejournal.com

I'm glad you found that sad pic to inspire Jan. That would be a little grieving Frodo-lad. I'm glad he has his Bilbo to rescue him and, in turn, rescues his Bilbo.

Dealing with emotions would be "more dangerous, still" for Bilbo than entering a dragon's den, as you depict, Jan. I love his fretful worrying, more fretful by his Bagginsy procrastination. What is he avoiding thinking on in that "pocket dark sky"--I love that phrase. A lovely, loving treasure seeker.

Frodo-lads's images of his lost parents mediated through older memory are so sad--an orange-blooded moon indeed--ripeness spoiled. It's good to hear the despondent lad, unmediated, with rising spirits at his older cousin's invitation to kinship.

A beautiful set.

And Happy Baggins' Birthday to you both! <3
Edited Date: 2012-09-23 04:26 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Gosh, Lavender, what a beautifully written appreciation of the pieces. Your heart and mind and eye attend so closely and well. Thank you for your comment. Like the poems, it prompts much thought.

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

dear LT, i can only echo what Mechtild says .......you have written an appreciation so very keen and full of both thought and feeling. It touches me that these bits move people so much. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

From: [identity profile] addie71.livejournal.com

Such a beautiful birthday tribute. That picture of young Frodo is so sad and lovely.

I especially love this:

who were born

(and yet apart)

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

I'm so glad, Addie, that the post touched you. We began planning the birthday post months ago. We were very pleased with the chosen painting and the poems it prompted, but it's great to see it "worked" for other people as well. :)

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

thank you very much, Addie! (and next year, I will try to write something with more cheer! I can't imagine that Frodo was always so wistful. There must have been perfect firecrackers of parties, for many years!)

From: (Anonymous)

Taken to another place and time by poetry and art

Thanks to both of you for such loveliness. The painting is so evocative.. the out-of-focus appearance a perfect reflection of the jitteriness (and unreality) that Frodo was feeling at this time. Poor Mancini (artist)... it mentions in the bio that his mental health deteriorated -- I always wonder, with these painters, whether it was the lead in the paints. Constant exposure to lead? But I could be wrong, perhaps those kinds of paints (used by artists), didn't contain it.
In any case, it's very sad.

Jan-u-wine's poems, as ever, take me to another place. (I feel I'm really THERE in the Shire.) This is quite a feat, in my case, as I'm so pulled-down, daily, by the realities of my job that I'm amazed when something can draw me out of it. But good art, good writing will do that, thank God!

Such a gorgeous site, all in all. It's like an oasis.
Thank you!
Mary K.

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Re: Taken to another place and time by poetry and art

Mary! What a pleasure to see your comment. I'll tell Jan that you've dropped by.

the out-of-focus appearance a perfect reflection of the jitteriness (and unreality) that Frodo was feeling at this time.

You know, I never even thought of that, but you're right. As for Mancini, although the biographical note says he was in bad shape for a while, he did recover. I found comfort in that, but I'm Pollyanna-ish. :)

I'm so pulled-down, daily, by the realities of my job that I'm amazed when something can draw me out of it.

Oh, Mary. I'm sorry to hear your work environment is still so poor.

From: [identity profile] jan-u-wine.livejournal.com

Re: Taken to another place and time by poetry and art

Mary, you're a doll to drop by with all that's going on in your life. And I am doubly glad that I wrote these, if they at all made you feel, even for a moment, that you were in the Shire.
(and hasn't Mechtild created a lovely oasis for those who cannot (as yet) answer the Sea longing? Yes!)

thank you, dear heart, for stopping in and commenting!


mechtild: (Default)

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