~*~





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
teeth

chill with the promise
of winter.



Two days
shall pass upon
this slender journey.


Two days
and

a lifetime.


Dangerous,
my other Adventure,

departed upon
with not so much
as a handkerchief.


More dangerous,
still,

this errand,

yet
one of ever-so-greater
a treasure,

waiting
upon its ending.


Two days
shall I tramp

fields made
harvest-fallow,

two days
sleep


quiet
beneath a pocket-dark
sky.



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

It is good to walk
the Road again,

good to smell
the warm scent
of tumbled leaves,

good to feel the
almost-wet

of dark earth
map-tracing

the hard soles
of my feet.


Good, too,
the small-sparking
fire

and the rude bed
between the knobb'd
knees

of a great and silent tree.

Early days, it is,
to think on

bringing the lad
who shares my
birth,

my kin-blood,
Home with me.

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

none too early,

none
too soon.


What may I find,
within the clamour

of the Hall,
that great

maze

of folk and noise?


What shall there be

left
of the quietly

happy lad,
the lad whose

child-voice
dreamt of fair tales,

companioning his Da
in their telling,

or counted
the Netted Jewels
beside his Mum.

Who might he be,
now,

where

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

began,
though years

and Roads
apart.


In but two days,
my life……

our lives,
shall be renewed,

our Roads become
twined.


This small lad and I.


We shall have

the
greatest

Adventure
of all.


And ever shall we celebrate
our birth-day,

in comfort,
together.



~*~










They were grey days,
I remember,

grey
and grief-shadowed,

there,

in the Great Hall
of my merry cousin.

Even this one.

Especially
this one.

Quiet it was
that I wanted,

quiet,
like they are now.

(Ah, but never might
it have been

*that* quiet,
never

might I have known
their water'd silence).

And
quiet crept

upon the polished floor,
lay

its silencing finger upon the too-large desk,

seeped beneath
filmed windows.

Almost
I could hear them,

then,

almost see
(had I but turned),

the sun-burnished
flowers woven in mumma's
hair,

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
memory.

Never

will she dance again,
breath held tight
beneath the great

leaf-shadowed tree,

breath
let go

in the low, dark
laugh

that only Da ever heard.

Never
would his arms
stay about her,

warm with gentle
strength,

never work
night-oiled oars

upon the river's
broad back,

voice
rising in song
beneath an orange-blooded

moon......

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

Uncle has tramped
the long road

from Hobbiton
today.

He leans over me
at my studies,

parchments
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......

we,
who were born
together

(and yet apart)
must go on.

I see a lifetime
of care

within his smile,
this odd uncle of mine,

this .......
weaver of tales

this....
journey-er

of Grand Journeys.

Yes,
Uncle,

I should like to go
with you,

whatever the Adventure.

Yes,
uncle,

we shall
go on,

together.

Happy birth-day,
Uncle.

Happy
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.
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