Barad-dûr and Mt. Doom, variation 2, by John Cockshaw-TEASER crop

~ Detail from The Stronghold of Barad-dûr and The Fires of Mount Doom, Variation 2, by John Cockshaw.

I can never let the anniversary of the fall of the Dark Lord go by without commemorating it. This year jan-u-wine has risen to the occasion, going deep inside Frodo's consciousness for telling glimpses of his experiences during that day. Below I have copied out what is, for me, the most compelling description of the place where Frodo must contend, within and without, with the Eye. It's not from Return of the King, though, but from the end of Fellowship of the Ring. Frodo, in grief and fear, has put on the Ring to escape Boromir and ascended Amon Hen. Looking out from the Seat of Seeing, recovering himself, he finds his sense of perspective restored -- that is, until he finds his gaze drawn and held by the Dark Lands and its Lord.

This passage meant all the more to me after reading Jan's poem, where a similar thing happens, or so it seems to me, in reverse. In 'Hope', Frodo emerges from a state of thrall, his perspective narrowed to a point, to find his perspective restored after the Ring is destroyed and the Tower fallen. Not only perspective, but hope.

A brief discussion of the illustrations featured in this post, and their creator, John Cockshaw, follows the poem.


From The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship":

He was sitting upon the Seat of Seeing, on Amon Hen, the Hill of the Eye of the Men of Númenor. Eastward he looked into wide uncharted lands, nameless plains, and forests unexplored. Northward he looked, and the Great River lay like a ribbon beneath him, and the Misty Mountains stood small and hard as broken teeth. Westward he looked and saw the broad pastures of Rohan; and Orthanc, the pinnacle of Isengard, like a black spike. Southward he looked, and below his very feet the Great River curled like a toppling wave and plunged over the falls of Rauros into a foaming pit; a glimmering rainbow played upon the fume. And Ethir Anduin he saw, the mighty delta of the River, and myriads of sea-birds whirling like a white dust in the sun, and beneath them a green and silver sea, rippling in endless lines.

But everywhere he looked he saw the signs of war. (...) All the power of the Dark Lord was in motion. Then turning south again he beheld Minas Tirith. Far away it seemed, and beautiful (...). Hope leaped in his heart. But against Minas Tirith was set another fortress, greater and more strong. Thither, eastward, unwilling his eye was drawn. It passed the ruined bridges of Osgiliath, the grinning gates of Minas Morgul, and the haunted Mountains, and it looked upon Gorgoroth, the valley of terror in the Land of Mordor. Darkness lay there under the Sun. Fire glowed amid the smoke. Mount Doom was burning, and a great reek rising. Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him.


Barad-dûr and Mt. Doom, variation 2, by John Cockshaw-1000 pixels wide


No longer do I know the day.

It is not only the Sun,

not only fearsome dark
pressing upon me,

pressing me

to the vomited
sharpness of
the Mountain’s

black cloak.


I count upon my fingers
the days…..

I number with the night’d
wheel of my thoughts

what month it should be,

what day,



Only a waiting silence

the surety that this day,
this day,
when-ever it might be,

this day
will bring an end.

I am beyond fear,
beyond courage

or virtue.

A silencing
runs though me,

my heart stilling
like a great river

beneath Winter’s touch.

it is good

to loose myself,
to not be Seen,

by so foul an Eye,

to not hear,

smoke-tendril’d whispers,

the thistle-barb of them

about my every thought.

It becomes a resting,
to give over,


a place of dreme and sweet sleep
by compare to all those

days I have forgot.


There is something,

I was sent here to do,

some thing that yet
yearns within me,

the taut fingers of it
bloody with desire.

I cannot


my hand

that which it should not,

frees It from Its chain,

holds It.

It will look fair upon my hand.

And the World opens before my eyes,

and barren,
sullied for all of time.

My heart keeps pace with the fire waiting but one shortened step below.

someone is crying out.


They are screaming,
great tearing

rents of sound,

like gouts of blood,

stabbing and showering
the air,

the red of the walls,
the thickened atmosphere of this terrible place.


I think
I shall scream


If I were able to know such things,

able to measure time
(instead of being measured by it),
I should know

how very shortly quiet
(and all save one of my companions)


There was nothing, then.


Once again,
I am carried beyond myself.

Beyond this place,
this moment,

this ending,
I am borne,

the world a glorious

a soft-clouded,
wondrous ruin.

I know this day.

It is a day of shadow
and sun,

death and life,

and victory.

It is the day


Summit of Mt. Doom-700 pixels wide, by John Cockshaw

The Summit of Doom, by John Cockshaw.

Author's Note: March 25 is, indeed, the day ‘of Hope’. Frodo and Samwise were named “Hope” by Gandalf (Bronwe Athan Harthad (Endurance Beyond Hope) and Harthad Uluithiad (Hope Unquenchable) after their sacrifices in the War of the Ring. Perhaps of more import, one of Aragorn’s many names was Estel, meaning “Hope”, and given to him at his fostering by Lord Elrond.

When Aragorn and Gilraen, his mother, parted, she said, knowing that his destiny was to attempt to restore Middle Earth, and that they would not meet again:

“I give Hope to the Dunedain. I keep no hope for myself”.


About the Art:

I originally planned to make this entry a part of my ongoing "Tolkien Landscapes" series in which I've been featuring drawings and paintings by J. R. R. Tolkien. But his only detailed drawing of Orodruin is more a reference sketch than an illustration, as if he made it to help keep the setting clear in his mind as he created the scenes in which the Ring is finally destroyed.

The pictures for this post were created by a young Tolkien artist from Yorkshire, UK, John Cockshaw. I found a few of his pictures on Google images, searching for other illustrations suited to March 25, pictures showing Mt. Doom and Barad-dûr. I found Mr. Cockshaw's blog and asked permission to use his work. Visit his website and browse: From Mordor to the Misty Mountains: Original artwork inspired by the tales of Middle-earth .

The pieces above, like most of the work featured in Cockshaw's blog, show scenes from Tolkien's tales, especially natural and architectural settings of narrative significance. Many are remarkably evocative, using form and colour in a way that invites the viewer to enter into the scenes imaginatively. Most are created digitally, using photographic elements, but at least one blog entry demonstrates Mr. Cockshaw is a talented draftsman: see New collection of pencil work: the silence, the wisdom, and the watchfulness... , posted in an entry from last month.


Previous entry:
Tolkien w pipe-ICON ~ Happy 122nd Birthday, J.R.R.T., with vintage photos and new poem by jan-u-wine, 'Mea Cuppa'.

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

From: [identity profile] shirebound.livejournal.com

What a heart-rending, soul-soaring poem. Thank you for reminding us of this very important anniversary.

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Shirebound, you are welcome. I appreciate your comment so much. I agree, of course. :)

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

wow, what a lovely, lyrical comment, SB! so glad you enjoyed the post.

From: [identity profile] lavendertook.livejournal.com

What a fearsome hope Jan has painted--I'm glad Frodo could feel it still.

The artist is like an impressionistic Alan Lee.

Happy Ring Day to you both!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

The artist is like an impressionistic Alan Lee.

I hadn't thought of that, Lavender. Alan Lee is my favourite Tolkien illustrator, as a matter of fact.

Happy Ring Day to you, too -- and as for "a fearsome hope", you ought to know, O Survivor. :)

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

Happy Ring Day to you, as well, dear LT....

'a fearsome day of hope'.....
yes, really, it is, isn't it? But hope, in whatever form, is a good thing indeed. And don't we both just know it!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Thank you, Mariole! I'm so glad the poem and artwork struck a chord. Let us raise our tankards to the downfall of Barad-dur, and to the heroism of the Fellowship, especially its smallest and most humble. :)

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

thanks, Mariole, so glad you enjoyed. I was so happy when Mech found those wonderful and powerful pictures by Mr. Cockshaw and even more thrilled when he agreed to let us us them. They go perfectly with the poem, I think.

From: [identity profile] ambree40.livejournal.com

Thank you both for this beautiful post. That scene on Amon Hen is so suspenseful, with the Eye and the Voice struggling for control over Frodo's mind. And Frodo shows his own strength of mind by being able to choose for himself and doing the only thing that will keep hope alive.

Jan's poem is just as suspenseful. It's chilling until you reach the final part where Frodo is carried away "out of the darkness and the fire" and hope returns. I loved it.

Thank you so much for the link to Mr. Cockshaw’s website.

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

wow, Ambree, what a well-thought-out response! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post so much. I am so grateful for Mechtild's work in crafting all of these. She is truly a jewel among hobbits (or humans)!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

I eavesdropped on Jan's reply, Ambree; I am not a jewel among hobbits, that's Janwise. :)

I am so pleased the post meant a lot to you, Ambree. That really is a brilliant passage on Amon Hen, I agree. I was listening to LOTR on audio disc the evening before I wrote the introduction to this post when that scene began to play. I stopped what I was doing I was so struck by it, its power, but also its aptness for the Anniversary. I had forgot just how apt. I pulled out my tattered volume of Fellowship, sat at the computer and typed it out.

I think you'll enjoy Mr. Cockshaw's website. At their best, his images are quite evocative, vivid enough to know what you're looking at, but not so literal that they discourage imaginative participation by the viewer.

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

let me assure you, you *are* a jewel, whether it is among hobbits or humans.!

so there!

From: [identity profile] diem-kieu94.livejournal.com

Hooray for Ring Day!!!

I am SO happy to see your work again, metchild and Jan-u-wine - and it's as beautiful as ever!!

Jan-U-Wine - You've recaptured Frodo's struggle with the Ring on Mount Doom in such an incredible way!! Ah - the imagery!! THE IMAGERY!!

Metchild - Love Love Love the post and the artwork!! It makes me want to watch the whole trilogy again!!!

- Happy Fall of Barad-Dur!! This date shall be marked on every calendar of mine until the day I am cured (which I hope will NEVER come!)

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

Re: Hooray for Ring Day!!!

Happy Ring Day to you, as well, Diem! I'm very happy that you loved the post. I think the artwork is simply stunning with the poem, and I'm so glad Mr. Cockshaw allowed us to use it.

thank you for visiting!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Re: Hooray for Ring Day!!!

I am thrilled you enjoyed the post so much, Diem Kieu. Wow! I bow before you, O Appreciative One. Your words, and your enthusiasm, make me want to watch the whole trilogy again. :)

From: [identity profile] diem-kieu94.livejournal.com

Re: Hooray for Ring Day!!!

" I bow before you, O Appreciative One."

Awww, metchild! You're making me blush!!

Jan-u-wine - would it be ok if I videotaped myself reciting some of your lovely poems?? I love them so much - especially this one!! :)

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

Many thanks to both of you for this powerful and moving post to celebrate the destruction of the Ring:)

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

How lovely it is to see you, Paulie! I hope things are better with you (or as Gandalf said: "how's your shoulder?"..and i hope the answer is: 'better than it was')

so very glad you enjoyed the post!

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

Hi Jan! Well, I wish I could echo Frodo's reply to Gandalf but sadly it's no better. At some stage I'm supposed to be having an injection by an injection therapist (as opposed to my own doctor who gave me one which proved useless!). However, you're not supposed to have these injections within three months either side of an op so while I'm still waiting for my hip op I can't have it.

Hope you are ok - I remember you had some acid reflux problems. Happily my hiatus hernia op was a success and I no longer have to take any medication for that - I hope you've been able to get some relief for your problem.

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

Aw, Paulie, that stinks that your arm isn't better and that relief is not in (soon-ish) sight. Could you try...gasp....accupuncture at all? Sometimes that is a good option ....

i still have my acid reflux problem...my side sure does hurt. Sigh. What can you do, but keep on slogging? and so i shall....

the Mountain sure looks tall sometimes, doesn't it???

take care, dear!

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

So sorry you're still suffering with the acid Jan - hope you can find something to relieve it soon.

I have tried acupuncture for my shoulder but sadly it had no effect:(

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

i have a trigger finger that i tried acu for and .......sadly it also had no effect. well, that's not exactly true. I was about 300 poorer and that effected me.....

yeah, the acid is bad. i can even feel it in my nose and eyes. ugh.

feel better, though, Paulie. Please.

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Thank *you*, Paulie. I am thrilled the reception has been so good.

Like Jan I'm wondering how your shoulder is doing, and where you are getting the old hip replacement replaced.

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

Hi Mechtild! As you can see from my reply to Jan above my shoulder is still much the same and I'm still waiting for the hip op!! I'm getting to the stage that I just can't imagine the letter ever actually coming - it's a strange thing to wait for a letter with equal measures of hope and dread!!

I hope you are keeping well.

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Well, at least your digestive tract is happier. I am very sorry, however, to hear you are still waiting for these surgeries, Paulie. Not much of an advert for the NHS, is it? :(

From: [identity profile] periantari.livejournal.com

Very awesome drawings and poem! Really enjoyed this entry very much. Great job to Jan-u-wine and the artist.

Happy New Year!!!

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

Oh, thank you, Periantari. I am incredibly gratified the post has been so appreciated. Makes me feel the Anniversary was truly commemorated. :)

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

thank you so much, Periantari! The poem would not have been nearly as effective with Mr. Cockshaw's art, and I am forever grateful to him for letting us use it, as well as to Mech for scouring the 'net to find it and then writing her usual lovely forewards and afterwords....

From: [identity profile] antane.livejournal.com

Greetings and sorry to be so late in admiring the latest masterpiece from our dear jan-u-wine. I don't know why my email notifications that you have posted something aren't coming through anymore. My poor brain only remembered today that you normally post something celebrating such a great day. Love the art from John. Oloris Publishing is going to be publishing a book of it. This was a great day for Middle-earth and Frodo realizes it at the end here but as always jan brings out what is happening within Frodo and shows the terrible cost of what it took to come to this day. We are privileged that she and he have given us the honor to be this exposed to him and have him reveal so honestly and fully what this meant. How many people would be this brave to be as vulnerable and open and tell what is really going on? What a blessing he trusts her to express himself.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)

From: [identity profile] mechtild.livejournal.com

as always jan brings out what is happening within Frodo and shows the terrible cost of what it took to come to this day (...) What a blessing he trusts her to express himself.

I know Frodo is a fictional character, but jan-u-wine really does enjoy a high degree of privileged communication. :) I feel immensely lucky, Antane, to be a beneficiary.

Thanks so much for stopping in and commenting so appreciatively!
Edited Date: 2014-03-28 01:26 am (UTC)

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

Greetings to you, Antane, and thank you so much for your kind and lovely words. It's been an honor and a privilege to be able to write about Frodo and the other beautiful (and some not-so) folk that Tolkien created. I feel happiest when I am in that world, and it does show. It must have been unbearably joyous to craft these characters, this world. It is so, for me, simply writing within it.

thank you again. So very happy you enjoyed the post!


mechtild: (Default)

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