~*~

The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles by John Cockshaw, penultimate version-TEASER

~ Detail from The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles, by John Cockshaw.



This March 25 we present something old, something new. Below the image of Frodo standing at the Cracks of Doom is something old: a poem jan-u-wine wrote years ago, but which I had never read. The Turning of the Road: The Sammath Naur distills events from that last day, letting us see into the heart of Frodo's experience as he is overpowered and nearly destroyed by Sauron, his life, sanity and the fate of Middle-earth preserved only by the madness of Gollum and the love of Samwise.

Below the first poem and an excerpt from Return of the King, is an illustration by John Cockshaw showing the coming of Gandalf and the Eagles, chosen to complement the "something new": jan-u-wine's Cast Up, which follows. The new poem lifts up and makes explicit the hope that is only hinted at in the darker Turning, bearing Frodo, Sam and us readers out of downfall and despair.

Happy Anniversary!



~*~








ROTK screencap, Frodo at the Sammath Naur



The Turning of the Road: The Sammath Naur


Somewhere
along the dark

ribbon

of this
Road,
I
lost myself.

Somewhere,
there
was a turning,

there
was a step
upon which
I stumbled.

No longer
in dreams
do I
see Home,
or
hear the
Sea's cry.

No longer,
even,
does
your voice
call me
back
from dark
wanderings.



You cannot touch
me.

I cannot
be hurt
by the smallness
of you.

I turn
away
from the sound
of your grief.

You do not
move me.

I do not love you,
nor those

others,

anymore.


I will prove
it:

I will give
your life
to That
which
I
do love.

A cold
and terrible

will

holds me still.

Like one wounded,
you lie
upon the ground
at my feet.

The slow
beat

of your heart
pulls at your throat,

tears

slide thickly
beneath eyes
closed by despair.

Your voice.

I hear
your voice.

You speak
my name
as one
who
expects
to die.


[Do you imagine
you
can summon
him forth,
Samwise,

this .....

friend

whom
your trembling
voice seeks?]

[Say his name
oft enough -

the scattered

fragments

of all
he was
may yet
somewhere
survive.]

[Haply,
after
you
lie dead,
I shall
let him
see
your blood
bathing
the bright
face
of his
dishonored
blade]

[Haply,
he will even
close
your unseeing
eyes]



Fire.

Flame

and

pitiable
screams

pound
upon the closed
doors
of my mind.

Blood.

Bright blood

joins
with the
fierce
red of the flames.

Mine.

It
is
mine.

Echoes
fade
into darkness -

darkness
falls
to
light.

Mine.......

Mine.

Only the blood
is
mine.

In shame
I see
your face.

Your hand
grasps
mine still,

holding
me
safe against
the only horror which remains:

myself.

What have I done?

This chamber
of dark
and terrible
ancestry
smells
of death.

Death.

It is a small thing.

Not much bigger
than I.

He
has met his...

His story,
mercifully,
happily over.

It is such a little
thing
that now
mine should end
as well.


Yet,
somehow,
you desire
to look
once
upon
the sun-lit ruin
of the World
outside.



No matter.

In the space
of
a few
heartbeats,
this other
Dark
will take us.

Upon
the friendly
shoulder
of the Mountain,
we lie.

I wonder,
as my hand
seeks yours,
as my eyes close
against
the sight
they must not see,
does Home

shimmer
in your mind?

Who calls to you?

Whose heart does yours
seek,

as your Life
ends
in this lonely place?

If not for me,
your hands should still
be working the fair earth,

your back sweet-sweated
beneath the sun.



What have I done?

My guilty eyes
open
into yours
and
see
no blaming there....

only

soft sadness,
peace,

patient
forgiveness.

If only
I had
tears
left.

I take your
offered
hand
in mine.

Here,
we end
as we
began.

Together.

I am glad
I am,
at the last,
with you,
Sam.





~*~








~ From The Field of Cormallen:

Frodo and Sam could go no further. Their last strength of mind and body was swiftly ebbing. They had reached a low ashen hill piled at the Mountain’s foot; but from it there was no more escape. It was an island now, not long to endure, amid the torment of Orodruin. All about it the earth gaped, and from deep rifts and pits smoke and fumes leaped up. Behind them the Mountain was convulsed. Great rents opened in its side. Slow rivers of fire came down the long slopes towards them. Soon they would be engulfed. A rain of hot ash was falling.

(...)

And so it was that Gwaihir saw them with his keen far-seeing eyes, as down the wild wind he came, and daring the great peril of the skies he circled in the air: two small dark figures, forlorn, hand in hand upon a little hill, while the world shook under them, and gasped, and rivers of fire drew near. And even as he espied them and came swooping down, he saw them fall, worn out, or choked with fumes and heat, or stricken down by despair at last, hiding their eyes from death.

Side by side they lay; and down swept Gwaihir, and down came Landroval and Meneldor the swift; and in a dream, not knowing what fate had befallen them, the wanderers were lifted up and borne far away out of the darkness and the fire.




The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles by John Cockshaw, penultimate version-FULL IMAGE 1000 pixels wide



Cast up.

Lost.

Upon the very shore of the Deep I lie,
the smell and sound

and shape
of the Sea-lady
all about me,

the yearning growing
ever in my heart.....

Gulls cry shrill above,
wings

like pinioned sails
upon the wind.......

My senses return.

This is no peaceful shore,

only
the place where we must end.

An island it is, now,
fire-tinged,

ash-snow streaming
upon unbreathable air,

the very rock beneath us
quickening

with its death.

Dark and light
all at once,

sound
and furious silence.

Not through any strength of will
may I close my eyes, now,

no matter how desperate the wish.....

Far off,
away from this immediate death,

I yet glimpse the brass'd Sun,
the sky,

blue as only a Spring sky might be,
the lace of a solitary cloud ..........

and ........
something else........

.
~*~.
~*~~*~.

If I had breath for laughter,
it would ring out in this terrible place.

Here is Uncle's Adventure come
full circle,

here, again, is my cousin's wish made
true.


Never have a mother's arms
encircled so entirely,

never has a babe been so
tenderly borne to its rest.

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

With what words should I say
what it is
to ride within this claw-cradle?

soft as a dreme, somehow,
and hard as horn,

the furrows and golden dips of cloud
and Sun

and sky
passing beneath us,

above us........

the airs of the World
sweet and cold

and renewed.

All of it passes before my eyes,

all
that we have done,

the horror of it.

The wonder and beauty of it.

I am falling towards sleep again.

A good sleep.

Cast up.

Found.




~*~







About the Art:

The picture for this post, "The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles", was created by John Cockshaw, a Tolkien artist from Yorkshire, UK. I first found his pictures searching for illustrations for last year’s March 25 post.

Since last year, jan-u-wine and John Cockshaw have been collaborating on a book that will pair Jan’s poems with John’s art, to be published by Oloris Publications. The working title is The Road, Taken. I am very excited to buy and handle my own copy, once it is released. In the meantime, here is a link to an absolutely gorgeous taste of the new work:

https://vimeo.com/122775300

You will hear John Cockshaw beautifully read excerpts from jan-u-wine's poems, his images shifting as he reads, while music plays that plucks at memory. Truly, it's a beautiful two minutes.

The Cockshaw piece used for this post, like much of the work featured in his blog, shows a scene from Tolkien's tale created digitally, using photographic elements. Mr. Cockshaw is also a talented freehand artist.

Visit his website and browse: From Mordor to the Misty Mountains: Original artwork inspired by the tales of Middle-earth .



~*~









Previous entry:
Bilbo in Bag End by Alan Lee-ICON ~ Happy [Late] Birthday, Bagginses 2014, "Birthday" by jan-u-wine, art by Alan Lee.

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

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