Poetry of J.R.R. Tolkien

Discussions about the Professor's poetic verses from Middle-earth
Philipa
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Poetry of J.R.R. Tolkien

Postby Philipa » Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:23 am

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Merry
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Postby Merry » Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:58 am

You know, I have to admit that the first dozen or so times I read LOTR, I skipped most of the poetry. :oops: Now I love it! Anyone have a favorite Tolkien poem?
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sat Sep 17, 2005 5:38 pm

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Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Riv Res
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Postby Riv Res » Sat Sep 17, 2005 6:53 pm

Merry, much like you, it took me several readings before I even noticed the pure quality of the poetry, (I was too busy devouring the story) and then...what a discovery!! I couldn't believe how much beauty it added to the story. If you stop and think about it...how much fiction is written too unclude this kind of poetry? Not just a rhyme or two, but things like The Lay of Leithian, or poetry in Elvish. I think that Tolkien is truly remarkable and almost one of a kind in that regard.

The one central theme that I see in almost all of the Middle-earth poetry is the idea of the "journey". It punctuates some Tolkien verse and is the complete content of others. So Merry, to answer your question...my favorites (yes I cannot settle on just one), are those that speak of journey, travel, discovery, and homecoming (or wishing for it). It seems that Tolkien takes us on these journeys to bring us the idea of the peace and warmth of coming home.

Thoughts?
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Riv Res



Philipa
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Postby Philipa » Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:40 am

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Lindariel
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Postby Lindariel » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:46 pm

Last edited by Lindariel on Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lindariel

“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Merry
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Postby Merry » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:56 pm

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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Lindariel
Posts: 1062
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Location: The Hall of Fire, Imladris (otherwise known as Northern Virginia)
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Postby Lindariel » Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:06 am

Merry, I too love the incredible spirituality of the first poem. As you know, in my writings, Lindariel and the elves call this poem The Great Question -- What is beyond Arda? What is beyond the End of Endings?

I find Tolkien's faith-system for Middle Earth VERY interesting because it is not based on superstition on the part of the believers. The ancient elves have actually seen and even lived among their gods and goddesses -- the Valar -- and the Valar themselves once existed in the presence of Eru Iluvatar, the One. So they are not passing down to later generations of elves and the men, dwarves, and other sentient creatures of Middle-Earth that followed a religion or faith based on superstition or prophecy or "divine inspiration." For them, their religion is fact, not faith.

What is uncertain for the elves, and for men as well, is what the future holds. For elves, the question is whether there is an existence for them beyond Arda. For men, the question is whether there is an existence for them beyond death, beyond "the confines of the world." There is also the question of whether indeed elves and men will be forever separated by their different fates in the "afterlife," or at some point after Arda ceases to exist, will they all be brought together once again by the One? Even the Valar do not know what will happen after Arda ceases to exist. This is the biggest question of all.

I find this endlessly fascinating, and Firiel's Song seems to me to outline a very important part of the "faith" of Middle Earth.

I enjoy the Markirya Poem for its astonishing imagery and for the marvelous rhythm of the short descriptive phrases -- "the white rocks snarling, in the moon gleaming, in the moon waning, in the moon falling, the storm mumbling, the abyss moving?" How very evocative!

The poem seems to be speaking about the sailing of the last White Ship to Valinor, but the final stanza is quite dark and thought-provoking. Could it instead be referring to the desperate sailing of Elendil's ships with the remnant of the Numenorean faithful as they escaped the drowning of Numenor? Did the author of the poem witness the sinking of one ship that was either too late in departing, or perhaps carrying those who were not faithful? There are many possible interpretations. Again, fascinating!

Thoughts?
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Lindariel



“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Merry
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Postby Merry » Sat Sep 24, 2005 5:54 am

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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Iolanthe
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Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea
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Postby Iolanthe » Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:15 pm

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Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
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Postby Philipa » Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:16 pm

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Lindariel
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Postby Lindariel » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:00 pm

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Lindariel



“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Merry
Varda
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Postby Merry » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:51 pm

0 x
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Lindariel
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: The Hall of Fire, Imladris (otherwise known as Northern Virginia)
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Postby Lindariel » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:45 am

Thanks, Merry! I don't think we really strayed at all off-topic, because of the issues of faith raised in Firiel's Song. But, by all means, let's move on to other poems!

To get back to the LOTR canon, my hands-down favorite poem is the exquisite Rivendell Hymn to Elbereth:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

For a detailed linguistic analysis, please see http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/elbereth.htm , which is where I also got the following -- a direct translation provided by Tolkien in a reference they site as RGEO:72. Any ideas what that might be?

O Elbereth Star-Kindler
(white) glittering slants down sparkling like jewels
from [the] firmament [the] glory [of] the star-host!
To-remote distance far-having gazed
from [the] tree-tangled middle-lands,
Fanuilos, to thee I will chant
on this side of ocean, here on this side of the Great Ocean!

I LOVE this poem! I find the elvish running through my mind ALL THE TIME, sometimes just the beautiful words, but more often I hear it as I imagine it would be sung by a choir in Imladris, with four-part Renaissance-style polyphony. Just completely sublime! Such adoration . . . and such longing!
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Lindariel



“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Philipa
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Postby Philipa » Sun Sep 25, 2005 1:06 am

Your passion for Tolkien's poetry is really amazing Lindariel. I must say your knowledge is also astounding too. I think why I enjoy these poems are their referrences to the stars and oceans. I almost hesitate to post a poem because I have no genius comment to go with them. :lol: I will however, comb my books to find a favorite. :D
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Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

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