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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Happy 120th birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien, plus Jan's 'On the Greatness and Littleness of Being'

Posted on 2012.01.03 at 07:05
Tags: , ,
~*~

Happy 120th Birthday!


I am so grateful this man lived and created such wonders for so many to enjoy and cherish. And I love the photo below. It's from the cover of Tom Shippey's fine Author of the Century. The mood, the look of the sea, the time of day -- this is very much the way I picture the end of "The Grey Havens", Sam standing on the shore, looking long at the grey shifting sea over which Frodo has gone.

What Tolkien wrote, even if categorized 'Fantasy', always had the ring of 'been there, done that', from the external settings to the deepest experiences of the characters. He'd stood by the sea, he'd known irreparable loss. And turned it into unforgettable art.

Jan-u-wine, inspired by the photograph below, has written a beautiful tribute to the Professor for his birthday. It is posted below the image.









On the Greatness and Littleness of Being

Perhaps,
upon this shore,
a leaden dog
was lost,

perhaps
these waves

bore
the sway and chime
of a Ring-bearer's Sea Bell.

Perhaps,

upon a glimmer'd even-tide,
a swan-prow'd ship

ran out
amongst these rocks....


Perhaps mer-men
and their fish-tailed maids
cavorted here.

Perhaps..........

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

He is a
Big Person,

this man.

Yet,
ever so greatly *small*,
inside,

his heart and artist's
fingers

filling the mind's vast
sky with the unending stars,


yet
bending,


to pluck,
with fragile deliberation,
a single, storied
shell

from the sun-gilded Sea.

He knows of littleness
and greatness,

this man.

He knows.

His face is worn now,
worn by all that is life:

the joys,
the sorrows,

the things he may touch
and those which he never

shall.

Ah.

Weary,
the eyes which have known
the ever-widening circles of the world,

weary
and

wise.

Full of loves known and yearnings
unfulfilled,


beyond time,

beyond place,

beyond Wood or Sea,
Mountain

or Shore,
beyond words

or pastel'd brush-strokes......

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Birthdays and blessings.

The former, upon this day,
within the echoing shell
of these hours,
yours.

The latter, through the beauty
of your being,

from the grand music
of your pencil,
ours.








Comments:


Shirebound
shirebound at 2012-01-03 13:17 (UTC) (Link)
from the grand music
of your pencil,
ours.


Ohhhhh. This photo and poem are perfection for this very special day.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-03 22:50 (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I'm back from work. I am sooooo glad the things in the post pleased you, Shirebound. Huzzah for J. R. R. T.!
Rakshi
rakshi at 2012-01-03 13:24 (UTC) (Link)
As always... utterly magnificent.

Thank you!

Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-03 22:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, Rakshi. :) Sorry to be so long answering, I was at work.
pearlette
pearlette at 2012-01-03 13:36 (UTC) (Link)
That is a lovely picture of him. :)

What Tolkien wrote, even if categorized 'Fantasy', always had the ring of 'been there, done that', from the external settings to the deepest experiences of the characters.

CS Lewis wrote in his review of The Hobbit that everything in it seems so 'ripe and friendly and so true'. We seem to know, or recognise, this world we've fallen into, somehow. This world of bucolic villages, desolate moors, misty mountains and mysterious ruins. Middle-earth seems extraordinarily familiar ... created as it was from Tolkien's rich treasury of knowledge of ancient British and European mythology.

He'd stood by the sea, he'd known irreparable loss. And turned it into unforgettable art.

Yes. :)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-03 22:55 (UTC) (Link)
We seem to know, or recognise, this world we've fallen into, somehow.

Isn't that precisely the case?

Hi, Pearl. I've been at work and am only now reading your comment. You know this material and its author so well (and his literary friends), I know this day is meaningful for you, too.
Belleferret
belleferret at 2012-01-03 14:18 (UTC) (Link)
A lovely tribute to a great man.

"The Professor."
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-03 22:56 (UTC) (Link)
*clink* I raise my glass along with you, Belleferret!
julchen11
julchen11 at 2012-01-03 19:43 (UTC) (Link)
That's incredible ...

"from the grand music
of your pencil,
ours."

What a wonderful birthday post!

*raises glass*

Thanks a lot, ladies!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-03 22:56 (UTC) (Link)
Cheers, Julchen! I love this day of the year.
(Deleted comment)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-03 22:58 (UTC) (Link)
You are welcome, Mews. I just got home from work but am off again. How lovely to come home to your comment. I am so grateful to Tolkien, even if I write these little posts each year, I really can't express it.
Mariole
mariole at 2012-01-04 04:02 (UTC) (Link)
Great picture. Lovely tribute. :)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-04 04:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Mariole. Glad you enjoyed it!
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2012-01-04 05:40 (UTC) (Link)
Greatly small.

What a wonderful phrase. Perfect. Thank you and Jan for the lovely post.

I did toast him at 9 pm with the water bottle I had on hand.

Happy birthday, Professor, and thank you!
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-04 17:55 (UTC) (Link)
Ha ha! I had an email from Jan this morning, saying she was all in after attending the L.A. area toast. I just watched a Harry Potter movie with our daughter, who is home for six days. (She didn't want to watch any LOTR, sigh.) I completely forgot to toast!
verangel
verangel at 2012-01-04 12:02 (UTC) (Link)
"Full of loves known and yearnings
unfulfilled beyond time,

beyond place,

beyond Wood or Sea,
Mountain

or Shore,
beyond words"

Just a small part of so much beauty. Its a lovely pensive sort of peice that fits this picture and the pensive look that is Tolkien at that moment. I love the sea. There is nothing more majestic to me than the smell, sight, feel or sound of the ocean. It is powerful and in Tolkien's world has the power to seperate elves, a wizard, men, and mostly two hearts forever joined in friendship and love in our beautiful little hobbits. What a mind, heart and soul.
hugs you both. You almost always leave me thinking and misty eyed. xoxoxoxoxo love v
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-04 17:56 (UTC) (Link)
Verangel, I am so glad you enjoyed the post. Tolkien certainly appreciated the Sea, its beauty, its power and the pull it exerts on the human mind and spirit. I see you share it.
ambree40
ambree40 at 2012-01-04 13:13 (UTC) (Link)
“to pluck, with fragile deliberation, a single, storied shell from the sun-gilded Sea”.

I was reminded of “Leaf by Niggle”. Tolkien may have picked a single shell, as Niggle painted a single leaf, but in the end: “Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished. ..... He gazed at the Tree, and slowly he lifted his arms and opened them wide. ‘It’s a gift!’ he said.”

And what a gift he left behind. Thank you both for this wonderful tribute to a great man.
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-04 17:58 (UTC) (Link)
That's a beautiful, thought-full comment, Ambree. Thank you for stopping by to celebrate this gifted -- gift-giving -- man. :)
antane
antane at 2012-01-04 18:34 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my dear jan-u-wine, this is just too beautiful! Love it so much. What a marvelous tribute to the Professor who has touched so many lives. Love the picture you used, dear mechtild, too! That could indeed be Sam there and so wonderful it inspired such a masterpiece as this poem!

Happy Birthday indeed! *hugs to all three of you*

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
Mechtild
mechtild at 2012-01-04 20:48 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you enjoyed the birthday post this year, Antane. I love what jan-u-wine wrote. What a gift Tolkien has given to us, his world and work. Did you do a Tolkien toast where you live? There's no such thing here in Duluth, but jan-u-wine attended the L.A. one.
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