Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

"Frodo of the Shire": poem by jan-u-wine, painting by Taerie.


Frodo of the Shire by Taerie (Rita F. Terrell)

~ Detail from Taerie's "Frodo of the Shire".

Jan-u-wine wrote a poem a few months ago that I knew I wanted to present, but it did not go with the screencaps I was then doing. It had to wait, but no more. Jan-u-wine's poem is an ode to this beloved character, an appreciation both perceptive and beautiful. It came to Jan when she was browsing my LJ for Frodo images. She came across a work by taerie, a gifted LotR fan artist I met on the K-D messageboard.

Taerie's Frodo of the Shire is my favourite film-based Frodo illustration. I had seen a snip of it in Taerie's LJ icon at the time. I was so intrigued I asked to see the whole image. She told me it was posted at Elfwood, a sci-fi/fantasy fan art site, and sent me a link. I opened it. I was in love. I gushed over the piece so much, Taerie actually let me have it. It now hangs in an oak frame in my home.

Frodo is still a youth in Taerie's painting; not a little boy in Buckland, but an older lad living with Bilbo. But it is before the Ring, before the Quest, before Mt. Doom. He is seated against a tree amid carefully chosen plants and objects, all as faithfully and lovingly rendered as Frodo himself.

Where it's posted at Elfwood, Taerie noted this about a wild flower in the painting:

The plant behind [Frodo] is Yarrow. This grows wild in the English countryside, and I learned that its Irish Gaelic name is Athair thalun. This is so similar to [Athelas] (also known as Kingsfoil, and the plant Aragorn used to heal Frodo), that I wonder if it is the inspiration for it. On top of that, it has not only been used to treat wounds but also exactly as Aragorn used it, broken in hot water for its aroma.
Now that's attention to detail.

Taerie's Frodo of the Shire (actual size: 11 x 14, opaque watercolour on clayboard):

Frodo of the Shire by Taerie (Rita F. Terrell)

Sitting among these lovely details, Frodo seems to be have been musing, thinking. He's long since closed the book: a frog has come to sit upon it. The apple, one bite missing, appears to be forgotten. But he looks up and meets the eyes of the viewer, his gaze relaxed but penetrating, as if he is looking at someone he knows. Perhaps he is about to ask them to sit, or maybe he will get up, brush off his trousers, and head deeper into the woods.

Each person will imagine her own scenario (or scenarios), and each person will have her own idea as to the identity of the viewer. That is a mark of good art: it leaves room for the beholder's imagination. But when I look at this painting, the viewer is me. It is as if I had walked into the scene myself, crossing worlds, coming to this spot as if I had known it all my life. That's how real Tolkien's world is for me, or can be, when an artist helps me enter it more deeply through her work. And just as Taerie's painting lets me get closer to Frodo and his world through her visual art, jan-u-wine's poem brings me nearer through her literary art. I thank them both for sharing their considerable gifts.

Speaking of thanks, many of you thanked me for the Frodo screencap series. Think of this as a thank you to Frodo, without whom none of it would have come to be.


Larger detail:


Frodo of the Shire

~ jan-u-wine

Frodo of the Shire.


the smallness of those words,
just the four them,

sombre-ink'd and solitary

upon the snow
of the page.

He is within them,
you know.

that he


all that he

all that ever he might be,


And we see him,

within the frame of those

plain words,

the young Master

the round of his face

with naught more than the
rich blush of a harvest Sun,

sweet-toned laughter

to meet a lemon-rind Moon,

word-eager eyes
drinking a scholar's Elvish wine.

We see him,

upon a road
where night

finds no

in pale-rose day,

where the candle-breath
of hope

and is extinguished

by despair's hard hand,

where mere death
should be

a kindness


We see him,

ever, now,

within the mirror
of our dreams,

the simple beauty
catching our hearts

the memory of distanc'd

like the tattered silk of fragile

twining the tapestry of his

to ours.

We have but three words in answer to your four,
Frodo of the Shire:

Lye mela lle*.

We love you.




~ Entries with jan-u-wine's poems.

~ Main table for all entries

~ Mechtild

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