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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Happy Birthday, Frodo: 'Birth Day', a poem by jan-u-wine.

Posted on 2009.09.21 at 22:25
Tags: , ,

This year I have two splendid poems by jan-u-wine to celebrate September 22. On this, the Eve of the Birthday, I am posting a poem she wrote from the point of view of Primula Baggins, newly the mother of little Frodo. It is simply exquisite. (Tomorrow, on the day itself, I will post another gorgeous poem, written from the point of view of Bilbo.)

To illustrate this poem, I have used a detail from William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "The Young Gypsies" (painted 1879). I think it makes an evocative picture of Frodo and his mother, the young woman's face so lovely but melancholy, as if she already intuits what's ahead for her son, the child rosy-cheeked and cherubic, yet gazing directly at the viewer as if an older child were looking out of those eyes -- observant, self-possessed, wise beyond his years and, as yet, fearing nothing.


Birth Day

It rained that day:

gentle grey
misted soft
outside the Great Hall.

I remember.

I walked by the river,
while the clouds
tumbling black
against the sky.

You stirred within me.

Even then, we loved
the depthless
shadow of the water's face,
even then, loved
the silvery willow's
arms at rest
upon her brow.

Even then,
before you knew the light,
The Light

It danced
and played
upon the hills
that day….

it wove bands
of blue
and green
and soft-spun red
through the sky.

I suppose you must
have wanted
to touch
those pretty things,
for you turned again,
in the dark inside me,


as one who longs for home,
and yet must leave it behind…

turned, and struggled
in the warm dark.

It was night,
when I held you
at last.

My child.

My son.

I count
your fingers
and touch
each toe
in turn.

There are ten



The soft crown
of your head,
wisp'd by wet
of warmth
and spiced sweetness,
your ears
lie like delicate leaves
against the pink-and-white
of your face.

My thumb
the bow of your brow:

even then,
it was serious,
even then,
raised questioningly
above bright, birth-blinded eyes.

The small, swift song
of your heart
against my hand.

I must laugh
at the sweet roundness
of your belly,
at the soft
rose of your mouth
opening in protested hunger….

I must cry with my love for you.

I sit by the eastern window
and cradle you to my breast.

How many stars there are tonight,
my son.

How bright they are,
all entwined,
lying upon the blessed bridge
of the sky.

I know that you
will love them,
as I do.

With the moon
through the window's
I sing you a song
of Eärendil.

He was a sailor of a far-off Sea,
my son,

a mariner,
whose bark now voyages
within azurite night
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You sleep,
the circle of my arms.

I am glad you are here,
at last,

at last,

my little one.

~ Second 2009 Birthday post: jan-u-wine's "Heir to the Dreamer" plus new Frodo manip.

Other Links :
Mechtild's LJ entries featuring poems by jan-u-wine HERE.

All of jan-u-wine's Middle-earth poetry, featured at LOTR Scrapbook, HERE.


shirebound at 2009-09-22 11:07 (UTC) (Link)
Lovely painting, and a wonderful poem.

Even then,
before you knew the light,
The Light

mechtild at 2009-09-22 12:48 (UTC) (Link)
Hail to the birthday boy! Thanks for stopping by, Shirebound. Now I must go post the poem through Bilbo's eyes. It's one of my favourites.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2009-09-22 16:01 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they are beautifully evoked. It makes my heart swell to read it.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2009-09-22 18:20 (UTC) (Link)
Gosh! What beautiful mathoms.

Thank you both.

mechtild at 2009-09-22 20:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thank *you*, Estë, for stopping in. I love to know our work brings you pleasure.
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2009-09-22 18:56 (UTC) (Link)
That is a great baby Fro for all the reasons you say.

What a sweet, gorgeous poem. "as one who longs for home,
and yet must leave it behind…" Awwww. )-:
mechtild at 2009-09-22 20:56 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, the poem tugs at my heart, every line. The full painting wouldn't do for the poem, since the child appears to be a girl. The face could belong to either a girl or a boy; the hair, which would be longer on a child of that age unless it were bobbed, implies a boy. But in the painting the child is wearing a pinafore or jumper over its white shirt, so I am guessing it is supposed to be a girl. But I felt, hey, it's Frodo's birthday, and no painter's work is safe from me. :)
bellewood at 2009-09-22 20:45 (UTC) (Link)
I adore the beautiful picture that you've chosen to illustrate this. You've summed it up perfectly. "observant, self-possessed, wise beyond his years and, as yet, fearing nothing" .. and Jan-u-wine's poem is so touching. I'm afraid that i don't get nearly enough time to fully appreciate how wonderful her poems are, and how lovely are your posts.

aredhelebenesse at 2009-09-22 20:54 (UTC) (Link)
Ah I love Jan's poems! they are so rich and one is within two lines in another world or reality. Thank you so much for sharing this!
mechtild at 2009-09-22 20:57 (UTC) (Link)
They *do* lead the reader into their world, don't they? -- her poems, that is. Thanks for reading, Aredhelebenesse.
illyria_novia at 2009-09-23 11:18 (UTC) (Link)
You picked the perfect painting to illustrate Jan's poem. That child does look as if he is wise beyond his years. And Jan's poem, while it mentions baby toes and round belly, has a depth and solemnity to it that save it from being too sentimental. I especially love this part:

Even then,
before you knew the light,
The Light

Thank you, Mechtild and Jan-u-wine, for such a beautiful Baggins birthday gift.

mechtild at 2009-09-23 13:23 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Illyria. No, jan-u-wine would never be succumb to the call of the cutsie-wootsie, but she knows from real life the intense power babies and their charms can have over mothers. :)
verangel at 2009-09-23 21:30 (UTC) (Link)
The poem touched me deeply. I couldn't help tearing up. The description of infant Frodo, the ears. *oh* The picture is breathtaking and a perfect accompaniment to this. Thank you so much and hugs you both tons v
mechtild at 2009-09-23 22:01 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, I loved the description of the ears, too. Thanks for stopping by, Verangel. I'm so pleased the poem and image were meaningful for you. :)
melyanna_65 at 2009-09-24 21:08 (UTC) (Link)
The picture is so perfect that it could easily be Primula and her son Frodo. And the poem is so sweet that it made me all emotional.

Thank you and Jan-U-wine for this lovely post.

*hugs you*
mechtild at 2009-09-24 21:36 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Melyanna. It's always a pleasure to ponder over Frodo and what his early years might have been like. Jan's poetry focussing on Frodo's early years has helped expand and deepen my understanding a lot. As for the picture, I do love the look of the people in this painting, not just their physical appearance but their expressions, for imagining Primula and her son, who will grow up to be "the best hobbit in the Shire". (I confess I fiddled with it a little, but it still looks very like the original painting.)
telstar_gold at 2009-09-26 00:06 (UTC) (Link)
The small, swift song
of your heart
against my hand.

That took me straight back to when my son was a newborn. Jan-u-wine always finds the exact right words, somehow. Thank you to her for this perfect birthday poem, and to you for the gorgeous pic of infant Frodo with his mama! :))
mechtild at 2009-09-26 01:41 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank you, Telstar. This is the night before we go away for two weeks, to see our own daughter. Twenty years it's been since she was an infant, but Jan's poem brings it back. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)
addie71 at 2009-09-26 18:44 (UTC) (Link)
The painting is gorgeous, the poem lovely.
mechtild at 2009-09-29 23:40 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much for stopping and commenting, Addie. :)
ext_213144 at 2009-11-05 19:03 (UTC) (Link)


I echo Shirebound's comments and the quote from this lovely, loving poem. Love the whole thing but that quote the most. And Frodo as reader - isn't that to our beautiful, innocent lad! Love it! Quite captivating. This is one of the reasons I love him - because he is a scholar and scribe like me and this is lovely of him! Thank you so much.

Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)
mechtild at 2009-11-05 19:17 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Beautiful!

Thanks, AnneMarie, so much for stopping to comment. Jan-u-wine are always encouraged to hear from other fans who love Frodo Baggins. Jan has such a gift for getting inside her characters, entering into their points of view so that readers feel they come very near, whisper-breath close. Yet she remains respectful of their dignity and essential mystery.

Your comments also suggest you were able to look at the companion post, featuring 'Heir to the Dreamer' and its attendant manip made from 'The Reader'. I'm so pleased. I love the peep that poem offers into the deep, thoughtful goodness of Bilbo's character. And I was very pleased with the art manip. How well Frodo suits Heilbuth's painting; even improves it! :)
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