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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

"...they are but beggars" by jan-u-wine, with painting by Monet.

Posted on 2010.10.19 at 21:46
Tags: , , ,

~ detail from Monet's "The Pond at Montgeron"

Here we have another splendid "parent poem" by jan-u-wine, its sombre beauty flowing down the page like the river it describes, its joys and sorrows flowing through the consciousness of the boy who lived by it, both its bright surface and unplumbed depths. To accompany the poem, I chose a painting by Oscar Claude Monet (1840-1926).

Monet and his wife Camille, with their young son Jean, were staying with wealthy friends, art collector Ernest Hoschedé and his wife Alice, at their chateau at Montgeron, then a village southeast of Paris. Monet was commissioned to paint four decorative panels of the chateau's interior, but he also painted scenes in its extensive grounds.

The painting for this entry shows a view of the pond at Montgeron, its waters dark under the shade, the trees leaning towards its deep-sparkled surface as if to see themselves -- or into the depths below. The scene is full of mystery for me, even foreboding. But, at the same time, the scene is full of life, vibrating with light and colour, in the trees on the shore, the yellow flowers in the mid-distance and the almost indecipherable white cottages on the hillside. That the water is stained with ale-brown colours makes me think of the Brandywine (baranduin - 'golden-brown river'). And there is even a woman standing on the bank, a stick or a rush in her hand, a smaller figure sitting in the grass. Probably these were modeled by Camille and her son.

I love the whole picture, but the water in the foreground is, to me, nearly mesmerizing, its rippled surface sparkling with the colours of the world above and the depths below, all shot through and suffused with light, until you can't tell which is which. In that way, I thought it reflected well the memories and emotions this poem depicts.

Jan-u-wine, in an email, dashed off some very insightful thoughts about the painting and how it relates to the way she writes:
It really is a wonderful painting. I suppose people might wonder how I paint vivid pictures with (relatively) few words, but I wonder the same about this picture: how is it that Monet, with mere *suggestions*, so beautifully *invokes* such resonating emotions? In fact, I even feel that it is *because* it is suggested and not....stated, that I so heartly understand and appreciate the pictue. It speaks not of intellect, but of heart. There is a message here, a billet-doux of autumn (or perhaps it is summer), something which speaks like the wind, and the water, and the small rustle of leaves, mysterious, lively (and yes, foreboding) all at once.


The Pond at Montgeron by Claude Monet, 1876.

….they are but beggars…..

Mumma liked the River,

liked the green-gold-eyed slowness of it,
liked the rush of places where uncalm

hissed and tangled
within the mouths of sharp-toothed rock.

Liked the way a sleeping pike might lie upon its stilled surface in the very deep of summer.*

(myself beneath the sweet weight of blankets,
near-stilled candle miming dragon-shadows upon the wall)

she would tell me tales of it,
tales of warm summer-laz'd drifts,

tales of iced crystal,
freed and racing
beneath the touch of the Sun.

She sang to me of all
it might entwine
within its journey to sister-Sea:

stones and trees,

fields and forests,
beasts and two-footed folk.

All these things she spoke *to* me,
story and song,

my dremes filled with
green-gold tapestry,

and I heard the chuckle and sigh
of water woven about me,

smelled the river-rushes
warming in the Sun,

tasted the bitter-brightness
of the water-blood of Her
upon my tongue,

*touched* the gem'd ripples
resounding from Her heart.

That is the place Mumma found,
Mumma, and Da, too,

the coils of Her shining silver beneath the Moon,
voice dangerous and wanting,
the unstoppable life of Her filling lungs yet tugging
at breath....

the rushes holding the pale remains within their tender-tipped arms.

And I.

I watched the quiet of Mumma's face,
Da's fingers caught, still, in the midnight of her hair.

I wondered what they had seen,

beneath the armoured ripples,
held close within chill-weighted arms.

I reasoned that Mumma should tell me of it,
soft voice making naught of the darkness,

lips kissing my brow, after, for goodnight.

I never knew that tale,
nor (ever again) the promise of a sweet waking
releasing me to dreme.

There was no sense to it,
no sense to *me*.



That is not right.


In day,
Sun shining gold-hot, or dimmed beneath grey rain,

In night,
Moon frowning upon me, or helped on by only the small light of stars,
I sought them.

In harvest fields and darkened forest, I sought them.

Beneath leaves of green, between the pages of rune-spilt books, I sought them.

On a day of winter,
trees deadened by snow,

the river-traitor held fast from malice by her cloak of ice,
I crawl beneath their bed.

With a sight which only those who are beggars of the heart might have,
I *see* them there,

see them
in the forgotten velvet dust that time has left me:

a solitary sooted strand of hair, the pale half-crescent of a nail,
the shining inconsequence of an ivory button......

there is, even,
a ginger-coloured lash,

its sickle-point of fire lighting the shadow'd floor.

I find my rest here often,
held fast by distant memory,

clothing myself
in beggar's velvet**.


Notes from jan-u-wine:

*Primula is being romantic, in her story-telling. Pike do not sleep upon a water surface. However, they are, perhaps, faculative air-breathers, and, as such, may momentarily be observed "resting" upon it.

**In British English, dust bunnies are sometimes called beggar's velvet.

***with a thank you to William Shakespeare for the title, a perversion of Romeo and Juliet:
"they are but beggars who can count their worth; But my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth."


Previous Frodo entry:

~ jan-u-wine's "A Hobbit's Bedtime Story", plus Harlamoff's "Faraway Thoughts", 10-03-10.

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


shirebound at 2010-10-20 12:09 (UTC) (Link)
How I love Monet. I haunted museum shops back in the 1970's to decorate my college dorm room in Monet prints.

And as always, what a haunting and beautiful poem.
mechtild at 2010-10-20 13:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Shirebound. I love lots of Monet's paintings, too. I was surprised how big some of them are in person, though, having got used to seeing them in books. Thanks for stopping!
antane at 2010-10-20 18:33 (UTC) (Link)
Another great poem of love and loss. I love most especially toward the end when he seeks out his parents long gone and yet still finds signs of their presence and wraps himself in those memories and in 'beggar's velvet.' You can feel his pain here.

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2010-10-21 00:32 (UTC) (Link)
I agree, Antane. I love the way the poem shows the need for physical remembrances. Relics, if you will. They hurt, but they also comfort and console. I think you are probably saying the same thing. :)
addie71 at 2010-10-20 19:55 (UTC) (Link)
This is beautiful.
mechtild at 2010-10-21 00:33 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Addie. I am sure you can guess I agree. :) Jan-u-wine has the gift, that is certain.
not_alone at 2010-10-23 20:29 (UTC) (Link)
"its sombre beauty flowing down the page like the river it describes, its joys and sorrows flowing through the consciousness of the boy who lived by it, both its bright surface and unplumbed depths."

That is such a perfect description of Jan's beautiful poem, Mechtild! And a wonderful pic too, of course. I think I told you that I was once fortunate enough to visit Monet's garden - a wonderful experience! I've always loved his paintings:)

Many thanks again to both of you:)
mechtild at 2010-10-23 20:32 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, you told me you'd been fortunate enough to walk in that garden, but I'd forgotten, so I'm glad you reminded me! Thanks for stopping by, Paulie. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the poem and post. :)
verangel at 2010-10-25 05:03 (UTC) (Link)
Oh you glorious ladies. I have catching up to do. There are several of your posts I wanted to read and am going to now. My life is so crazy with children, fall, sickness, nyc, work, I'msoold!, so on...taking time to really appreciate what you do is important to me. I am sending this to work to grasp more.
My mother is french. I have always loved the romanticism and beauty and depth of Monet. I actually only see the woman by herself as she looks to be fishing in the water. There are images on the sides but they are subtle and not clearly human to me. The shades and the water speak of quiet and melt like a puzzle to figure out. Nothing is clear but it all quietly resonates. That is the magic I always feel. It relaxes and makes you think a meriad of wonderful possibilities of a day, a moment or a yesteryear.

Jan's poem is so deeply intrigueing to me. I got lost in it immediately. I went from the painting to the possibilities of different meanings and thoughts. One can look at something so simply, but then, images shift and words make it more. This is the type of moment you want to gather and talk about what people "see". I see a child who see's parents in their intimate tranquility and passion and feels it and is mesmorized, then hides to be close to them and feel more. I am probably all wrong, which is why I want to look at it again during the day. But I love the image in my head too at the moment...and I love this (especially in realizing the translation from dust bunny to the soft quiet beggars velvet):

I find my rest here often,
held fast by distant memory,

clothing myself
in beggar's velvet**.

Hugs you both close. You are such deeply wonderful women. xooxoxxo v
mechtild at 2010-10-26 04:17 (UTC) (Link)
Verangel, what a wonderful reply! I am sorry to be so late getting back to you. I looked at the painting again and you're right, the blotches of colour "sitting" on the grass on the left side of the woman read to me as a seated boy, but that may be because of my reading about the Monets while they were at Montgeron. Monet painted Camille and their son many times in landscapes, there and elsewhere, so I made the leap that he was there. But he needn't be. Heck, I didn't even know the woman was there until I found a bigger image file for the painting. My first copies were so small you couldn't see she was there! (P.S. How cool that your mother in French - do you speak French, too?)

But that's just a small detail, one that doesn't take away from the appreciation of the painting, or add to it. It's simply a wonderful painting. You said of reading Jan's poem, "I got lost in it". I felt that way about the painting, but now that you've said it, I think that's a good way to talk about what happens to me when I read her poems, too. I've been saying "they draw me into them", but "get lost in them" sounds more precipitate, and it's like that. A few phrases and I'm in the poem's world. Kind of like what Bilbo said about the Road, ey? That if you step into it, you don't know where you might be swept off to. :)

I also was drawn (there's that word again, but think of "drawn" as in a tractor beam on Star Trek) to your description of how you imagined the relationship of Primula and Drogo, or the way you imagined it would appear to Frodo, and how attracted to their love he would be: "I see a child who see's parents in their intimate tranquility and passion and feels it and is mesmerized, then hides to be close to them and feel more." I just loved that. I think that's what I've been picturing, too, but you said it better.

Thanks so much for speaking at length, Verangel. I have profited from it. :)
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2010-10-30 19:01 (UTC) (Link)

The Midnight of Her Hair

Mechling, you find the most gorgeous images to complement
some of the most beautiful and touching poetry I have ever read.

mechtild at 2010-11-02 14:39 (UTC) (Link)

Re: The Midnight of Her Hair

Awwwww..... *smooches you*

(Sorry I'm late responding, Estë, I've been out of town.)
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