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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

'Of Mothers and Memories' by jan-u-wine, with painting by Mary Cassatt.

Posted on 2010.11.05 at 18:48
Tags: , ,

~ detail from Cassatt's "Mother and Child"

I chose jan-u-wine's short poem Of Mothers and Memories to be the last of the four parent poems because it "feels" last, like a summation of Frodo's feelings about his mother that survived the War, survived his decline after his return to the Shire, perhaps until the end of his sojourn in Tol Eressëa. Reading his thoughts, the particular things he remembers makes me think of my own mother. What will I remember most? Similar things, no doubt - the sound of her voice, her touch, the body-words of love. My mother is not dead, but she is old and becoming frailer. I know the time for remembering is not far off. Perhaps that is why I have warmed to these poems about Frodo remembering his parents, just now, especially his mother. "Applicability", Tolkien might have said.

The image I chose to complement this post is one by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), an American artist who painted and showed her work with the Impressionists in France. She was a very determined person, or she might have been discouraged by the obstacles put in her way as a woman trying to make her way as a professional artist. Fortunately for us, she produced fine pieces for decades, many of which have been preserved. I love the feel of this pastel, intimate yet contemplative. Perhaps the child is fresh from a warm bath, still a bit damp and burrowing against the warmth of his mother in a cool room. Whatever the original circumstances, it captures for me a sense of Frodo's remembrance in this poem.


Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt, pastel drawing, c. 1900.

Of Mothers and Memories

The memory of her stays,


beneath all these others.

I search them,
seeking the last of her.

Her voice,
a faded echo,

by time,

is all which remains.

A lullaby gentles upon my ear,

soft, like whisper’d firelight,

leaves turn in bright-paged books.

Her arm gathers me suddenly,

to her,

teasing fingers reach behind my knees,
tickle my feet.

A kiss lightens my brow.

after all the paths I have walked,
all the shadows I have known
(and been known by),

after all I have forgotten,

I remember you.


Previous Frodo entry:

~ jan-u-wine's "....they are but beggars....", plus Monet's "Pond at Montgeron", 10-19-10.

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


maewyn_2 at 2010-11-06 00:50 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful - both the poem and the painting.
mechtild at 2010-11-06 01:08 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for stopping in, Maewyn. Perhaps the parent-child series is resonating with you right now, with the things going on in your own family? It certainly seems to be resonating with what's going on in mine. :)
primula_baggins at 2010-11-06 01:30 (UTC) (Link)
Oh. This was very touching, Jan.

"it "feels" last, like a summation of Frodo's feelings about his mother that survived the War, survived his decline after his return to the Shire, perhaps until the end of his sojourn in Tol Eressëa."

Yup, yup, absolutely.

I still have trouble remembering my mother. I miss her so much that it almost hurts to remember her. Not how I thought it would be.
mechtild at 2010-11-06 01:48 (UTC) (Link)
Primula, thanks for reading and commenting. Relationships with mothers are rarely all sunshine, but most are strongly felt. Most of us like to imagine Frodo and his mother had a beautiful relationship, a shadow cast only by her early, sudden death.

When did your mother die, Primula? You say you are having trouble remembering her, although you miss her terribly. A seemingly odd combination, not remembering yet missing. I keep wondering if I will forget my mother in time, after she's gone, an idea I don't like. I already have difficulty remembering my dad, except for isolated "scenes" or some of the things he said, and he only died in 1993. Photographs and snips of old videos are what jog my memory best. Yet even though I have forgotten so much, I haven't forgotten that he's gone and that I'll never see him in this life again. Missing someone doesn't seem to be directly related to remembering all about them.
primula_baggins at 2010-11-06 02:39 (UTC) (Link)
She passed in 2007. When I say I have trouble remembering her, I guess I misworded that. I loved my mother a great deal, and she me. We were so close that when I do think of her, it's with fondness. But it's followed by a sadness that she's no longer here with me.

My father died nearly 20 years ago, in 1991. I can hardly believe it's been so long. I had grief with his passing, but it was different than with my mom. I think it's because my dad had moved away from me long before he died, so maybe I was more used to his absence. My mother was always very close by, so her passing left a big hole in my life.

I think as the years go by we do remember people less, but I still have times when I remember Dad, and those memories are sweet. I expect one day I'll fell the same about Mom.
mechtild at 2010-11-06 03:35 (UTC) (Link)

A number of my LotR friends have lost their mothers in the past decade. Many are still feeling the sorrow of it. At least one lost her mother during the course of the films, making the trilogy that much more affecting for them.

I am far more affectionate towards my mother than I was towards my father, so I am sure I am going to be far more affected by her dying. There will be "a big hole in my life", just as you have said. I know there is no real preparation for it, but I keep thinking about it. I am glad you have talked about this, Primula. Perhaps it is good for you, talking about it, but it's certainly good for me. :)
verangel at 2010-11-06 03:10 (UTC) (Link)
after all the paths I have walked,
all the shadows I have known
(and been known by),

after all I have forgotten,

I remember you."

I could feel Frodo remembering all these parts of himself that he has lost, but still keeps close to his heart, images and emotions that made him brave enough, strong enough to take on the impossible and that led others to selflessly follow him. It is so sad and so beautiful. That last part of the poem I italicized is totally after the quest Frodo for me in Tol Eressea, because I think there were things he had to forget there in order to heal. Of course time does that too and that is a timeless place. (sorta)

I learn so much from you. You have an incredible knowledge of art and what you and Jan_u_win bring together is magic. There is always something that tears into my heart when I see an image so like Elijah's Frodo. This babe is him held close with a flush face of warm love for his mother, just as hers is for him. Her arms rub his legs and hold him close. The warmth resonates in certain areas of the body so you feel it in the nakedness of a baby's soft skin.
Thank you for another gift of artisic beauty. many many hugs and much love xoxooxox

mechtild at 2010-11-06 20:28 (UTC) (Link)
That last part of the poem I italicized is totally after the quest Frodo for me in Tol Eressea

I thought that, too, Verangel. The sub-section of your quote is a line that made my hair lift on the back of my head, he remembers her after all he's been through, "all the shadows I have known / and been known by". And been known by. Whoof. That's jan-u-wine. One two-part phrase, and she's suggested so much to the reader. It's a richness in spareness.

I loved your description of the painting, noting the flush in the faces, the warmth that resonates. The tonal warmth and the quick, soft strokes of her pastels all speak of a warm, vibrant, living love to me. Gee, I love this picture!

Thanks for stopping, Verangel. You have such nice, such insightful things to say. :)
verangel at 2010-11-06 21:26 (UTC) (Link)
You and Jan make me *feel* and that is a gift every time. xooxoxox v
mechtild at 2010-11-06 22:08 (UTC) (Link)
shirebound at 2010-11-06 13:58 (UTC) (Link)
That's a lovely, very moving poem.

My mother is not dead, but she is old and becoming frailer. I know the time for remembering is not far off.

Yes, I am in the same place as you. My dad is in his 80's, and my mother begins to seem much more fragile to me. I cherish each day with them.
mechtild at 2010-11-06 20:21 (UTC) (Link)
Your mom looks so young in your photos! But time flies at the beginning and end of lives, doesn't it? So even though she looks young and spry to me, someone who is seeing her for the first time in your posts about Pip-dog, you have seen her when she was younger and can see that she is getting older. In the long middle of life, what difference do a few years make, even decades? But at the beginning, one year we haven't even been conceived and the next we've been born. A few years make a helpless infant into a child scrambling up a tree; a child learning to ride her first "big girl" bicycle in a few years might be scaling rock walls or performing champion gymnastics. Just so, a few years transforms an elderly person still able to get about well on her own into someone who can barely hobble, even confined to a wheelchair until, finally, one day she has left the world. The arch of our lives is so interesting, and so touching. I suppose I'd have a grasp of it no matter what, but I think reading books and watching movies, the right sort, help me see it better, appreciate it more. :)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2010-11-06 20:06 (UTC) (Link)
Mews, thank you for the supportive words. I know when it comes to losing people you love, you have "been there, done that". As to the image, I was surprised to find that a number of people find her pictures sentimental. I don't. I think they're very well-observed, almost like the journal entries of an observant writer, but that happen to be executed as images rather than texts. To browse an extensive online gallery of hers means looking at a lot of women and children, but I don't see that the subject matter (women and/or children) equals "sentimental". I found the painting above moving, even apart from it making me think of Frodo and Primula, because the moment she is portraying is moving. She hasn't airbrushed it, made it simpy or trivialized it. She has simply recorded what was before her. The liveliness of her strokes and warmth of her colours in the rendering might be said to amplify the sense of deep feeling between the two, but I'd say it merely "brings it out", brings to the visual surface what Cassat could see and sense was there in the subjects before her.
antane at 2010-11-06 21:17 (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely, loving tribute to his mum! I love the end especially. :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2010-11-06 22:08 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Antane. I'm so pleased you liked the piece.
addie71 at 2010-11-06 23:04 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful. The last part is heart-wrenching.

Edited at 2010-11-06 11:05 pm (UTC)
mechtild at 2010-11-07 00:17 (UTC) (Link)
Heartbreaking in a healing way, I hope. :)

Thanks, Addie, for stopping by. P.S. I love your Lorien icon. Did you make it? It really is exceptional.
addie71 at 2010-11-07 01:46 (UTC) (Link)
Heartbreaking in a healing way, I hope. Yes, for the most part, but when he calls her 'Mumma', it just reminded of how very young he was when he lost her.

The icon is lovely, isn't it? I would like to be able to take credit for it, but I've no talent for that sort of thing. It's one of rakshi's creations.
mechtild at 2010-11-07 01:59 (UTC) (Link)
Go, Rakshi!!! I love the way she has enhanced the detailing of his eyes, his hair, and the outline of his chin and jaw, yet also enhanced the softness of the image, bringing out or adding luminous effects here and there.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2010-11-13 17:59 (UTC) (Link)
Gosh! That is a beautiful poem.

…after all I have forgotten,

I remember you.

mechtild at 2010-11-13 22:40 (UTC) (Link)
Aw, thanks for stopping by, Estë. It's a beauty of a poem, yes. And by the way, that icon is unbelievably touching. Is it from a real photo of a very tiny baby or is it photoshopped, do you know?
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2010-11-13 22:46 (UTC) (Link)
Hi there,

I'm up late, as you can see.

It really is a touching photo.

I found the picture on the net and added the text.

mechtild at 2010-11-13 22:52 (UTC) (Link)
You did good, you night owl, you.

Now that you've posted a new icon I have to ask: it's based on film Frodo, so is this an illo for a fan fic, or a piece of stand-alone fan art?
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2010-11-14 18:21 (UTC) (Link)

The artist's name

Good morning; Mechling!

The artist goes by the name of Rocio. I found it on the net too. It was an illustrated Mary-Sue. I remember that the young heroine was sitting at her school-desk, daydreaming about Frodo, while her classmates were jibing her for being in love with Frodo. She was quite oblivious to her surroundings. The last strip in the sequence showed her gaping in awe at the new arrival. He looked exactly like Elijah Wood. Chuckle-chuckle.

The other icon is also from the said comic strip. I have tried to find it again but it disappeared together with many sites dedicated to Frolijah. I have even searched on the Deviant Art site, although not recently.

Much love

mechtild at 2010-11-14 19:36 (UTC) (Link)

Re: The artist's name

Thanks for the info, love! The artist, whoever she is, is very good. She ought to be cartooning professionally. :)
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