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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

March 23: jan-u-wine's 'Report From the Road', illustration by Eissmann.

Posted on 2011.03.23 at 09:35
Tags: , , ,

March 23: Frodo and Sam in the wastes of Gorgoroth.

The poem:

Written from Sam's point of view, jan-u-wine's 'Report From the Road' takes readers to Sam in near-despair. On March 14, Sam rescues Frodo from the tower-dungeon of Cirith Ungol. Clothing themselves in the armour of dead Orcs, they escape, only to be over-taken on the road and forced to march north, away from their goal, with a group of soldiers headed for Udûn, and its fortress, Durthang. In the tangle which follows the simultaneous arrival of several companies of Orcs at a cross-road, Frodo and Sam manage to escape, leaving the road and turning east once more to face the smoking wastes of Gorgoroth. Frodo, his burden heavier with each step he takes toward the Mountain, grows weaker and slower every day. On March 23, he is unable to carry extra weight any further and casts the hated Orc gear away. Sam throws away his beloved pots and pans. Lightened, Frodo recovers some strength, but by the end of the day he is worse than ever. It is at this halt, Frodo collapsed and Sam falling into dark thoughts, that Jan's poem takes place.*

The illustration:

I don't like everything Anke Eissmann has done, but her picture of a distraught Sam beside an unconscious Frodo is "worth a thousand words". You will have to judge for yourself. Born in Dillenberg, Germany in 1977, Eissmann is a younger artist whose portfolio is already bulging with work. Besides reams of Tolkien illustrations, there are myriad pictures made for other works. If you are interested, Eissmann's online gallery is extensive.

The book scene, from Mount Doom:

At their last halt he sank down and said: 'I'm thirsty, Sam,' and did not speak again. Sam gave him a mouthful of water; only one more mouthful remained. He went without himself; and now as once more the night of Mordor closed over them, through all his thoughts came the memory of water; and every brook or stream or fount that he had ever seen, under green willow-shades or twinkling in the sun, danced and rippled for his torment behind the blindness of his eyes. He felt the cool mud about his toes as he paddled in the Pool at Bywater with Jolly Cotton and Tom and Nibs, and their sister Rosie. ‘But that was years ago,’ he sighed, ‘and far away. The way back, if there is one, goes past the Mountain.’

He could not sleep and he held a debate with himself. ‘Well, come now, we’ve done better than you hoped,’ he said sturdily. ‘Began well, anyway. I reckon we crossed half the distance before we stopped. One more day will do it.’ And then he paused.

‘Don’t be a fool, Sam Gamgee,’ came an answer in his own voice. ‘He won’t go another day like that, if he moves at all. And you can’t go on much longer giving him all the water and most of the food.’

‘I can go on a good way though, and I will.’

‘Where to?’

‘To the Mountain, of course.’

‘But what then, Sam Gamgee, what then? When you get there, what are you going to do? He won’t be able to do anything for himself.’

To his dismay Sam realized that he had not got an answer to this. He had no clear idea at all. Frodo had not spoken much to him of his errand, and Sam only knew vaguely that the Ring had somehow to be put into the fire. ‘The Cracks of Doom,’ he muttered, the old name rising to his mind. ‘Well, if Master knows how to find them, I don’t.’

‘There you are!’ came the answer. ‘It’s all quite useless. He said so himself. You are the fool, going on hoping and toiling. You could have lain down and gone to sleep together days ago, if you hadn’t been so dogged. But you’ll die just the same, or worse. You might just as well lie down now and give it up. You’ll never get to the top anyway.’

‘I’ll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,’ said Sam. ‘And I’ll carry Mr. Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and my heart. So stop arguing!’

At that moment Sam felt a tremor in the ground beneath him, and he heard or sensed a deep remote rumble as of thunder imprisoned under the earth. There was a brief red flame that flickered under the clouds and died away. The Mountain too slept uneasily.


Report From the Road



these days,
is marked
by at least
of a lack thereof.

if it were a morning at home,

I would laugh
and shake
my head
at the lie-abed
of my Master,

my friend,
the gentle-hobbit.

I cannot remember
laughter feels like.

it is no joke to see you thus,
full asleep,
to the open eye of the

you managed
to keep your feet
through all
the moonless night..

you did well,
this time.

it were one of the last times,
I know....

one of the last times......

when the Sun drew a little
above Her eastern haven,
you lay down
without a word.

Before even I
could speak,
your eyes


at least,
seem at ease,

in dreams….

strangely fearless
as time slips
silently by.

it frightens me,
it does,
as each day
to another
and still
we seem no closer...

and still
speak less
and hold to It
and look about
at the shadows
as if
you knew them....
as if they
were every bit
of Light you ever

do not think
I have not noticed
that even
the goodness
of the Lady's
is lost to you.

Oh, yes.

you turn away from me
so that I cannot see
it pains you.

I see.
I know.

It burns,
doesn't it?

are becoming
like him...

aren't you?

aren't you?

I bow my head.

I must not give up.

I think of those we left behind....

how long ago that seems.

I suppose they
are fighting now.....


they are already at peace.

I wish.....

I wish we
were at peace.

I am glad
that you sleep
and cannot
see my tears.

I miss them.

I miss you.

Right here
beside me
I miss you.

It isn't ever
going to come
is it?


Save us.

It is time....

to go on


I put sunlight
in my touch
a memory'd smile
to greet you with.

happiness lives
and dies
in the confusion
of your eyes.

you stand.

We walk.

* Heartfelt thanks to jan-u-wine for writing the scene intro.

Next Frodo entry:

~ March 25 Anniversary: "Naked in the Dark", with painting by Tim Kirk.

Previous Frodo entry:

River-Dawn, with illustrative painting by Martin A. Poole. [or a Mother's love]

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


rakshi at 2011-03-23 14:49 (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for posting this treasure.

mechtild at 2011-03-23 14:58 (UTC) (Link)
You are so welcome, Rakshi. :)
jan_u_wine at 2011-03-24 08:48 (UTC) (Link)
thank you, Rakshi!
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2011-03-23 18:54 (UTC) (Link)
I miss you.

Right here
beside me
I miss you.

It isn't ever
going to come
is it?


Save us.

Oh gosh, that poem is heartbreaking. Taking us deeper into the part of Sam's thoughts Tolkien gave us there.

That painting is exquisite. I looked over her work--she's quite a disciple of Alan Lee, isn't she? Differentiating faces is her weakness, but her scenes of the natural world are breathtaking, her composition lovely and her viewing angles often inspired. Thank you for bringing me this artist and putting together her heartbreaking picture with Jan's like words.

I need to still look at the last 2 entries--I didn't feel a still enough space to really take them in when you posted them.
mechtild at 2011-03-23 22:00 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, this is a poem that delves deep, Lavender. I am so pleased it touched you. And I'm glad, too, that the illustration worked. Yes, faces are definitely her weakness. They tend to look like variations of the same person, especially her Men and Elves. I think she's a bit better at hobbits. But her natural settings are glorious. And yes, her eye for composition, as you so aptly pointed out.

I hope you are feeling a bit more tranquility, Lavender. It's been a hard time for you. Oh, and no hurry to see the last two entries. They're not part of this series. There are two more for this the Anniversary, and then the LJ will go quiet again for a while. :)
jan_u_wine at 2011-03-24 08:45 (UTC) (Link)
oh, thank you, LT. I'm so glad you liked it. And, like Linda says, no hurry to look at the other *ent*ries....hastiness is not the order of the day in MechtildWood. Nevertheless, may you soon be in that *still* place.

(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2011-03-23 22:03 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Jan has that way with her. :)

I'm pleased, Mews, Eissmann's picture worked for you to accompany this poem. Yes, the body language is excellent for Sam, for both hobbits, really. I think she rose to the occasion.
jan_u_wine at 2011-03-24 08:47 (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much, Mews. (although I'm not glad to have made you cry, they are, I am certain, the sort of tears that film!Gandalf described at the Grey Havens. They owe everything to a sorrowing good, and not a jot to evil). Thank you again!
verangel at 2011-03-25 22:13 (UTC) (Link)

"Right here
beside me
I miss you.

It isn't ever
going to come
is it?"

Oh Sam. No it isn't although joys to come, but they are not the same. Nothing is ever the same.

a memory'd smile
to greet you with.
happiness lives
and dies
in the confusion
of your eyes"

Finding a "memory'd smile". THAT made me feel Sam's despair which is wrote all over his face in this picture. He is lost in being alone and yet being there with Frodo and knowing that Frodo is lost from him almost.
Nothing is ever the same until they meet again on shores far away and he sees a Frodo healed and waiting for him.

This is a very harsh rendition of hobits but it shows the pain and confusion so strong. I can't get past the hairy thighs! It distracts me away from the faces. I don't know where she thought their thighs were that hairy. Are they apelike under their cloths? *no...not accepting that*
love you both dearly...xoxooxo hugs v

mechtild at 2011-03-25 22:31 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Verangel. I am about to prepare dinner so I can't get to the rest of the comments yet, but I had to take time out to answer this one. I don't think Eissmann meant to show Frodo with hairy thighs, but was trying to depict the "long hairy breeches of some unclean beast-fell" that Sam found for Frodo to wear in the Tower, preparing for their escape. But the way the "hairy breeches" emerge from below what is supposed to be the "tunic of dirty leather", it easily could be construed as furry hobbit thighs emerging from a pair of short, ragged breeches. Perhaps now you can think better of the illustration.

They are very angular and thin-faced, yes, but I think it suits this scene -- if that's what you mean by "harsh". Eissmann's faces generally have a thin, angular look to them, however, no matter who is being depicted or the state of their health. It is a fault in her portrayals, I think, but not in this picture, where the subjects are actually supposed to be worn and starving.

I, too, love the notion of Sam trying to wear a remembered smile. It's a small but brilliant touch. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Verangel. :)
jan_u_wine at 2011-05-06 17:23 (UTC) (Link)
you always write the loveliest, most passionate comments, dear Verangel (like I imagine that an angel would!). Thank you so much, and I'm very glad that you enjoyed this.....
antane at 2011-03-27 17:39 (UTC) (Link)
Greetings! I've been looking forward to this for days, having given up hobbity fic for Lent among other things, so taking advantage of Sunday being exempt. :) It's hard to hear Sam's despair since it is his hope that is keeping Frodo going for the most part and if he ever truly lost it and Frodo found out, too easily could they have obeyed the voice Sam hears in Mordor. First time I heard it on the BBC Radio adaptation, I was like that's the way the devil sounds. Another great one, jan-u-wine! :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2011-03-28 13:09 (UTC) (Link)
It's a very, very real moment in the story, isn't it, Antane? Just like real temptation to despair, to give up. And why not, since Sam is real? :) I love the way Bill Nighy plays Sam on the BBC broadcast version, and this scene is exemplary. I never even knew the thing existed until another LOTR messageboard fan told me about it in 2005. I got it from our library, listened to it, and have been a huge fan of the recording ever since. Nighy's performance in the role was an eye-opener to me, and no mistake!

P.S. Bravo you, keeping away from fannish things week after week! THAT is a Lenten discipline!
jan_u_wine at 2011-05-06 17:24 (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much, Antane! Wish I had more time for writing these days, *sigh*
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