Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Frodo's autumns: poems by jan-u-wine with paintings by Millet and Carlsen.


Autumn is waning here in north-eastern Minnesota. This weekend the leaves are at their peak but they are about to fall. We are having what in the United States is called "Indian Summer", a time deep in the autumn when unseasonably warm weather grants what seems a return of summer. Knowing that it's a reprieve -- fleeting, not here to stay -- makes it all the more precious. Typically we would have had a hard frost by now. All the annuals would be dead, the perennial tops yellowed and wilted over their crowns, the leaves down. We'd be wearing jackets and mittens and caps, not sandals and t-shirts. The soft mildness is sweet, sweeter because one knows it will be gone any minute.

Perhaps something of the intense sweetness of this time, when the growing world is on the cusp between seasonal life and death, is captured in these two beautiful new poems. Frodo revels in the Shire's autumn, actual and remembered, the time when the colour and fragrance of the natural world -- as various and as intense as at summer's height, if the colours and scents are different -- is at its keenest, precisely because it is on the verge of being lost. If it is not to death, it is to something like death, when growth and the promise of life suddenly are no longer accessible to the senses. One must enter winter, head into the time of greyness, of dearth and want, sustained only by hope in what is hidden, but working its revivifying magic under the soil.

But that time is not come, not yet. Not here in Minnesota and not in the Shire of these poems. One more day has come when the natural world glows with topaz and ruby and garnet, living leaf-jewels twinkling in the soft fragrant air. One blast and down the leaves will come, all colour bled from the landscape, scents muted by frost. But not yet, not yet.

The first of today's poems, "Autumn's Tale", is set in the fall of 1421. The second, "Tol Eressëaian Harvest", is set a few years later, across the Sea. These two complete a trio of fall Frodo poems, begun with The Hill of Home, posted last month. "The Hill of Home" is set in the previous year, the autumn of 1420.


Autumn's Tale

the tramp'd miles

of the road this night,

wet earth smell

holding me close,

water’d moon
a rose-milk

cloud swathed sun
to its distant sea cradle.

And still I walk,

in the brake,

muted voices

like the friendly night,
the almost-winter chill

lying in fog dips
upon the way,

cobweb faerie-purses
jewel'd and

shimmering like flet light,

the gold-brass of far-off
harvest fires

smelling like
gathered comfort,

all that is Home.


My hand upon the gate,
the woven pull wet-rough

within my grasp,

the flagstones of the path
uneven and cold beneath

my feet.

The tender nod
of a candle

waits in the front window,

the door wide and summer-deep-green
in its welcome.

When I have washed the tramp-mud
from my feet

(the clarity of the fresh-drawn water
finally ditch brown,

errant drops clinging,


amongst the tangles),

there is tea, and Bilbo's old chair
and the hearth-fire.

It is good to be Home.


Tol Eressëaian Harvest

Crown'd trees fade,

slow and silent,
beneath the opal smudge
of burnt-velvet night;

Earendil's gem'd

marks, apace,
a harvest moon.

Were I Home,
truly, then,
that is what it should be:

moon orange
as bonfire-lit


proud and joy-full

as a just-birth'd lass.

Merry fiddles and
pig-skinned drums,

reels and rounds,

fraganc'd pipe-weed......
bitter golden ale......

Fields still ripe,

even with their beauty shorn
and fallow-gleaming .....

Home is a world (and more)

dark waves running
against an unseen,

unreachable harbour.

Beneath a fragile moon-yolk,

sea pearls and crab-casings
adorn the pale neck
of this sundered shore,

faerie-light stitched like emerald fire
upon the tide's foam'd hem.

It is autumn in the Undying Lands,
and I,

but one of the Harvest
of the Lonely Isle.


"Moonlit Sheepfold" ~ Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)

"Ocean at Sunrise" ~ Soren Emil Carlsen (1853-1932)


Recent Frodo entries:

The Hill of Home, with paintings by Thomas Atkinson Grimshaw and Edwin Henry Landseer.

~ Untitled poem in honour of the Baggins birthdays, September 22, 2011.

Other Links:
~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.
Tags: art, carlsen, frodo, jan-u-wine, millet

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