Happy 120th birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien, plus Jan's 'On the Greatness and Littleness of Being'
Happy 120th Birthday!
I am so grateful this man lived and created such wonders for so many to enjoy and cherish. And I love the photo below. It's from the cover of Tom Shippey's fine Author of the Century. The mood, the look of the sea, the time of day -- this is very much the way I picture the end of "The Grey Havens", Sam standing on the shore, looking long at the grey shifting sea over which Frodo has gone.
What Tolkien wrote, even if categorized 'Fantasy', always had the ring of 'been there, done that', from the external settings to the deepest experiences of the characters. He'd stood by the sea, he'd known irreparable loss. And turned it into unforgettable art.
Jan-u-wine, inspired by the photograph below, has written a beautiful tribute to the Professor for his birthday. It is posted below the image.
On the Greatness and Littleness of Being
Perhaps, upon this shore, a leaden dog was lost,
perhaps these waves
bore the sway and chime of a Ring-bearer's Sea Bell.
upon a glimmer'd even-tide, a swan-prow'd ship
ran out amongst these rocks....
Perhaps mer-men and their fish-tailed maids cavorted here.
He is a Big Person,
Yet, ever so greatly *small*, inside,
his heart and artist's fingers
filling the mind's vast sky with the unending stars,
to pluck, with fragile deliberation, a single, storied shell
from the sun-gilded Sea.
He knows of littleness and greatness,
His face is worn now, worn by all that is life:
the joys, the sorrows,
the things he may touch and those which he never
Weary, the eyes which have known the ever-widening circles of the world,
Full of loves known and yearnings unfulfilled,
beyond Wood or Sea, Mountain
or Shore, beyond words
or pastel'd brush-strokes......
Birthdays and blessings.
The former, upon this day, within the echoing shell of these hours, yours.