'The Desolation of Smaug': a new poem by jan-u-wine with screencap from 'The Hobbit'.
Jan-u-wine's latest Tolkien-based poem was not written for a particular painting or image, but from an inspirational mix. Talking with friends about the work of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Hobbit and Sherlock, jan-u-wine began to wonder more deeply about the nature of Smaug's existence in the Lonely Mountain, and the relationship, however brief, between Smaug and his diminutive conversation partner (possibly his only conversation partner in centuries). Did the great Smaug live under the mountain in splendid isolation or simply in isolation? Tolkien named the peak that became Smaug's lair "The Lonely Mountain", no doubt because it stood alone, cut off from the nearby mountain chains. But for jan-u-wine, the "lonely" in the name evokes more than geographical isolation. "The Desolation of Smaug" no doubt refers to the ashy wasteland Smaug's attacks wrought, but perhaps "desolation" hints at another sort of desolation, an inner state produced by a solitary existence.
The poem has two parts, the first from Smaug's point of view, the second from that of Bilbo Baggins. Together they make a brilliant piece, evocative and perceptive.
The Desolation of Smaug
These pale beings,
these things of little property and less propriety.....
these boring creatures of yellow-faced day....
they have a name for me:
Am I thus, am I.......
A lowly shadow, hidden within
the last hole he crept through....
is the true and mean
measure of me?
No, Master Burglar.
No, Riddler most clever.
More. There is more:
From the North I come, and even I have forgot
my golden birthing, the mighty Drake who was my.....
(what IS the Westron word...oh, yes:)
Da, the Vibria who should have been my..... mum.
There is no love, Burglar,
Our warm embrace provokes
a river-running-red of sudden death,
a screamed silence of trailing oblivion.
Many have I sent on such a journey,
careful of the paring of body from bauble.
In the end, only these glimmered things,
cold as far-off stars accompany my dremes.
(Such dremes as dragons have:
of days of sun and high-flown cloud, lakes and towns and
men, ablaze and writhing, reduced to simple ash-petals
beneath an uncaring moon).
In the end, it is
lonely beneath the Lonely Mountain.
And in this desolate state, in this solitary
I must now sleep.
It is good to sleep. It is best.
Master Burglar, I warn you:
You should let
Gold is his eye.
Gold, yet threaded,
riven with dark,
as if the Ages he has known,
the people and places
ended by his wrath, are kept there,
held in a fixed time-amber of horror.
Does he know horror, I wonder?
Do he know the terror of the great hearts
that yet cannot flee or defeat him?
Does he know, as he rests beneath his quilt of stolen gold,
does he know what it means for lungs to crackle
with fire, tender tissue to flame upon bone,
screams to echo within one's own ears
before a blessed ending?
Surely not, this Wyrm
of gilt beauty, this ......
creature of fiery deed and speech,
this...... stitchery of spell'd evil.
You are wondrous,
The high crown of your brow gleams
like the gems beneath your belly, like the ancient fires of your eyes,
opal-lit with remorseless memory.
You are wondrous.
You are beauty-in-death, close-kept reposed fire,
grand, serpent-eyed trickery.
In this Age, you are most
With my last breath, I might praise you,
Surely, I might.
And with my next-to-last, reveal the lovely paleness
of a Fire-Drake's unarmored breast.
Revenge. It is better than treasure,
We shall have it, the Company
Served up cold as the dark
behind the stars.
Served up swift as a night'd arrow.
Farewell, great Wyrm.
For that is all, villain,
that you are.
~ "Old Man Willow" by Tolkien, "Suite: Meriadoc" by jan-u-wine.