Jan. 3, 2014 ~ Happy 122nd Birthday, Professor, with poem by jan-u-wine.
Happy Birthday, Professor Tolkien!
Jan-u-wine has delivered yet again, writing a beautiful personal reminiscence of the Professor in narrative verse. But before the poem, a few photographs....
I posted this photograph last year, but it's one of my favourites. He's standing in front of his favourite tree in the Oxford Botanical Garden. It was taken Aug. 9, 1973, a month before he died.
There are quite a few photos of Tolkien smoking a pipe, no longer an approved pastime (however cherished by hobbits, wizards and academics of previous eras). Two of my favourites follow. I regret I do not know who photoshopped the first of the two. Note how examples of Tolkien's writing and drawing are deftly included along two of the borders.
This, perhaps, is my favourite Tolkien portrait.
The following photo shows Tolkien and his son Christopher napping together in the garden behind their Oxford house. I have always loved it as a candid snapshot offering a glimpse of Tolkien as an ordinary person, not just a Great Writer. After reading jan-u-wine's piece I found the photo more broadly applicable. Looking again, thinking of the poem, I couldn't help seeing Jan, and all us fans, as the small sleeper, experiencing through art a sense of closeness to the man who created the books and secondary world we love, as though we could share his dreams.
Might I borrow a cupful of hours, a tablespoon of minutes
a teaspoon of second-hand seconds?
I promise I shall not return them.
From the hours shall be forged memories, whip-stitched 'round the small commas of minutes,
held at the last, by the small 'period' of a second.
Might I borrow these things?
Might I have just a bit more of that which you have already so kindly given?
And time runs out, like the tide upon our life-shore,
and I lie here, dreaming and alone,
tear-thankful that there have been such people,
such places, such.......
And wishing that I might have just a cuppa
Tolkien's favourite tree today (pinus nigra in the Oxford Botanic Garden):
This more distant shot shows its great height and vast canopy. The wall behind is extremely high, much taller than any person. It makes me think of the tree Niggle spent his life painting, the one he could never finish it. Or, of course, the Tree of Tales.
~ 'The Desolation of Smaug' by jan-u-wine, with screencap from film.