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Mt. Doom river of fire

For the Anniversary of the Fall of Barad-dûr: two poems by jan-u-wine, art by John Cockshaw.

Posted on 2015.03.24 at 19:09
Tags: , , , ,

The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles by John Cockshaw, penultimate version-TEASER

~ Detail from The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles, by John Cockshaw.

This March 25 we present something old, something new. Below the image of Frodo standing at the Cracks of Doom is something old: a poem jan-u-wine wrote years ago, but which I had never read. The Turning of the Road: The Sammath Naur distills events from that last day, letting us see into the heart of Frodo's experience as he is overpowered and nearly destroyed by Sauron, his life, sanity and the fate of Middle-earth preserved only by the madness of Gollum and the love of Samwise.

Below the first poem and an excerpt from Return of the King, is an illustration by John Cockshaw showing the coming of Gandalf and the Eagles, chosen to complement the "something new": jan-u-wine's Cast Up, which follows. The new poem lifts up and makes explicit the hope that is only hinted at in the darker Turning, bearing Frodo, Sam and us readers out of downfall and despair.

Happy Anniversary!


ROTK screencap, Frodo at the Sammath Naur

The Turning of the Road: The Sammath Naur

along the dark


of this
lost myself.

was a turning,

was a step
upon which
I stumbled.

No longer
in dreams
do I
see Home,
hear the
Sea's cry.

No longer,
your voice
call me
from dark

You cannot touch

I cannot
be hurt
by the smallness
of you.

I turn
from the sound
of your grief.

You do not
move me.

I do not love you,
nor those



I will prove

I will give
your life
to That
do love.

A cold
and terrible


holds me still.

Like one wounded,
you lie
upon the ground
at my feet.

The slow

of your heart
pulls at your throat,


slide thickly
beneath eyes
closed by despair.

Your voice.

I hear
your voice.

You speak
my name
as one
to die.

[Do you imagine
can summon
him forth,

this .....


your trembling
voice seeks?]

[Say his name
oft enough -

the scattered


of all
he was
may yet

lie dead,
I shall
let him
your blood
the bright
of his

he will even
your unseeing





upon the closed
of my mind.


Bright blood

with the
red of the flames.



into darkness -




Only the blood

In shame
I see
your face.

Your hand
mine still,

safe against
the only horror which remains:


What have I done?

This chamber
of dark
and terrible
of death.


It is a small thing.

Not much bigger
than I.

has met his...

His story,
happily over.

It is such a little
that now
mine should end
as well.

you desire
to look
the sun-lit ruin
of the World

No matter.

In the space
a few
this other
will take us.

the friendly
of the Mountain,
we lie.

I wonder,
as my hand
seeks yours,
as my eyes close
the sight
they must not see,
does Home

in your mind?

Who calls to you?

Whose heart does yours

as your Life
in this lonely place?

If not for me,
your hands should still
be working the fair earth,

your back sweet-sweated
beneath the sun.

What have I done?

My guilty eyes
into yours
no blaming there....


soft sadness,


If only
I had

I take your
in mine.

we end
as we


I am glad
I am,
at the last,
with you,


~ From The Field of Cormallen:

Frodo and Sam could go no further. Their last strength of mind and body was swiftly ebbing. They had reached a low ashen hill piled at the Mountain’s foot; but from it there was no more escape. It was an island now, not long to endure, amid the torment of Orodruin. All about it the earth gaped, and from deep rifts and pits smoke and fumes leaped up. Behind them the Mountain was convulsed. Great rents opened in its side. Slow rivers of fire came down the long slopes towards them. Soon they would be engulfed. A rain of hot ash was falling.


And so it was that Gwaihir saw them with his keen far-seeing eyes, as down the wild wind he came, and daring the great peril of the skies he circled in the air: two small dark figures, forlorn, hand in hand upon a little hill, while the world shook under them, and gasped, and rivers of fire drew near. And even as he espied them and came swooping down, he saw them fall, worn out, or choked with fumes and heat, or stricken down by despair at last, hiding their eyes from death.

Side by side they lay; and down swept Gwaihir, and down came Landroval and Meneldor the swift; and in a dream, not knowing what fate had befallen them, the wanderers were lifted up and borne far away out of the darkness and the fire.

The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles by John Cockshaw, penultimate version-FULL IMAGE 1000 pixels wide

Cast up.


Upon the very shore of the Deep I lie,
the smell and sound

and shape
of the Sea-lady
all about me,

the yearning growing
ever in my heart.....

Gulls cry shrill above,

like pinioned sails
upon the wind.......

My senses return.

This is no peaceful shore,

the place where we must end.

An island it is, now,

ash-snow streaming
upon unbreathable air,

the very rock beneath us

with its death.

Dark and light
all at once,

and furious silence.

Not through any strength of will
may I close my eyes, now,

no matter how desperate the wish.....

Far off,
away from this immediate death,

I yet glimpse the brass'd Sun,
the sky,

blue as only a Spring sky might be,
the lace of a solitary cloud ..........

and ........
something else........


If I had breath for laughter,
it would ring out in this terrible place.

Here is Uncle's Adventure come
full circle,

here, again, is my cousin's wish made

Never have a mother's arms
encircled so entirely,

never has a babe been so
tenderly borne to its rest.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

With what words should I say
what it is
to ride within this claw-cradle?

soft as a dreme, somehow,
and hard as horn,

the furrows and golden dips of cloud
and Sun

and sky
passing beneath us,

above us........

the airs of the World
sweet and cold

and renewed.

All of it passes before my eyes,

that we have done,

the horror of it.

The wonder and beauty of it.

I am falling towards sleep again.

A good sleep.

Cast up.



About the Art:

The picture for this post, "The End of All Things: Rescue by Gandalf and the Eagles", was created by John Cockshaw, a Tolkien artist from Yorkshire, UK. I first found his pictures searching for illustrations for last year’s March 25 post.

Since last year, jan-u-wine and John Cockshaw have been collaborating on a book that will pair Jan’s poems with John’s art, to be published by Oloris Publications. The working title is The Road, Taken. I am very excited to buy and handle my own copy, once it is released. In the meantime, here is a link to an absolutely gorgeous taste of the new work:


You will hear John Cockshaw beautifully read excerpts from jan-u-wine's poems, his images shifting as he reads, while music plays that plucks at memory. Truly, it's a beautiful two minutes.

The Cockshaw piece used for this post, like much of the work featured in his blog, shows a scene from Tolkien's tale created digitally, using photographic elements. Mr. Cockshaw is also a talented freehand artist.

Visit his website and browse: From Mordor to the Misty Mountains: Original artwork inspired by the tales of Middle-earth .


Previous entry:
Bilbo in Bag End by Alan Lee-ICON ~ Happy [Late] Birthday, Bagginses 2014, "Birthday" by jan-u-wine, art by Alan Lee.

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


primula_baggins at 2015-03-25 00:24 (UTC) (Link)
I am in awe. Best wishes on your venture, Jan. It's really beautiful.

Thanks for sharing with us, Mechtild.

Happy Ring Day. :-)
jan_u_wine at 2015-03-25 00:47 (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much, Prim. It is an honor to work with John, who has so selflessly shared his (he)art, his time, his wonderful skill. And it has been my pleasure to work (although it has never seemed thus) with Mechtild for.....well, how many years, now? Going on ten, I think. There has been so much inspiration from the dialogue I've shared with other fans, so much insight that would never have come to me without so many wonderful conversations. So.....thanks to all of you, from my heart!
rakshi at 2015-03-25 01:56 (UTC) (Link)
Just beyond lovely as always. Thank you so much!!

Happy Ring Day!! Praise them with great praise!!

mechtild at 2015-03-25 03:24 (UTC) (Link)
So pleased you could stop by, Rakshi, and so pleased you liked the pieces!!

Yes, Harry Ring Day (or "Happy NO Ring Day", ha ha)!

Edited at 2015-03-25 03:24 am (UTC)
addie71 at 2015-03-25 11:55 (UTC) (Link)
Here from primula_baggins. This is lovely and the reading of Jan's poem is beautiful.
jan_u_wine at 2015-03-25 11:59 (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much, Addie. It makes me so happy that people love to visit Middle Earth!

Edited at 2015-03-25 12:34 pm (UTC)
Lavender Took
lavendertook at 2015-03-25 15:16 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I've got goosebumps.

A beautiful three part jointing here.

The first poem is so sad and horrific of what the book only hinted at.

The second bittersweet and so interesting that he hears the sea among the flames--but of course that would come back along with the thoughts of home. And that seeing the eagles would bring Frodo back to Bilbo's tale, just as it brings the reader, but back to Frodo's childhood, too. Holding onto the beauty and not sinking with the horror does not last for long, but he gets that moment of rest.

What a lovely voice John Cockshaw brings for your Frodo, Jan. Beautiful bittersweet video production. I can't wait to buy the book.

Happy Fall of Barad-dur Day, Metchild and Jan-u-wine! *hugs* And this is the first day I've been able to fully get into LJ while at work--good day for it to work. (-:

jan_u_wine at 2015-03-25 16:41 (UTC) (Link)
Happy DotR day, LT! So very glad that you like the post so much.....

and, yes, John has a beautiful, lovely voice. He told me that he based his readings on the BBC version of LOTR. Perhaps if he comes by and reads these posts, he might comment a little further.

It's very odd, having a book published. It seems a dream, really. A dream rushing towards me, and I, towards it. It's the oddest, oddest, ODDEST thing!
shirebound at 2015-03-25 15:16 (UTC) (Link)
Ohhhhh, my heart was broken, and then gently reassembled. What a perfect way to celebrate this special day.
jan_u_wine at 2015-03-25 16:42 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the 'gentle reassembling'....that's what i was going for....

thank you, SB! So glad you liked.
ambree40 at 2015-03-25 21:30 (UTC) (Link)
The most heart breaking line in these two poems is: “I do not love you”. It shows that Frodo has really lost his soul and I feel he never got it back while in Middle Earth.
“The Road, Taken” is a beautiful title for the book. It seems to symbolize both Frodo’s heroism and his tragic, inescapable fate. I’m very much looking forward to it.
Thanks to you both for this beautiful post.
jan_u_wine at 2015-03-25 23:41 (UTC) (Link)
you know, Ambree, I'm in such a different sort of place now than all those years ago when "Turning" was written. It's hard to find words for it, but I suppose it suffices to say that I lived in ME, every day, all day, or at least what the vision of it was for me when 'voicing' Frodo. But just as he received an education along the Road, and an additional education in TE, so I have come to see the World as a much larger place, full of impossibly deep darknesses, and even *moreso* full of light and laughter. It felt very strange to write "Cast Up" as a companion for "Turning". And yet so very, very right. As right as Frodo must surely have felt when he knew that he'd, in the end, been rescued.

Thank you for coming by and reading. It means so very much.

I must mention that the title was suggested by another lady (I hope she'll drop by this post) when I stiffed at coming up with one. She sort of riffed off of Frost's "The Road Not Taken"....but to me, it all is truly a riff off of Bilbo's road song, which speaks (the latter version at least) of, in the end, taking the hidden paths that run. Exactly what he and Frodo did. Bless their dear hearts.
antane at 2015-03-26 01:32 (UTC) (Link)
As always Frodo honors you, jan, by exposing his pierced and shattered heart and soul to you because he knows you honor him and he trusts you and knows it is safe to disclose such horrific defilement knowing you will not love him any less. Such a sacred relationship you two have. We are privileged that in his trust he does not fear his nakedness will lose the love of anyone else. I love also that the Sea reached him even there at the Mountain. God bless you and him and his guardian angel and the other angels who watched over him as he so faithfully carried out his calling and spent himself so utterly. Cannot wait for your book - autographed of course! :) I will order the moment I hear it is out! Thank you, mechtild, for posting this commemoration!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2015-03-26 02:24 (UTC) (Link)
Jan-u-wine does have a genius for bringing us as close as possible to the interior life of her characters. I am so pleased you stopped by, and I appreciate the thought and warmth of your comments, Antane.

I can't wait for the book, either. And I'd like an audio-visual version of it, too, after watching and hearing the video clip in which John Cockshaw reads excerpts from the poems while his images are displayed, well-chosen music setting it all off to perfection.
antane at 2015-04-15 03:16 (UTC) (Link)
One of the things I gave up for Lent was music so I did not listen to this video and then I forgot about it. But here I am at last and all I can say is wow, wow, wow! I cannot wait even more now for this. I dearly hope there will be an audio version of it! Someone simply *must* make it!! I have never heard Frodo's voice so authentically spoken. From the first moment, I was like, yes, this is what he must have sounded like. And I though Ian Holm was good! But this *is* Frodo. Do you know when it will be released yet? *hugs to you and John and our dear Baggins*

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mechtild at 2015-04-16 00:49 (UTC) (Link)
I'm with you, Antane. I'd LOVE to hear/see an extended version of that video. :)
diem_kieu94 at 2016-03-26 02:40 (UTC) (Link)

Happy Fall of Barad-Dur! (2016!)

Hello again! It's me, Diem Kieu. Well... It's that time of year again to celebrate the anniversary of the Destruction of the Ring - and Sam and Frodo's heroism, of course!

Happy Gondorian New Year, everyone! I hope this March 25th finds you well, happy and successful! (Especially you, Jan-u-Wine! Congratulations on your new book that you released in June!)
mechtild at 2016-03-26 12:36 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Happy Fall of Barad-Dur! (2016!)

Greetings, Diem Kieu!

I will pass on your note to jan-u-wine. Actually, she wrote a lovely suite, "Suite: Road" of three poems in honor of March 25 this year. They reflect on life, death and immortality. Let me find you the link. You can find them in the blog of writer Laurel Hawkes, posted in succession on March 22, 23 and 24, the three days before the Fall of the Dark Lord.


I am well, but I have not had the focus this year to prepare anything on Mechtild. Elder care has been requiring my resources. I just haven't been able to marshal my thoughts to do writing other than family emails and texts! Ah, well. That's real life for you. :)

Have a wonderful Middle-earth new year!
diem_kieu94 at 2016-03-28 04:54 (UTC) (Link)

Just read Your Poems...

... And they gave me the chills!!! Hope you had a happy Easter!!
mechtild at 2016-04-01 16:29 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Just read Your Poems...

Me, too!
diem_kieu94 at 2017-03-25 19:27 (UTC) (Link)

Happy Gondorian New Year!! (2017!!)

Hi Mech! Hope all is well with you and Jan! Well... it's another anniversary of the fall of Barad-Dur!! :D Wishing you the very best this 2017!

With the best Middle-Earth wishes,

Diem Kieu
mechtild at 2017-03-25 19:31 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Happy Gondorian New Year!! (2017!!)

Greetings, Diem Kieu! And a glorious fall of the Dark Tower to you. :) I am not bad, muddling through, just caught up with elder care and stuff like that. Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello!
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