Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

Happy Birthday Bagginses 2016, with jan-u-wine’s ‘Nothing Is There Better’, art by J. R. R. Tolkien


1928 Tumble [Timber] Hill-TEASER.jpg

Happy Birthday, Frodo and Bilbo!

Greetings! Forgive my lack of presence, the combined result of responsibilities to others and creeping decreptitude. :) I am inspired to post, however, because jan-u-wine has written a beautiful new poem in honor of the day, Nothing Is There Better.

"Beautiful" is almost a limp descriptive of Nothing Is There Better, it is such a lovely piece. When I read it I seem to feel it, literally; I experience it through my senses, making the emotional impact the more powerful. The way Jan sets up her spare but perfect word-pictures does this, the clarity of observation, through Frodo's eyes, expressing the subtle depth of his new-yet-becoming-familar life on Tol Eressëa across the Sea. I think his healing, if obliquely stated, is greatly in evidence, as if there is a profound quiet inside Frodo, a contemplative quiet that seems only occasionally disturbed by the static of past pain and suffering. And Bilbo is still there, a heart of joy, if a very old and very frail one. I love this new poem with all my Tolkien-enraptured soul.

The illustration is a picture Tolkien made while on holiday with his young family at Lyme Regis. They were there in 1927 and 1928. Tolkien did a lot of drawing and painting on these visits, much of it eventually informing future illustrations for his imaginative work. His study of trees along a path approaching a view of the sea, "Tumble Hill" (locally called "Timber Hill"), is a picture that contributed to illustrations of wooded scenes to come, the forest of Taur-na-fuin and the Vale of Sirion in Silmarillion, and Mirkwood and the Elven Kind's gate in The Hobbit. It seems like spring in "Tumble Hill", the leaves, high up, not fully out, the air clear and fresh, the shape and texture of the tree boles predominant. It was this picture that inspired Jan's poem.


Below: ‘Timber Hil’ by J. R. R. Tolkien, 1927-28:

1928 Tumble [Timber] Hill-RED.jpg

Nothing Is There Better

Nothing is there better,
my lad,

than the quiet
of the Road.

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

Those words.

In dawn’s pearl light
they wake me,

the small scent of rain

drops diademing

tender grasses,
tree roots

twine’d by silver
faerie purses.

As if it were the ending and the beginning
of every Road,

this common track calls me,
limned ribbon rising to
tree-crowned hill.

In a moment, my feet find
the coarse-paper’d dust
of the upward path,

my thoughts woven about
the fragile voicings
of brake-starlings

and the mithril paths of slow-wandered

Sharp as just-birthed rock,
the morning air,

sharp and crushed-mint fine,
moth-wing wind dancing

among the grasses of the ditch.
~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~ . ~

It is not new to me,
this Hill,

moss-barked trees
leaf-ringed and silent
in the soft bronze of

It is not new to me,
the leagues-distant

the smalt-deep of it
glowing like the very jewel

It is all
that is new:

the untouchable beauty
of lace waves,

the bold-raced prow
of the Sun,

the grey of twilight
and the sound of water

singing amongst
the river-rocks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Sun is sullen in Her mid-day tramp
when I return, still more than half a-dreme.

Uncle is all but-yet-abed, tea and seed-cake
scattered about the board,

his face alight, as always,
with the wanting of Adventures.

And I tell him my simple tale,
the Adventure small,
by compare
(as always mine have been).

Small as the stars, and just as distanced
by velvet wonder.

Later, we smoke a pipe in the garden,
the roses waxy beneath a risen Moon.

It is better than
dancing and cake

and dragon fire-works,

It is better than the company of the Road.

It is our birth-day, kind and quiet and good.


Nan's Reunion-ICON ~ All Mechtild LJ entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.

Tags: bilbo baggins, birthday, frodo, jan-u-wine, tolkien

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic