Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

A Life Remembered ~ last Grey Haven caps and jan-u-wine's "A Sailor's Quest"....

A Life Remembered ~ last of the Grey Havens screencaps, and jan-u-wine’s, A Sailor’s Quest....


I really have no special thing to say for this entry. I merely wanted to present this long narrative poem by jan-u-wine I read a few weeks ago that I thought made a fine “Summa” of Frodo’s life from his perspective.

It opens with Frodo home from the Quest. The "Year of Great Plenty" has passed; golden-haired children such as the Shire has never seen have come into the world. It's autumn, the time of the turning of the year and the taking of journeys.

The poem offers a visionary sort of retrospective: as if Frodo, having finished the Red Book is looking back, just free-associating, watching images from his life pass before him like leaves upon the surface of the Brandywine. Leaves that are little vignettes, carefully selected from his childhood, growing-up years, the coming to him of the Ring, and significant portions of the Quest.

For illustrations, I thought the very end of the poem was set off well by the handful of caps remaining from the Grey Havens scene.

The sequence below comes right after Frodo has embraced Sam and given his kiss of blessing. The score shifts from the poignant farewell music (sustained strings over the Shire theme) to what I think of as the “Sea Music”: oboes like gull cries and mournful sailor’s pipes play spare little signatures above lower, slowly rocking chords (open fourths?), droning in the choral voices, moving back and forth like the water under the boat rocking gently at anchor.

It is just as Frodo turns that the music shifts, subliminally signaling the turning of Frodo’s focus from his friends and home to the Sea. He turns from Sam, and, as he advances towards the ship, drawing closer and closer to the camera, the Sea Music calling more and more strongly, his face becomes subtly transformed, as if he can hear in the gulls’ cries and the sea’s lisp against the quay the whispering of the West. As he moves, in the slight slow-motion the filmmakers chose, he seems to float, rising and falling as he moves toward the gang plank, as if he were already on the Sea.

That turn away from Sam towards the Sea, accompanied by the shift from the Shire theme to the Sea Music raises gooseflesh under my hair and down my back every time.

In a way, for me it’s the preparation for the burst of tears that comes when Frodo boards the boat and smiles his smile. The Sea Music draws from me a response of such depth and power, it, perhaps even more than the visuals, persuades me of the inevitably of Frodo’s sailing. How could he resist such a call? I could not.


~ Frodo turns from Sam and moves towards the Sea; RotK, full-screen theatrical version:

A Sailor’s Quest

~ by jan-u-wine

There is
a new chain
about my neck.

(the other was

you know).

Hope holds to it,
enfolds what lies
like the enveloping
of the night sky
cradles the lonely
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I stand beneath
homely trees,
solemn in their autumn-gold

and touch the promise
at my throat.

The Quest
before me,
as if
it were a parchment,
and the World
a table
large enough to hold
it entire.

I see them…..

see them all…



memory filtering
like gentled sunlight
in my mind
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see a Spring
when the World was new,
and the stars sang only
to themselves in its dawn.

I see an eye,
an eye -
with fire,
and Home
and sky.

I see the glint of gold

beneath quieting

I see summer
its heavy heat
upon the river,
waiting evil.

I feel a heart-beat

and end.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I see another summer:

a night,
with stars,
fire-flies like the Netted Jewels
lying upon the still
green-gold of the river.

I see the blunt
of the boat,

wrong-side up.

I see her hand,

by the waxen lilies
upon the shore.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see the Hill at Harvest:

fields, gold and orange
and earth-ribbon-brown
beneath a Sun bound for Winter.

I see the Party Tree
and the fireworks,

smelling of powder and night,
flushing sudden day across
a blackened sky.

I see…..


lying innocent and silent
at my feet.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

More harvests,


of gentle green,
more spent Summers,
more Winters passed within
sheltering walls.

And voices….



in my mind.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see casements,
flung open to the dark
and an Eastern wind.

I see gold
within the fingers
of the flame.

I see flight,
and feel the the rush
of sweet grass
springing wet against my legs
as we pass.

I see a troubled traveler in grey
turning to meet the Storm.

I see my cousins,
laughing bold
and careless,

within the fields of Home.

I see embodied
like the silencing of Light,
even mute creatures to its will…

like a sentinel of Night
against the shrouded hill……

following me…….

following me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see the Inn.

And a Man.

A dark and dangerous Man,
a pipe's red glow held
betwixt tightening fingers.


Voices upon the throat of the night….

the throat of the night.

Not for the last time,

I see marshes,
creeping, stilled marshes,
filled with death,
limned in shadowed white.

I see the spill of rock
where once dwelt

I hear the lilt of Pip's
small voice.

I see a form without face,
ragged garments flowing against
the tide of the night,

I feel the ice of his hate,
the heat of his malice
before even the blade touches me,
sends me to dreams of dread and desire.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see Light and an autumn caught
in a stilled current of Time.

I see a circle of the great and small.

I see a choice.

My heart slows,
within me:

I see


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see the pour'd gold
of dying day
as we cross the bridge,

see the Light
turn to somewhat
as the valley becomes
as memory behind us.

I see the proud, bitter head
of the snow-held mountain….

and doors bound by silver runes
standing open to the lemon moon.

I see black shadow laid upon ever-darker dreams,

dealt out within chill caverns of stone.

I see fire -

I see

a bottomless chasm -
a broken span

and you

to unplumbed death.

I cannot see more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



It slows and stops and starts anew
like the errant flutter of the golden leaves,
singing with each breath of what must
pass, in this land beyond dreams,

as wind.

And yet…..

and yet,

I see.

I understand, at last,
I must see.

I see the Lady.

There is a star
upon her pale finger.

A Ring,
such as mine.

She will not,
can not
take this evil from me.

I see what must,
what will

I hear her voice,
soft Elven words
running like silk threads
inside my mind.

Threads of silver air,
drawn from shores made distant by time….

I see her lips do not move
when she speaks to me thus,
nor mine, in answer.

I see a morning kept close in gold-grey fog,
and feel her lips in blessing upon my brow.

I see we may no longer stay here,

no longer
where time does not flow outward
to meet its ending.

My hand finds her parting gift,
folds it against the tight beat of my heart.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I see the mighty river of Kings.

Like a highway it is,
running broad and blue
beneath a sun-swept sky.

I see fear.

Fear in the face of my King.

Fear of him….
fear for him.

My thoughts run like clear water:

I see what I must do.

The boat, fretting on its line,
and the swift-run of the river
lie before me.

I see a lonely way,
and a Road
that I shall travel,

I see the eastern bank
sliding close before me.

I see….


I see Sam.

But he

sees only
a boat,

as it should,

I see I am not

to my Sam.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How dark it is upon this shore.

It is darkness hardened,
driven by a world
which might never have known Light.

Here, I can not see.

And the Voices…..

the Voices born
of this small golden circle,

they rise.

to me.

And I see.

I see a Man,
pinned by arrows,
dying in shadowed Sun.

I see great battles,
and the dead clamouring
within the realms of the living.

I see madness,

and a Lord I do not know
pulling his House down about
him in fire and despair.

I see my cousins.

They are young no more,
but frightened yet.

I smell blood and fire



I see Merry fall.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sam is helping me stand.

It must not be much further,

it must not be,

for the food and the water are gone,

as soon we shall be.

I really cannot see any longer,

nor remember why it is that I hurt so,
nor why these strange clothes cover me.

I do not remember why I should struggle more…..
only that I must.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

bright as sunlight.

I see…..

my own finger,
bone glistening white
against petal-sprayed blood.

I see

My heart beats in my ears.

I see It.


Before even my mind can form thought,
he has gone.

And taken something I can never name,
(at least, not as he did),
with him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And now,

I see again.

and I remember all those simple things
that led me to this place.

My hand does not hurt any longer,
and the fire that swirls red about us
puts me in mind of the strawberries
you spoke of, Sam.

not that I am hungry, mind you.

I should just have liked to have seen them.

and the fields, pearl'd with barley.

I should have liked to have seen them, too.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was a very long journey,

and back again.

A very long journey.

But now,
at last,
I am Home.

And all the little rivers still run,
as if naught had e'er changed…

and the fields ripen in summer
and fall to silence in the depths of winter.

And the children.

Golden-haired and Elven-lithe.

The Shire has never seen such children.

I see them.

I see the Shire.

But mostly,

I see,
in the grey-rough bark of the tree,
in the endless blue of the sky,

in the green-gilt call of the river….

mostly I see


At the beginning and the end of the parchment which is my life,
she waits.

The Sea.


Jan-u-wine's Lord of the Rings-based poetry may be found at LotR Scrapbook.

Previous entry (“Frodo Waits for Sam Across the Sea” ~ Anduin caps, jan-u-wine’s “Soon” ) HERE.

Listing of all Frodo Screencap entries HERE.

~ Mechtild
Tags: frodo screencaps, jan-u-wine, return of the king

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