This is the last of the posts featuring poetry by jan-u-wine — at least for the foreseeable future. I had wanted to post it on its own since it is not part of the previous series.
Jan wrote a wonderful, moving poem, “On the Field of Cormallen”, inspired by the Frodo Art Travesty, made from a painting of St. Sebastian tended by St. Irene, by Francesco Del Cairo.
But this poem is very different in subject and tone. Rather than portraying an unconscious Frodo being tended by healers, this is Frodo waking up for the first time, on the Field of Cormallen in Ithilien.
There is no portrayal in the canon text of this moment for Frodo, but Tolkien does include a depiction of Sam waking (Frodo having wakened earlier but returned to sleep). For my ‘bit of text’, then, here is that excerpt.
From The Return of the King, “The Field of Cormallen”:When Sam awoke, he found that he was lying on some soft bed, but over him gently swayed wide beechen boughs, and through their young leaves sunlight glimmered, green and gold. All the air was full of a sweet mingled scent.
He remembered the smell: the fragrance of Ithilien. ‘Bless me!’ he mused. ‘How long have I been asleep?” For the scent had borne him back to the day when he had lit his little fire under the sunny bank; and for the moment all else between was out of waking memory. He stretched and drew a deep breath. ‘Why, what a dream I’ve had?’ he muttered. ‘I’m glad to wake!’ He sat up and then he saw that Frodo was lying beside him, and slept peacefully, one hand behind his head, and the other resting upon the coverlet. It was the right hand, and the third finger was missing.
For illustrations, rather than using the simple-but-beautiful, light-bathed images of Frodo beginning to stir in the Houses of Healing (companion shot to Frodo waking in Rivendell), I decided to use the images of Frodo being borne aloft by the eagle, after being rescued from the fires and fumes of Gorgoroth. Not only do they seem to suit better, the scene is one I think the most beautiful in all of film.
Frodo is still conscious in these images, his mind still working: the expressions on his face alternate between muzzy bewilderment, exhausted relief, wondering disbelief, and sheer bliss.
Below is the book text that goes with the Eagles Scene:
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.
I thought the Eagles screencaps showed a lot more of what Frodo might be feeling upon waking up in Ithilien. They convey more of the complexity, the variety of impressions and feelings that might be passing through Frodo’s mind than those from the HOH scene.
After reading jan-u-wine’s poem, There and Back….Again (posted below the screencaps), I thought this all the more.
When I look at the caps below, I feel they truly express the lines Renée Fleming sings (with a voice like a Vala) in the vocals under this scene, lines which book-Sam speaks to Gandalf:
’What’s happened to the world? Is everything sad going to come untrue?’
As usual, the screencaps, which come from the fullscreen theatrical version, have been sharpened and brightened.
There and Back....Again
A confusion of consciousness,
freighted by sleep.
In later years he would remember
the first thing he *did* remember,
the first thought that flashed from
nothing into being with such fierce speed,
that almost he laughed
he was not sure
he *could* laugh,
not certain he might recall such sound from his silenced throat)
at its very oddity:
if the Sun's warm fingers
upon a *rounded* ear,
wondered, as the heat of it
fell upon his side,
like a hand placed there in gentle blessing.
Sweet Spring Sun.
Even, it warmed his hair.
And, oh then,
he could smell the green scent
of the field
and even the difference as
pushed toward grass-dried noon,
sweet promise holding him in a blanket of dawn.
And he kept his eyes closed,
listening to his heart beat,
soft then hard
(feeling the pain in his hand at that last,
almost as if the bone were still bared,
(nerves strung raw in the crimson'd chamber)
almost as if blood still pulsed and ran
from the wound)
and the birds making small sounds in the brake,
like sleepy lullabies
murmurs of life
about to awaken,
all at once.
'Like *me*, he thought, like *me*'.
And they had laid him down upon a bed of straw,
with just his cloak between,
and it felt...
he had to *think* on how it felt,
think on the homeliness of the straw,
sharp little points sticking and rustle-shifting
if he moved,
and the cloak,
between him and those rough points,
grey weave familiar and soft like a dreme and better than any pillow
beneath his cheek.
And he felt a great tightness about his throat,
(all the tighter for there being nothing truly
a great unwillingness to open his eyes,
lest there be nothing but darkness,
and a great urgency, as if the opening
were as needful as the taking of a breath
after having been too long submerged.
that if there were naught save darkness,
then all the world should have ended.
He would be quick upon the following.
He did not know,
in that moment
which he feared more:
the World with its light, its sound, its
For if the World were there,
like the soft persistance of light against his lids insisted,
he could not keep his eyes closed,
not keep them kindly closed until the dremes
of dappled sun and the small sounds of birds
and the smell of sweet earth
folded into dremeless rest.
He had not thought beyond the Mountain,
had not thought
there might yet be Light
nor a rising beyond the Fall.
Courage was not a word he used to himself,
It was a word from tales.
he thought, and it might embrace
a lone sword singing its deadly blooded
song amongst a legion of enemies
something as seeming simple as
the unclosing of one's eyes.
In a life split to a nicety betwixt books and bravery,
(bravery, like courage, being just a word,
a word which could know naught of deeds)
it was by far
or...There AND Back Again (and readied himself to make the attempt))
the bravest thing
he ever did.
Listing of jan-u-wine's Lord of the Rings-based poetry HERE
For the screencaps (five-part series) that would come before this scene in the film
(Sam and Frodo on the rock in the lava flow), start HERE.
Listing of all Frodo Screencap entries HERE.