Thursday, March 24, 2016

Immortality by Janet Nelson-Alvarez

Evening at the end of The Shire by John Cockshaw ©

Upon a morning of fog, I set out,
the very air quieted beneath grey’d wraith-weight,
Sun rising through opal-orange mist.
Diademed fog-tears necklace the grasses,
lie heavy upon my hair and cloak.
Below the narrow ribbon of my path
(chocolate-thick with damp),
the Sea waits.
Even from this road-perch,
I see the discontent of her,
all but hear waves
rousing the sand
in green-glass fury.
It is not my lot
to walk beside her today.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Far into gathered wool-clouds,
my path,
mountain-rock's solid grey
like an Oliphaunt beside me,
(song yet hushed with dawn-chill)
calling from hunter's-green brake.
There is a great gathering of trees here.
I feel their greeting,
these ancient ones,
almost imagine
Fimbrethil and her lost sisters
enfold me in an enchanted ring.
I may not linger with them today.
I may not give ear to treeish tales.
Upwards still the road curves,
elanor within its fragrant ditch,
bold Sun drinking the dew of lac'd
spider's webs.
Almost to the very steeple
of the mountain I climb. 
Within a glade of odd-pocketed-dark,
I find my journey's end:
the glad spice of it floating
like a banner upon the close air.....
Oiolairë in the language of this land.
The Green Bough of Return.
In storied legend,
signet of reunion
beyond all Seas.*
My little knife serves to cut a single branch,
my feet find (with gathering haste)
the downward road.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In the safe haven of Avallónë,
the incoming tide at last rolls calm.
Within its arms,
a white-prowed ship.
A shortened figure there is upon the deck,
a figure wonderful with age,
yet-strong hands tight
upon the rail.
And I hurry towards this meeting,
this tapestried reunion of Hope,
this simple hobbit’s
Bough of Return,
at last full-filled.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It is all  of forever,
this moment,
all of Home.
It is all of heart-wealth
and needful healing.
It is all that we,
with the Gift of Men
might know of Un-Dying.
It is all of Endlessness and Ending
held, at the last,
within time’s kindly twine.
*A/N: entry from The Thain’s book on oiolaire:  “The Elves put boughs from the oiolaire on the prows of their ships as a token of their friendship with Osse and Uinen, the Maiar of the Seas. The Numenoreans had a similar practice. When a Numenorean ship set sail for Middle-earth, a branch of the oiolaire called the Green Bough of Return was placed on the prow by a woman - usually the wife or a kinswoman of the Captain. The Bough did not wither as long as it was sprayed with seawater.”

© March 2016 Janet Nelson-Alvarez

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