Ode To Tolkien
Disclaimer: Original poem © 2003 Aaron Alex. All Rights Reserved for written work. No copyright expressed or implied with Howard Shore's accompaniment in attached audio file. Used only for supplementation. This is not a commercial endeavor but rather a passion project.
I LOVE The Lord of the Rings. I fell in love with it at a young age and never fell out of love for it. I could say so much.
I wrote this poem in 2003. This was truly a labor of love. I am a huge fan of Tolkien's poetry and prose, and sought to sculpt this in the same rhyme and meter. I hope this inspires you! The written version below is mine; the audio version preceding it is a dramatic reading set to various stirring Howard Shore Lord of the Rings tracks. I hope you thoroughly enjoy this. As a voiceover artist, and one that loves to voice projects with a British accent, I couldn't resist.
This poem is featured in my custom homemade keepsake edition, entitled "The Lord of the Rings: 2023 Expanded Edition." This version contains extended dialogue and backstory from Tolkien's unpublished works as recorded by his son Christopher Tolkien in The War of the Ring and The Treason of Isengard. I included these passages and in fact penned some of my own, because Tolkien inspires genius, and I desperately sought to be part of his awe-inspiring dream. The truth of the matter is that I wanted to create an exhaustive version of this grand oeuvre, this behemoth masterpiece: my heart's desire had been so captivated by it since I was an early teen. It has been the genesis of creative inspiration for everything I've ever gone on to create: music, books, poetry, dance, audio and video productions, and more.
In my book, I also included photos from Peter Jackson's and New Line Cinema's trilogy where pertinent to the story flow.
Below is the written form of my poem following the audio production. I hope you enjoy both!
Read the preface from my book, essentially, an "essay" on why I love The Lord of the Rings.
Ode To Tolkien
© 2003 Aaron Alex
When heavy mist strayed in the dells
There came He weaving golden spells,
One Ring he wrought, and nineteen brought,
Up from the Sea, over the fells
In eyries safe above the Wold,
He boldly there His story told,
With palantír He far saw near
And gently wrought His world of old
A Silmaríl of ire and mirth
Descended He to Middle-earth
With flash and flames He gave them names
Empowering soul and spirit’s birth
Elanor created He
And mallorn: towering, golden tree
Pale niphredil: He knew it well
From Númenor across the Sea
There flowering groves of iris grew
Forget-me-nots made soil blue
Within the vale there grew so frail
The evermind, nasturtiums too.
From Gulf of Lune to Nimrodel
Henneth Annûn to Rhosgobel
He gave them start by magic art
Mitheithel and Emyn Muil
Mithril He delved for under fount
In caverns deep beneath the mount
And golden jools: the bane of fools
For dragon’s lust was paramount.
The first sapling of great Mirkwood
And foaming waters of Greyflood
These made He strong, and great their throng
And prospered them as He deemed good
Then made He Shire and Lorien
Hollin, Mount Mindolluin
And Morgul Vale wherein hearts fail
Past proud Gondor constructed then
Through down and fen of grassy Rohan
To set sail from Grey Havens then
From Amroth far to Gorgoroth
And Seven Streams of Lebennin
The tributaries of Anduin
Free from the ash of Orodruin
Past Argonath, Osgiliath
To Belfalas and back again
And Tol Brandir the isle of rock
Was leagues away from milky chalk
On stony hill of Bombadil
Still far from home of Brandybuck
With circlets silver, fillets gold
And flaxen-pale hair flowing cold:
Through these He birthed through Middle-earth
Such beings as then would fit their mold
Mysterious made He Bombadil
Ere race was born of iron-will
Crying “Merry-O” and “Berry-O”
With River-Daughter drank their fill
He molded Elves and formed He men
In holes set halflings then therein
And Dwarves gave He to flowering sea
Of stone and quarry to chisel in
From acorn blessed He great Fangorn
From lineage crowned He Aragorn
In woods of gold from days of old:
Galadriel and Celeborn.
Sweet Rivendell He made for Elf
And for the Dwarf deep Dwarrowdelf
Then Isengard for Wizard hard
For Man the City of seven-shelf.
The Ents dwelt deep in Fangorn’s core
As fire leapt up in Sammath Naur
Whilst dead of kin filled Rath Dínen
In Minas Tirith, in Gondor.
The Rohirrim, the Galadhrim
The Onodrim, the Sindarin
These made He flower in craft and power
To breathe out life from deep within
Great Gwaihir, eagle, Swift Windlord
And Asfaloth for flight to ford
The fell Cave-Troll, and drums that roll
In Moria where Balrog roared.
These made He well along with Grond
And Orcs led He across Morthond
But Southron dart went not to heart
Of Faramir nor Beregond.
‘Tween Dwarves and Elves was kindled strife
Which segregated life from life
Deep Khazad-dûm and elvish moon
Were only close as blade of knife.
In spells unbroken dwelt the Wight
In barrows cold with pale light
Within their downs, they clinked their crowns
And lingered there by sleepless night.
Enclosed within Ephel Dúath
The Mountain vomits up its wrath
With blackened fume through hopeless gloom
He blanketed its cone with ash.
The Dark Lord Sauron of Mordor:
Him wreathed in smoke at Barad-dûr.
The Lidless Eye, vast shadow nigh,
The Nazgõl made He servants for
Three Rings for Elves under the sky
Nine unto men destined to die,
For Dwarves with stone, Seven were shone
And One for Sauron of the Lie.
The Ring was made to serve him well
Beyond all powers dark and fell
Perceived they all with grievous call:
Him they would fight with counterspell.
With great Elf-strength was crowned Elrond
And Elf-life stretched He overlong
The Last Alliance came in defiance
In vast array and armies strong
Isildur son of Elendil
Held sword that would be Andúril
Anárion, the other son
Fought not in vain, clean earth to till.
Unfurled they banners Elven-high
As standards broke beneath the sky
The hammer fall: Narsil’s death-knell
And horror was the Dark Lord’s cry.
Then Threw He down their Nemesis
Freed peoples unto genesis
The Ruling Ring: a vanished Thing
Until the ages should persist.
For Isildur came but never home
The Ring kept he unto his own
Him it betrayed, orcs him then slayed
The Ring passed into place unknown.
For it was Sauron’s then no more
Thus Isildur avenged his fore
The foe was slain, his power wane
His spirit fled to darkened shore
The ages beat on timeless plain
The Ring: but a memory of pain
‘Til then was found, deep underground
Sauron’s heirloom yet once again
Along the banks of Anduin
There came two friends to frolic in
Déagol came and Sméagol same
But only one went home to kin.
For Déagol found the Ruling Ring
On River’s bed, a pretty thing
But Sméagol craved, He Déagol graved
And Gollum came thus into being.
They called him names, he bit their feet
Then slunk he ‘way to places deep
It him consumed in cold, dark tomb
‘Til Bilbo came and stole from sleep
The Ring, and took it far away:
Dominion claimed him there that day.
‘Til Wizard told of Shadow old
Whence came it unto Frodo’s stay.
The Ringwraiths grasped their swords of steel
They smelt with nose that was not real
Yet living not, the Ring they sought:
With fervency of lust and will.
The Halfling stood, all folk came in
As Council forged a hope dread thin:
Would great Mount Doom become the tomb
For Sauron’s Ring to vanish in?
There wisdom called for proper course
To purge the world of Sauron’s force
In Mount Doom’s fire, destroyed with ire
The Ring must return to its source.
The doom-bell rolled in Imladris
Whereas before was all amiss
The bane of all, with sunset’s fall
On Frodo lay they burden this
A meddler in issues dire
‘Twas Gandalf, slave of Secret Fire
He felt the Pit, and so was fit
To ravage foe with white-hot ire
Both Radagast and Mithrandir,
Subservient to Curunír
Survived the test as wizards, lest
They too become enslaved to fear.
Of Saruman He made craft fail
Before those last to leave set sail
His wisdom died, no more allied
With Elves nor Men through sad betrayal
Merry sent He and Peregrin
Then Boromir at Parth Galen
There paid his due, defending two
From Uruk-hai which captured them
The King of Rohan aged sat
Upon His throne in weakness that
Didst thin like air when Gandalf there
Spoke staves of healing and lifted threat
Then Rohan’s lord with creak and crack
Thus straightened up his weathered back
He led the raid to Gondor’s aid;
Tho’ death and glory be his rack
On Shadowfax White Rider rode
The weary pilgrim less his load
And Glamdring rang as allies sang
When Mithrandir led Rohan’s road
Yet Saruman was still to thwart
The Onodrim with doom came forth
The rock they ground with booming sound
And leveled Isengard by force
And all the while the brave twain went
With Eärendil’s star the night was rent
Through Ithilien clear with Faramir
Frodo and Sam pursued their meant
But made He Gollum lust-filled trail
The faithful twain to Morgul Vale
Betrayed he them to Shelob’s web
In Cirith Ungol Frodo paled.
For Gollum, Sméagol nevermore
Slave to “the precious,” as he swore
He feigned reform, gave them to storm
In cold revenge he plotted gore
Then stout Samwise saved Frodo’s keep
As he lay there by cliffs asleep
Sam bore his weight and kept his fate
Unto the fiery mountain deep.
But first would fealty take its toll
He rescued Frodo from Morgul
The sentinels passed, whereby at last
Came they to Mount Doom, weary in soul
Then one day war dyed red the skies
As light of battle filled the eyes
Of orcs and men in battle grim
With Minas Tirith as the prize.
The Witch-King fell with malice hard
O’er Théoden Éowyn stood her guard
Whilst Merry crept in Nazgûl’s step
Before its head she clove ashard.
On fields of blood named Pelennor
There mighty names lived nevermore
They fought with pride, and so they died
To aid the Ringbearer in his chore
There Elf with bow and Dwarf with axe
And Gandalf upon Shadowfax
With Strider strode, Éomer rode
Them down, the orcs, to bloody wax.
With war abroad, the three alone:
Sam, Frodo pierced the Mountain’s cone
At last the Ring, and suffering
Along with Gollum went unknown.
Then Barad-dûr the Mighty broke
The Dark Lord vanquished, up in smoke
He came to naught; his absence brought
To Middle-earth peace to all folk.
Thus from the broken line of Kings
Came Aragorn on silver wings
The Elfstone reigned, the Throne regained
By Dúnadan, once least of beings
And so was wrought the greatest tale
Of valiant life and death so pale
Thus Tolkien wove a tale that strove
To charge the mind and set the sails
On anvil smote He greatest note
Of yore which forged would cast the vote
The world amaze with bravest days
Of Middle-earth, of arms, His coat
And then He died but legend stayed
To tarry far beyond His day
Enchanting tale would never fail
To please the heart and lead the way