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I promised to post more poetry, so here's some inspired by a fellow Kossack. :)

A while ago I was browsing around on Batya The Toon's awesome webpage (Corrected from earlier -- see update) and came across a poetic form I'd never heard of -- the sonnet redouble. Essentially, the way it works is that you write 14 sonnets, plus a final one to make 15. One might think that's daunting enough in itself...

But wait -- there's more! Each of the first 14 sonnets has to begin with the same line that ended the preceding sonnet. And, if that wasn't enough of a challenge, the final sonnet -- the 15th -- consists of each of the first lines of the first fourteen sonnets, in order!

(If the above sounds pretty confusing, head on over to Batya the Toon's webpage and check out "The Gift", a sonnet redouble that she wrote together with Seanan McGuire, based on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. You'll get the idea pretty quickly.)

Anyway, being a Tolkien fan -- and since we're just finishing up another "Hobbit" season right now -- I thought I'd write one based on the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings.

So here goes (right below the cloud of orange dragon fire below). Enjoy!

"Ring"

1. Bilbo

It all begins with me, lost in the dark,
Alone in twisting tunnels buried deep.
Ah, for one friendly voice, some guiding spark!
Still, onward through the passages I creep.
Then in the black I see two glowing eyes;
A whisper -- “Preciousss.” Gollum is his name.
He knows the way back to the open skies.
A deal’s soon struck; we’ll play a riddle game.
If I hold out, he’ll lead me from this maze.
But if he wins, I’ll let myself be...eaten?
The game goes back and forth for -- hours? Days?
I’m out of riddles now. He can’t be beaten!
“What’s in my pocket?” ...Reaching in, I hold
A little thing, so smooth and round and cold.

2. Frodo

A little thing, so smooth and round and cold,
He left me when he went to Rivendell
(You ask about the tunnels stuffed with gold?
Well, here’s the last, for all that I can tell.)
He won it in a riddle game he played
With some strange Gollum paddling on a log.
It hid him in the spider-haunted glade
And helped their band defeat the dragon Smaug.
My feet still itch to follow in his track.
He’s gone, you ask? He is, but he’s not dead;
I’d give up Bag End just to have him back --
I almost hear his voice inside my head,
Tales of the Lonely Mountain, tall and stark...
Draw near, and to the ancient stories hark.

3. Gandalf

Draw near, and to the ancient stories hark --
We stopped last night when low the fire burned.
There are some tales you can’t tell in the dark;
Far better, those, to keep till sun’s returned.
Long years ago, the Lord of Mordor sought
To rule the world; he forged a golden band --
A Ring to master all. The armies fought;
Isildur cut the One Ring from his hand.
The same that Bilbo found -- or so I’ve guessed;
The thought alone has left me rather shaken.
The touch of flame will bring the final test.
(And yet, I hope -- I hope -- that I’m mistaken.)
There! See the Elven letters, traced in gold --
Could this, then, be the Ruling Ring of old?

4. Nazgûl

Could this, then, be the Ruling Ring of old?
For Gollum’s screams had given us a lead --
Of Baggins, and the Shire, he had told.
I rode out with the others on my steed.
We came too late; the Ring had left the Shire;
We forced the Prancing Pony’s door in vain;
The Ranger drove us back with sword and fire --
My Morgul-blade shall be the Halfling’s bane.
We’ve cornered him. He weakly grips his sword;
His hand is shaking and his skin’s gone white.
So close -- we smell the Ring across the ford...
The vengeful waters sweep us from his sight.
We’ll wander back uncloaked, we cannot die;
I hear Your voice, yet I cannot reply.

5. Galadriel

I hear your voice, yet I cannot reply;
In innocence you stand, your hand extended
That holds the Ring. I read it in your eye:
The hope your goal is reached, the Quest is ended.
Who would have thought you’d give it freely here?
No more Dark Lords -- for I shall be a Queen! --
And all fall at my feet in love and fear,
The greatest monarch Middle-Earth has seen.
Lothlorien shall flourish evermore!...
...Ah, put the Ring away. I pass the test;
Too long we’ve lingered on this mortal shore.
Our time is done. We’ll sail into the West.
I'll grieve to see the Elfwood fade away;
And yet I must endure this, come what may.

6. Treebeard

And yet I must endure this, come what may;
The scars that sear, the mines that mar the Earth;
His monsters labor, day by ceaseless day,
To rape and ruin the land that gave us birth.
My rowan grove -- why did he take their lives?
And where have gone the forests that I knew?
That world has passed and vanished with our wives;
We ancient ones have grown so few...too few.
Yet rock may shatter, mighty towers fall;
Tenacious roots will split stone’s hidden heart --
Then let us march to Orthanc’s circling wall
To tear this wizard and his works apart.
Rise up, O Ents! No more stand idly by
Through greed and terror, treachery and lie.

7. Aragorn

Through greed and terror, treachery and lie,
Their King was bought and their allegiance swayed.
Yet spoke the Seer: “O Men, though you may die,
You’ll not escape the sacred vow you made.”
On lightless paths their shades are lurking still;
They’ll answer to Elendil’s heir alone,
For there’s a task they’re waiting to fulfill
When summoned to Erech’s enduring stone.
Now in the gloom these ghosts must be awoken;
A war awaits, and Destiny draws near;
The Sword has been reforged that once was broken --
Then put your faith in me, and banish fear!
Though past the door of darkness leads my way,
I know I’ll reach the light again someday.

8. Eowyn

I know I’ll reach the light again someday
Though now I wander in this evil dream
And stumble through a thousand battles grey
While in the skies the winged beasts whirl and scream.
Once more he rides like Rohan’s ancient kings
To turn the tide on Gondor’s bloodied plain;
The horror spirals down on reeking wings;
He gasps his final breath beneath Snowmane.
He felled the serpent, I the wraith in black;
Yet round us both the combat rages on,
And still the one I love has not come back.
My hero, O my king -- where have you gone?
I’ll linger here awhile in fevered night
Though mighty Men with sword and spear still fight.

9. Faramir

Though mighty Men with sword and spear still fight,
Each day I see the dark hosts drawing near.
His storm clouds cloak the skies to kill all light;
The Nazgûl shriek their cries of dread and fear.
We sheltered in the Window on the West
Two strange small men. (A third crept by at eve.)
They told me of an heirloom, and a Quest;
I gave them staffs and food, and let them leave.
I should have brought this weapon to your hand?
My brother put his trust in steel’s bright sheen
And would have done the thing that you demand...
I saw his funeral boat on Anduin.
I made my choice -- say what you will of me --
To keep fool’s hope alive and kingdoms free.

10. Denethor

To keep fool’s hope alive and kingdoms free
The Grey Fool threw our finest hope away.
Now he would crown this new king -- over me!
(As though we’ll ever live to see that day.)
The streets are red with flame’s unearthly glow;
His black hordes circle round -- what use, now, flying?
They’re battering down the final gate below
While in my arms my Faramir lies dying.
Beneath his skin they’ve set a blazing fire.
Will neither of my sons again return?
Come, bring a brand, and light the funeral pyre.
I’ll choose our end; together we will burn.
Go on, Grey Fool. Keep up your futile fight --
Yet soon, so soon, shall come the endless Night.

11. Saruman

Yet soon, so soon, shall come the endless Night.
Then listen to my words, pay careful heed;
You’ve always trusted Saruman the White.
Just think -- you’ve found the weapon that we need.
The Black Gate’s guarded by the Lidless Eye;
Uncounted armies gather in the gloom.
You still believe your friends can make it by?
(Here, want to buy the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm?)
In desperate days, who cares for right and wrong?
Compassion is for slaves, peace for the weak.
Let us unite; we’ll make ourselves the strong;
The Palantír will show the sign we seek.
...You dare refuse? You’ll wish you’d joined with me
When Darkness reigns from Mordor to the Sea.

12. Samwise

When Darkness reigns from Mordor to the Sea
I’ll give up heart -- till then, I journey on!
Though I’m the last of all the Company,
Our hope can never die till life is gone.
There pale he lies; one final tear I’ll weep
And fold his hands on his belovèd breast,
Wrapped round with mithril coat to guard his sleep;
Then take the Ring, and go to do my best.
Dark lies the road ahead, but though I quail
In stony waste and starless night I’ll sing;
I’ll see it through -- the Quest must never fail!
And though it tempts me, I’ll not wield the Ring.
I’m only Sam the gardener, after all;
The greatest and the very wise will fall.

13. Sauron

The greatest and the very wise will fall;
My choice was made an Age and more ago --
So long, indeed, that I can scarce recall
The garden where we watched the Two Trees grow.
Some fought my Lord. I served his cause, and learned,
Till through my guile fair Númenor was drowned.
My power grows; the dark days have returned.
A new Age dawns -- for soon I shall be crowned.
But now he comes, some little upstart King
Presuming to do battle for my throne...
He thinks (the fool) that he can wield my Ring!
I’ll seize it and make Middle-Earth my own.
Elves, Dwarves and Men must answer to my call,
Drawn by this spell -- one Ring to rule them all.

14. Gollum

Drawn by this spell -- one Ring to rule them all --
My brother Déagol saw its golden gleam:
My ring. (It was my birthday, after all.)
...I left his body floating in the stream.
I soon found out it didn’t merely glisten;
What better gift than this new way to hide?
The rest were jealous I could lurk, and listen;
My grandma kicked me out. (Oh, well. I tried.)
Deep underground the secret tunnels run;
A mountain cave is all the home I wish.
No nasty light of Moon or scorching Sun --
Just me, and Precious. (And those tassssty fisssshh.)
The greatest fire is born from just one spark;
It all begins with me, lost in the dark.

15. Ring

It all begins with me, lost in the dark:
A little thing, so smooth and round and cold.
Draw near, and to the ancient stories hark:
Could this, then, be the Ruling Ring of old?
I hear Your voice, yet I cannot reply,
And yet I must endure this, come what may;
Through greed and terror, treachery and lie,
I know I’ll reach the light again someday.
Though mighty Men with sword and spear still fight
To keep fool’s hope alive and kingdoms free,
Yet soon, so soon, shall come the endless Night
When Darkness reigns from Mordor to the Sea.
The greatest and the very wise will fall,
Drawn by this spell -- one Ring to rule them all.

10:19 AM PT: Update: Apparently the webpage I linked to is not Batya the Toon's blog, but an old webpage (though I still highly recommend it for the amazing poetry and writing!) :)

This is Batya's actual blog: http://batyatoon.dreamwidth.org/

Thanks for the correction Batya! :)


Originally posted to Green Canticle on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers and Community Spotlight.

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