The Rubaiyat of the Ring

Beruthiel, Daisy Gold, Frodosmiss, Gimli's Goat, Lothithil, Nin Maldor, Orangeblossom Took,  Primula, Simpetarwen, Tinidril
More LOTR Rubaiyat

Introductory post:

We've done various forms that are based on the French terminology and structure - how about a jump to another part of the world?

For June, and possibly July it being summer when things run a bit slower, I thought we might enjoy playing around with the rubai.

The rubai is a Persian form of verse, each stanza (section or 'verse' of the poetry) is a simple quatrain (that merely means it has 4 lines) in which lines 1, 2 and 4 all rhyme. It is very open, as there is no defining of length of line, or number of stanzas. The plural of rubai is rubaiyat.

One way to make it more interesting can be to form an interlocking rubaiyat, where the 'unrhymed' 3rd line then rhymes with lines 1,2 & 4 of the next stanza, much like the terza-rima that we did a short while ago.

The most famous use of the rubai is The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayamm, a lengthy poem on the meaning of life and pleasure of drink - this little excerpt being from Edward Fitzgerald's translation:

1 Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
2 Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
3 And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
4 The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

f we wanted to make this interlocking, the next stanza would have lines 1, 2 and 4 rhyming with caught.

Let's give it a try, shall we? Loose and easy, for summer.

The rubaiyat is a word quite strange,
Yet these fearless poets soon will range
Past the intimidating schoolbook terms
To watch their writing flow and change.

A silly rhyme to make is "germs";
A slimier and grosser one is "worms".
Yet I shall not shirk my duty...
No matter how much my stomach squirms!

Some find worms a thing of beauty-
And think those who don't to be snooty-
Still others prefer puttin' 'em on hooks-
And fryin' up the resulting booty!

Now Gollum, whose bug-eyed looks
Could scare the worms back to their nooks,
Was not averse to slurpin'em down
Without benifit of fires or cooks!

Let's cast our Gollum as a clown,
For eating worms of wriggling brown,
A strange old jester he would make,
Would he have us laugh or frown?

If a jester old Smeagol would make
How to tell which costume to take?
Both stinker and slinker he tended to be,
And humor was something he never could wake.

"A jester? No, no, we could never be...
We're not funny at all, precious, are we?
Poor Smeagol doesn't look good in tights
With his stick legs and two bony knees!"

You can't brush a Stinker off with jest light,
If we sleep, he'll slit our throats in the night.
No worms or fishes in the paths ahead,
Don't touch Frodo or I'll punch you out right.

"Mister. Frodo, lay down your weary head...
I'll keep watch, though my heart's filled with dread.
The dangers we face are quite daunting...
I wish I was back in the Shire, in my bed!"

Even poor Frodo's dream was daunting,
In it he saw a red eye taunting.
The goulish glow of a golden ring,
And the outstretched hands of a Gollum wanting.

To his task, Frodo Baggins did bring
Inner strength others found surprising.
The fate of all that was good in Middle Earth
Lay in the hands of this Shire halfling.

The simple goodness of a hobbit's mirth,
Or the pleasures that add to his ample girth,
Are quite beyond the grasp of the evil mind:
Darkness cannot understand humility's worth.

The Uruk-hais set out to find
The Ring of Power, the evil kind.
Not knowing Frodo held it near ,
Success was not for them divined.

Why do Hobbits go to lands that Men fear?
They want to keep free the home they hold dear.
With verdant green hills and sweet winding stream,
Death may be close but their goal is more near.

And Frodo remembers in his dream,
That land of laughter, cakes and cream
But a shadow now hangs over the hobbit land,
Things are not always as they seem

Down a shady lane, on either hand
the old silver birches proudly stand.
Here Frodo sensed a threat draw near.
An ancient evil stalked the band.

Upon the shady tranquil lane stood Fear;
And from his hooded shadow they could hear,
Like a monsterous hound ahunt elusive scent,
The sibilant sound of sniffing affect the ear.

The dark ringwraith sniffs with evil intent,
With piercing screms, the very air is rent.
Under a log, Hobbits hide with the treasure,
He can feel the ring and smell Hobbit scent.

With sudden desire, the ring's allure
Grasped Frodo's heart--to his discomfiture;
His hand began to reach toward its mark,
Until its True Master regained his composure.

To his friends Frodo made this remark.
"Our journey is turning quite dark.
Quick! We must flee to a town that is Bree.
At the Brandywine we will embark."

So out they ran from under the tree,
And no black horsemen could they see
As they entered the town, with the rain pelting down
Heading for the Prancing Ponee.

At Bree, a village of local renown,
The four were met with the gatekeeper's frown-
"What do you want and from where have you come?
I mean no offense, but there's queer folk around."

They looked up at this unshaven bum,
Who like a chestnut was shrivelled and glum;
"We're off to the Pony, and if you don't mind,
It's no business of yours where we are from."

They passed through the gate with Harry behind,
Pressed toward the Inn, Prancing-Pony-signed;
A welcoming light streamed from the open door
Where a crowd of dreary patrons noisily dined

As the hobbits sat drinking pints galore,
They noticed a dark stranger across the floor,
'Strider', said Butterbeer with a look of distrust
And Strider he'd be called by hobbits evermore.

Distrust this Man they thought they must,
Until Gandalf's letter showed they could trust.
The verse Bilbo wrote about glitt'ring gold,
Sent them with a Ranger, Rivendell or Bust!

Gandalf and Strider shared a friendship old-
The ranger's role was not initially told.
Not til much later would they come to know
How they would look to him to lead their fold.

A beast of burden was needed, although
The only creature offered was a thing of woe.
Scrawny and ill-kempt, they named him Bill,
And gave his ruffian owner a good throw!

Merry and Pippin, Sam and Bill,
Strider and Mr. Underhill,
Through the marsh they ploughed without stop,
The land itself was eerie still.

Those tiny feet all weathered soul and top
Stood one stride from the ancient drop
The creeping shadows clothing every rock
The screech the night to en-vel-op

Though the fire was hot and tales they talked,
It did not hold back the wraithish flock -
They descended and poked poor Frodo's shoulder
Then withdrew as the travellers ran, not walked!

Chasing Hobbits, the Wraith's ire did smolder,
Just like the poison in Frodo's shoulder.
A white horse and rider, glowing with light
Made the company's hopes grow much bolder.

Arwen understood poor Frodo's plight-
Without her father's help, he'd ne'er last the night.
Frodo was slipping into shadows dark,
To Rivendell, she and Frodo took flight.

'Noro lim! Noro lim!' came the remark
To Frodo's mount, the Elven hallmark
Of nobility and equine grace,
And with power did Asfaloth hark!

But soon to come was a deadly chase,
With so much at risk, they all ran apace
For freedom, and all that was good
Alas! It was so much more than a race!

Woke up in Rivendell in peaceful mood,
Gandalf beside, did all he could
To meet with the hobbits,but for Saruman's plan
To the Dark Lord's side he has been wooed

To the Council came elf, dwarf and man.
Then bickering and shouting began.
In a small voice they heard Frodo say."
I will take it to Mordor… if I can"

"I'll take the ring, but I don't know the way."
"I shall go with you," answered Galdalf the Grey.
So, too, said the two men, the dwarf, the elf-
Boromir said, "In your hands does our fate lay."

Thus their way they travelled with stealth,
To dispose of the Dark Lord's terrible wealth,
Onward they went to Hollin's ancient trees,
And there they brief rested upon a rocky shelf.

As they rested, the fellowhip sees
A small dark cloud on the horizon tease
The eyes of those who watched, as if to fly
Swift as a bird, but against the breeze!

Against the backdrop of winter's sky,
Their enemy sought with crebain to spy.
"Get down!" cried Gandalf and they hid,
In vain! Now to Caradhras they must hie.

The hero's passing did Redhorn forbid
With freezing wind, and as they slid
In deepening snow, fell voices they heard
'Til as last they gave up their ascending bid.

Far under the mountain the dwarves had dared,
But delved too deep and a monster bared,
Now Gandalf thought of Moria with fear,
Forboding of Doom in him flared.

By forgotten path, door opened by seer,
They sought to enter black Moria's bier
Though a watery Watcher upon Frodo laid hold,
And the doors thrown down - no exit lay near.

Through Moira's darkest caverns they strolled,
Amazed by the wondrous sights that unfold.
Great was the craftmanship, greed and loss
Wrought by those delving dwarfs of old

As they travelled on, the crew came across
Balin's Tomb, where quiet turned to chaos-
There, they fought with orcs and slew a cave troll
"Fly to Khazad-Dum...there's a bridge to cross!"

They ran with haste to find their goal
Barred by a acreature of burning coal.
Gandalf faced the Balrog in a fearsome duel,
Then across the bridge eight companions stole.

Dwarven need for gold and jewel,
Had unearthed a foe so cruel.
Gandalf fell in Khazad-dum,
Their loss came seeping gradual.

Survivors emered from a cavernous gloom
Into bitter brightness, with grief to consume
Even the most stalwart of heart:
Poor hobbits were crushed 'neath sorrow's doom

Each thought he knew his fitting part
Or so it had seemed, at the start
But grief would have to sigh and wait
First strength and doubt in eyes would dart

They'll swarm these hills, the orcs that hate,
Haste now to Lorien lest it be too late!
Now following Aragorn, they staggered and ran,
Barely reaching gold woods for safety's sake.

Haldir of the realm first sought to ban
The ringbearer from reaching the elven clan;
Aragorn encouraged a change of heart
And their journey into the woods began.

Long years ago, Elessar pledged his heart,
On Cerin Amroth his future did start,
As the Fellowship rested on the Elven hill,
He thought of the long years they had spent apart.

Under Galadriel's gaze they were still,
Enduring the testing of their mettle and will.
Few could refrain from glancing away,
But only one heart spurned her skill.

The Fellowship, she feared, had gone astray-
The loss of the wizard on them did weigh.
There was still hope, if company stood true-
Bound to their task, their sorrow held at bay.

Endowed with gifts, down river they flew
Though Gollum yet followed, this they knew.
Passing the Argonath, realm of Gondor's bounds,
They reached Parth Galen, as was their due.

Putting up camp on an old statue mound,
Frodo struggled with growing thoughts he found,
Considering strength in numbers or going alone
His suspicions going 'round and 'round.

But evil chewed his every bone
Alas, true steward of the throne
When seizing strength was not enough
He pleaded weakly.... for a loan?

While he meditated, a voice of baritone
Startled him with greeting, in seeming kindly tone,
"None of us should wander, least of all you,"
And Boromir was smiling, but his eyes were cold as stone.

And right away, Frodo knew,
That the power of the ring had o'erthrew
Boromir's reason- he could not resist,
He must go on alone, see his task through.

Should he delay for blessing kissed
Those friends, too dear, would just insist
And anyway, the ring had come to him
Who knows whose thoughts it didn't twist

He slipped on the Ring, for Boromir grim
Was overwrought and harsh - overland he skimmed
Til he reached the boats, on the water's shore,
And tried to start across though his sight be dim.

Sam divined his plan, though at his heart it tore
To think of Frodo leaving; his love could not ignore
That he had made a promise he could not break:
"Don't you leave him, Samwise, it's what you're here for!"

Though he could not swim, Sam walked into the lake,
Fulfilling the promise he would not forsake.
As he took his last breath, Frodo pulled him out;
The two rowed away, left their friends in their wake.

Thus fellowship was broken: braveheart and stout,
Each must find his path; Then came the shout
And blast upon the horn of Boromir the Tall,
In desperation, calling aid from the land throughout.

Aragorn was the first to heed Boromir's call,
Found his comrade near death, having given his all.
Boromir proclaimed Aragorn as brother and king,
As Aragorn vowed not to let their white city fall.

Forever lost his joking sting
And nevermore his shielding swing
Cradled in the waters cold
Each homeward wave, elf pardons bring

Now at last his way is clearly told:
He must save the Little Ones; so Aragorn the bold,
Gimli and Legolas strike off for the chase,
Sure trail for the Three Hunters to unfold.

Legends tell of this terrible race,
Hunter's running at predator's pace,
Through wilderland brown to Rohan's plain,
Lorien leaf proved they'd been in this place

Though light were steps of strangers vain
They flamed the ire of banished Thane
Glancing down,his patience short
Proud flaring nostrils,shaking mane

Three Hunters sprang from their grassy fort,
Thus the Rider demanded to know what sort
Of trio they be, and hearing the tale,
"Wingfoot I name you," he said with a snort.

"Do not look for hope," he said, with face pale.
The king's mind is overthrown and Orcs assail,
Hope has long since deserted Rohan's lands.
Take these horses to speed you on your trail.

Enemies running freely over Horselord lands,
The fate of the country in Saruman's hands.
The hunters, they began to despair,
The hobbits could not have survived the orc bands.

Fifteen spears stood by a mound so bare
And close to eaves of grim forest there
Were all the signs of a mighty fight
But no trace of hobbit cousins fair.

And whence were the missing halflings slight?
They'd escaped from tormentors in dark of night,
Slipping into the trees of Fangorn wood,
They'd met with a shepherd who'd set things right.

You'd think a tree grew moss and stood
But brewing verse and song so good
They shared with everybody Hoom
Laughed at the time and understood

Back at the field where trampled bloom
Left puzzling clues for friends to groom,
Three Hunters wondered at sundered rope,
And blanched at the entrance to wooded room.

Meanwhile in the forest, two hobbits grope
Trying to find a way to safety and hope.
In the cool, clear Entwash they dangled their toes,
Then climbed to a bright clearing, up a stony slope.

And while they dreamt of sweet repose
A face of moss and bark arose
Those eyes so deep but flecked with green
Seemed soul for moments to expose

"We are no orcs - you understand what we mean?"
And they related to the Ent what they had seen.
A conclave of Ents gathered up for a moot,
To decide what it takes to make Isengard clean.

To the Hunters it seemed there was evil afoot,
Saw in the forest a wizard of white suit,
Gimli drew his axe, Aragorn sword,
Legolas his bow, but no chance to shoot.

Blinded by light, with doubt they warred,
Then were joyed as he turned his face towards,
Reunited with one they thought they'd lost,
Thus were sent, seeking aid of Rohan's Lord.

For lack of time through torments glossed
While friends admired his robes embossed
Like new forged steel he stood divine
And whistle shrill would have him hoss'd

As the Hunters Three stemmed Meduseld's decline,
The Hobbits Twain gathered Ents to entwine
Their substantial strength against evil's might,
And run afoul of Saruman's design.

Midst the Golden Hall's men they set to right
A trecherous decay, and set to flight
The one who caused it, Saruman's tool -
Thus freeing all Rohan to stand and fight.

Now on the rocky slopes of the Emyn Muil,
Sam and Frodo meet old Gollum, cruel
Slave of the ring, and relentless hound,
Whose mind was fractured by evil rule.

Gollum crept up on them without a sound,
Attacked them, but was wrestled to the ground.
The pity of Bilbo stayed Frodo's hand;
This hobbit, this creature to each other were bound.

As about Helm's Deep an orc army fanned,
Like maggots, bringing ruin, pillaging land.
The men they were few, the weapons poor,
But beside Theoden king they'd take a stand.

They braced the gates, they barred the door,
They fought through night as black as Moor,
So many fell despair was high,
But Hope approached them, white and pure.

Gandalf, with Rohan's banished horsemen, drew nigh;
Voices, once doomed, now raised in victorious cry.
Yet, this triumph did not mark the end of the war;
"Revenge will be swift", said Gandalf with a sigh.

Lest we forgot the leafy lore
Director'd play a tree, he swore
So shake a branch or two he said
The scene requires more gloom and gore

Merry and Pippin with Treebeard led
Hourns and ents, pitched warfare dread
Into the valley of gated Isengard;
Now all but the tower lay ashread.

Words honeyed,like a crebain feather tarred
Sailed down on waiting faces hard
A spell rang out and snapped the evil rod
A hasty worm from master's heart was barred

Back in wasted lands, how two hobbits plod,
With Gollum leading, they must guard each nod.
Out of the rocks to the marshes dead,
He leads them where even orcs shan't trod.

Through misty mere they wearily tread,
An evil place where life was shed
The corpses, in the noisome pools
Entice the traveller to a watery bed.

And so for sickly Gollum drools.
Of stench and lights and tricksy ghouls.
Sure, lesser hearts would sink in mud
while cringing from the Dark Lord's tools.

As Ents administer a cleansing flood
And watch o're the Wizard, his plans to scud,
Sam and Master, with Gollum in tow,
Ascend to see the Black Gate thud.

At the top of the hill, they saw Mount Doom aglow;
Frodo watched Saruman's pawns marching to and fro.
He knew evil's doom lay far beyond that dark gate-
'This is my task, I do not ask you to go.'

Turned away from their goal, they must seek to sate
The quest of the bearer, the Ring to abate.
Thus a new path is chosen to a stairway most vile,
Though they paused by a garden, to coney a plate.

"What's it doing, Precious?" asked Gollum with guile;
"Stewing the coneys," replied Sam, and as trial
Asked Slinker to find some 'taters and spice.
"Ach! Nasty red-tongues can be seen for a mile!"

"And what are 'taters, eh? Are they nice?"
"PO-TA-TOES!" Sam said, "And thrice
Shall pay for all," his anger abated,
"But bay-leaf, sage or thyme will suffice."

"Phew! No smelly leaves!" exclaimed Gollum, who hated
All things wholesome or undesecrated.
A strange whistle interrupted the meal,
They would have to wait to have hunger sated.

Only pure thoughts in this scholar's mind steal
In kind deeds and rainbows,his sorrows would heal
News of a brother, a wizard, a bane....
But wait Sam has spotted an olive ant real !!!

Faramir looked at these odd hobbits twain,
And under his grip how the questions rained!
Taking them into secret Henneth Anun,
Confirming brother's passing, much to his pain.

A pause to watch the setting moon
A fishy grin on our small loon.
A master false...Oh precious, yes...
A name of stair to follow soon

As a parting gift does Faramir bless
Frodo's quest with wisdom and a cache of largesse:
Fresh food and walking staves of a fair tree;
They depart under blindfold, to Gollum's distress.

But roads and boughs branched by the three
And though the sun shone fitfully
It marked with petalled crown a trace
Of what their souls knew there should be

To the dark Morgul Vale, a most dreaded place
Where poison and fumes did e'en blooms abase,
Near the bridge Frodo nearly fell to a call,
But was pulled aside to a black staircase.

'Hobbits have to climb' and crawl
Not wishing to be there at all
With tired, thirsty, grey,old sneak
And heading for a winding shawl.

Up, up, up, the two must press
Their duplicitous guide gives them no rest
Limbs as leaden as their hearts
They climb on toward their greatest test

Dissembling glint in the gloom departs
Replaced by reek of arachnoid farts
Two friends are trapped in a fear intense
By looming threads of poisoned arts

Pippin was never good with maps and charts,
Else he would have known the country and parts
By which they flew at incredible pace;
Upon Shadowfax, he with Gandalf departs.

With shame, he could still feel the trace
Of terror he endured: held by the "face"
Of the Lidless Eye in palantir's sphere;
A horrible memory he could not erase.

Entering tunnel which all things fear,
Frodo could feel evil near,
Shelob's eyes of gleaming night,
Brooding silence the hobbits hear.

Poor Pippin availed to not take a fright
As Gandalf arrived among Men of might,
They knew not the halflings (never had seen),
Yet both Wizard and Took were aid to their plight.

Two old men and Pippin in between
Two hobbits are for service keen
To change the fate of traiters bold?
Too feared the paths of specters lean.

Behold,bright hooves that hurry and take flight
Behind them shadows, marching in formations tight
To turn the Seven Circles into hell, they strike
First victim, Steward's mind, despite the height.

Before false phantoms, foes took fright and died
Alone for Corsair hearts the seagulls cried
While Denethor prepared his wood within
Why hesitates White Warrior outside?

Vast and fell, the host that stood before
Grond the ram, that opened any door!
But dawn's small bird would crow and stay
Till Gondor stood alone, no more.

Now niece of kings,forgetting all desires
To last abyss the souless shade retires
Brave king like leaf has fallen from the bough
Sleeps now, yet maiden by his side suspires.

I'reth chants rhymes of herb and rose
But king of Seven Stars his healing knows.
Bruised hearts and leaves are mingled in the vine
Fresh scent of athelas from bowl he blows.

Before the Gate, grey-faced stood Elessar divine
From Sauron's muzzle came a slavered whine.
And yet again the cries of battle fierce arose
The groaning earth beneath t'incarnadine.

On brink of fire he crouched,unhinged and deadly spring
He knew no hand that could repent and fling
A taste of blood and he was on his way.
There stooped the eagles on the wing.

Whether in the Shire or Lorien
A bitter song was still to run
Sad sap of parties oozing drop by drop
Their childlike eyes were opened one by one.

Each Morn new flowers bloom,you say.
Yes, Arwen wedded yesterday
Our shy old Sam sighs at his Rose
Sad Frodo's heart beats far away...