The Decision

Legolas contemplates Gimli's mortality

The Decision

His head lolls upon his pack
His jaw gone slack with sleep
Of our converse he has lost the track
His breathing’s soft and deep

So too the lines upon his face
Graven by strife and joy and sorrow
A life of earnest toil and grace
With the slightest time left him to borrow

It was he who most insistent urged
This outing beneath stone and bough
That we might together attempt to purge
The grief none others are left to know

When did his beard turn to aged iron?
When did his brisk step flag?
I stoke the heat from our dying fire
And fetch the blanket from out our bag

He knows the yearning of my heart
Grown keen from our bereavement
He resists the moment when we must part
Though ne’er permits that we should speak of it.

The woolen blanket beneath his chin
Recalls one silken and gold to my eyes
But this a shroud to wrap a friend
For every mortal dies

Flame’s endless greed a new branch devours
I settle in to guard his rest
The night expires by star-marked hours
I know I cannot pass this test

The gulls are ever more in my ears
To all but the sea am I blind
I cannot mourn when spent are my tears
And I shall not leave him behind.