Folk ask me,
they ask me
if I remember her.
Not much more than a faunt,
yet still I remember.
Working up Hill,
Da and I
and all the roses
full-hipped and lazy-lopped
in the last of autumn's heat.
I remember thinking how pretty May looked,
hair flying unbound about her heated face.
And she pulled Da aside and I could see then
that she were crying.
Da was n'er one to forget a thing,
but he forgot somewhat that day:
he left me there -
there within the heavy heat
and the late drone of the bees.
I were so very little.
I did not think what it all might mean,
I did not think to run down-Hill.
The young Master found me,
(and never have I told him, and never shall, how the sight and smell of
dying in the sun, still makes me cry)
he found me, and May's hair-ribbon, fallen and held tight in my hand.
he almost smiled,
that odd, half-smile he has,
as though he knows a joke that no-one else could unlock the sense
until he saw the bit of ribbon.....
He didn't come inside,
the young Master,
took me up and ran from the crown to the chin of the Hill.
I remember I could feel his heart beating like bird's wings, fast and
as he set me to my feet.
And it weren't too late,
it weren't too soon,
And mum held me,
said my name,
and then she was quiet.
And Da was taking me up,
pulling me from her arms,
and mumma was still looking
and her eyes were green, like mine.
Daisy closed them with a kiss.
Marigold cried then,
but she were just a faunt,
kept close in her woven-basket by the bed.
She weren't crying for aught that she knew.
Not like us.
I could not get the sense of it all:
how it was
between one breath and the next,
she was gone.
I remember how busy they were about her,
Daisy arranging her hair just so,
May washing her feet with tender care...
he held her hand as though the world entire had fallen away...
the young Master still waiting outside
when I opened the door.
Without a word,
he lifted me
took me back up-Hill.
And all he knew, I think....
he knew to offer as comfort
were that which he knew as comfort
And so it was we walked far into the night
until the Row was almost a memory below us,
candles winking like fallen stars in night-hooded windows....
and he told me stories the like I'd never heard before:
stories great and small,
nonsensical and serious
stories of Elves and Light
of Trees and Stars
and the lands under-Sea.
his voice thinned,
dawn was coming up, all rose and gold.
And all the things which might have seemed,
in the cloak of night,
to be a dream
And I cried for knowing that they were real.
he cried, too.
Folk ask me
if I remember.
AN: In writing this
piece, I am pre-supposing that Frodo arrived in the Shire before the
death of Bell Gamgee. Whereas we do not know the exact year
of Bell’s death, we do know that her last child (Marigold) was
born in 2983. Six years later, Frodo was adopted by Bilbo,
and came to live at Bag End. Samwise is but nine years
old. Bell is not mentioned again, but it is almost certain
that she died before Frodo and Sam left upon the Quest, and likely even
before Frodo’s coming-of-age in 3001. (Surely Samwise, by then a
tween-ager, would have made mention of such an important event in his
life). To my mind, then, Bell died somewhere between 2989 and
3001, with this account falling closer to the former date.