The hours seem as days now,
until all I see
(when I see aught but gold-circled fire)
is my own blood painting the path
all I hear, the voice of my heart,
by twisted, soft whisperings.
There is nothing else.
Just sight and sound,
as the World
to a place
where nothing dwells save starless night.
the image of fear
that somehow obscures true sight
does not suffice,
there is reminder of the diminishing of our hope
before my eyes:
a once fair and mighty king, carved hands
with stern beauty upon unbroken knees….
and the singular visage of the Lord of this be-nighted
like the bloodied neb of a carrion bird,
upon the proud curve of his neck.
The Sun sifts in grey-fogged, ragged shadows
upon the ground,
the broken silence of the ancient King's head,
where it lies, dishonoured,
by all save the errant wind.
that even now steals forth
from the West,
worrying the veil of the Sun).
As if in answer to its call,
spilling in ribbons across the Road's harsh back.
I look upon the face of the King.
Never will I know who he might have been:
long years have sheared his name from
clouded with evil his Song.
Yet bound upon his brow,
twining there like Hope itself,
a living crown.
Silver-white star-flowers, coiled about with true-gold.
It has been long since the Fair Speech has
played its music within my mind,
yet words like quick-silver notes run through me,
speaking of days distant and sweet with peace.
I touch with wonder the broken,
And turn away.
as I must,
to the East,
my feet finding
the ever-darkening path.
I feel him behind me,
the old king,
feel the thread of living hope
that binds me to this Road,
stretch between us like a promise.
Behind the wrack of anger-ravaged clouds,
a star shines,
its constant beauty unassailable,
a pledge against
I raise my head
in stubborn defiance.
They will not……
Note: last verse taken directly from ROTK (Journey to the Cross-roads). It is interesting to me to note that, instead of writing "forever", Tolkien wrote "for ever", which has quite a different nuance to it.