That Which They Call Mallë Téra

- jan-u-wine

Ne'er in this life
have I given
much thought
to the meanings that lie
between the silvery voicings
of words. 
 
But now,
 
ah,
 
now.....
 
Now
 
time lies heavy upon me,
 
all the small moments
touching,
one to the other....
 
all
 
whispering,
 
like voices
close-held behind
the door of night.
 
A door which still
I may not pass.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
There is a chill
to the study
today.
 
It didn't used to be
me as let the
fire burn low.
 
Somehow,
 
I seem not able to care
for the heat
 
nor the cold
 
nor whether the grass
be green
 
or the fields gold.
 
Somehow,
 
I care only for the
soft blossoms
of words
 
that twine about
my aged fingers,
 
fall like
long-forgotten song
from my lips. 
 
It is not so easy
 
for a Gardener
to understand
blossoms
which are not
of this earth.
 
It is not so easy
to find that which
they call
the Straight Road.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It seems I've read the day away.
 
Scrolls signeted with ancient dust
lie upon the floor,
 
bent-spined volumes
yellow-paged,
spidered
with half-ledged script,
recline upon the desk.    
 
 
Deep night 

pulls

at the thread of the candle's flame.
 
Ah, Elbereth,
 
I tire
of this journey.
 
I cannot get my head about this.
 
I wish...........
 
I wish
 
you
 
were here to read me
these strange words....
 
You
 
could always
rightly find
the meaning of things.
 
Even things
hidden.
 
No matter.
 
My finger stops
at the words
 
which have no meaning
within the Circle
of this World.
 
They are more like
a Song made in
the Beginning Time:
 
Mallë:
road...
 
Téra......
straight.
 
The Straight Road.
 
That is the path
you have taken.....
 
that is the path
I
 
shall follow.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
My mind
stumbles
over darkened
memory,
 
retreats to a day
faded
by long years.
 
I see the muted line
of the ship.....
 
Sails,
 
white as any snow,
filling and sighing
beneath the wind's heel.
 
Here, in the Haven
of Lindon
 
the ancient shipwright
touches his hand
to the silent bow...
 
Almost, it seems,
she quickens
beneath his touch...
 
almost, it seems,
her proud head
rises
from the blue
embrace
of the Sea. 
 
The Sun's brow
rests
upon the breast
of the Great Water
when you,
at last,
sail. 
 
Soft grey fog,
pearl'd orange
and pink
in the last light,
wisps
and gives way
before the slender
bow.
 
I well remember,
even now,
how
I watched
her ride out,
 
grand
and
lonely,
 
and so
seeming
small.
 
Swift and light
and

proud,
she passed 
the green-gold
hills
that guard
the gates
of the Sea.
 
And the Song
that drove
her
played out,
vanishing
within  the distance
between us,
 
and

stopped,
 
taken, at last,
by the wind
 
and a Road
which does not lie
in blue-green wave.
 
She was lost to me.
 
You
were lost
to me.
 
It was true-dark, then.
 
Like the lamp of a solitary
fire-fly,
 
netted Light called my eye:
 
 
Earendil
sails
upon the Sea
of the night.
 
I smile into the darkness:
 
you
would be pleased
that you
and he
share
this journey.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
The silver-white of the Last Ship
has long left my sight.
 
Shadow
fills the quay,
a fretting breeze
pulls the comfort
of my cloak from me.
 
My eyes,
tired with tears,
 
search the emptied
horizon,
its soft curve
bowed
like an embracing arm.
 
Nothing stays within it
save weary moon-shadows
and
(were I there to hear them)
the music of the waves.
 
I should
go
Home
now,
 
yet

something
holds me,
 
something
in the scattered Light
of the sky
draws me.....
 
There.
 
Above the familiar line
of horizon,
sudden Light...
 
a Light I have known...
 
a Light
I have held in my own hand.
 
It shines there,
 
caught
with the rest of the stars,
 
shimmering,
 
joyous
 
beside the solemn fire
of Earendil....
 
Somehow,

as if sound
were leached
from the very light
of the stars, 
 
I hear your voice,
bidding me fare-well.
 
And the Light
catches
 
and plays
 
upon the great
veil of Sky......
 
catches.......
 
and
 
fades

to naught.
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
It is yet night
when I remake
the fire
within the grate.
 
Little shadows
run
the length of the floor.
 
The last drops of tea
within the cup are cold
and bitter.
 
Almost, I imagine,
like the blood of the Sea.
 
I close my eyes.
 
Behind them,
a ship of silver
waits,
 
wind filling star-jeweled
sails,
 
bow seeking
the Uttermost West.
 
The Road.
 
It calls me.
 
This time,
 
it is
that which they call

Mallë Téra.
 

**From the Letters of JRR Tolkien:  "the immortals who were allowed to leave Middle-earth…..set sail in ships specially made and hallowed for this voyage.  They only set out after sundown; but if any keen-eyed observer from that shore had watched one of these ships he might have seen that it never became hull-down but dwindled only by distance until it vanished in the twilight:  it followed the straight road to the true West and not the bent road of the earth's surface.  The Elves who took this road and those few 'mortals' who by special grace went with them, had abandoned the 'History of the World' and could play no further part in it."