Traveler's Anniversary

- jan-u-wine
The turning of the years

Samwise (March 25, 1419)
 
 
for long days have I wondered
 
what hope
 
might
look like
 
when it has died.
 
And now,
 
in this chamber,
at last,
 
I know.
 
you:  invisible.


 
Meriadoc (March 25, 1432)*

(no great deeds are appointed me,
these days.

Master of Buckland, yes.

But
the greater part of me

the better part of me
has a care for words:

the telling and keeping
of the small moments of our lives.

It is my way
of remembering him, you see …..)
 

 
Pip wept when he told me,
 
wept,
and held to me
 
as if the holding itself
meant redemption.
 
And I wondered at all
the long years
 
he had kept this great hurt
inside,
 
and how his sunlit voice
dimmed with the sorrow of it,
 
loss and lenition
narrowing all those wide and free spaces
within
 
(all the carefree sweet soaring of the hawk for which he was named)
 
until at last his heart fell joy-less and silent.
 
He was very brave, you know,
my little cousin,
 
very brave
to stand so solitary
before that dread gate
 
And when he knew,
by bright-silver surety,
that hope was lost,

that time itself might come to the end of its thread
and not tell by so much as half the  reckoning of a deathless torment…

Oh, Pip

There are those things
{those persons}
for which
in the breaking ,

is the making.

And this:

This
 was his breaking.

This, his making. 

And I hold the fragile strength of him,
his breath running out with his tale,
 
tears
falling like the grey rain
which choose to accompany him this day.

I think on all that we gained,
soldiers in the great war.

It is as naught to what is lost.  
__________
*Merry became Master of Buckland in 1432.  He established a library there, and wrote several books himself, notably (and predictably) his treatise on pipeweed, Herblore of the Shire.
____________________________________

Frodo (March 25, 1483)** 
 
Of course, I do not hear the steady,

long-limbed
tread

that speaks to the stride
of men (and Maia).
 
I do not hear him for the night of fragmented storm
that cloaks the hill,
 
cat-clawed rain,
sudden moon
sliding between ragged clouds....
 
(and the Sea, lying so far below,
foaming dark and dangerous
upon silver'd stone}
 
And when at last I do hear him,
curses in some long-forgotten tongue
following
 
a step missed upon the muddied path of the hill.....
 
my heart stills in its remembering,
(for in days not long past, there should have been four feet, not two, swift music sounding upon the curving road)
 
my mind turns to a cairn hidden in
a spring-grassed dell.
 
The White Rider and his quick-silver steed,
parted forever
 
by the turning of the mortal world.
 
We do not speak of this parting,
nor all the grievous ones
 
gone before.
 
(Sorrow,
like time,
 
is different here,
 
in manner akin to a snow-storm within the golden eye of summer:
 
memorable not for that which is left behind.
 
No.

Changed, somehow,
to sweet-bitter worth for all its rarity).
 
We do not speak,
 
but share a pipe,
and the autumn-sharp ale
 
(pale as honey, sweet as crystal moonlight)
that still may not replace the rough-turned
welcome of Gaffer's upon my tongue.
 
He reminds me of the day.
 
And I see myself,
as I was then
 
and
 
wonder
how it was I escaped,
 
how it is I should be here,
 
healed and whole,
seeing
 
and touching and
 
living
those moments
 
as if they were quite separate from me.
 
Even so,
there are tears upon my face for the remembering
 
and I feel
 
small

for all the largeness which has surrounded my
simple life.
 
I wander a bit, feet touching (in memory)
 
the dark-earthed paths of the Shire,
the plain-folk speech

falling
upon my ear like spring rain,
the scent of apple-wood  burning in my study's grate....
 
I wander
and
 
return
to his amusedly insistent voice.
 
What
is he saying,
 
voice caught
betwixt joy
 
and tears?
 
 
My thoughts,
stuttering and stumbling
upon the suddenly uneven
track of my mind,
 
settle upon his quiet pronouncement:
 
A ship of white,
 
swan-prow'd,
lies anchored at the harbour mouth,
 
sails furled and quiet,
awaiting the departure of the storm.
 
This,
 
this,
 
beyond all hope,
beyond all sorrow….
 
I struggle to account for the years slipped by
and know for a certainty
 
the sad coin which pays the cost of our  reunion.
           
And I think,
 
again,
on which day it is,
 
and how,
all that long age ago,
 
we thought to die upon the riven mountain
and
 
woke,
instead,
 
to Spring-time and glad sun
and life, renewed.
 
I cannot help but smile
 
I cannot help but weep.
 
Yes, Sam.
 
Everything sad
is going to come
untrue.
 
_________________________________
** Rose Gamgee died on Mid-summer's Day 1482.  On September 22 of that year, Samwise departed the Shire, coming to the Tower Hills, where his daughter Elanor (the Fair) lived.  We do not know how long Sam might have stayed with Elanor before departing over the Sea, so it is possible that he might have, indeed, come to the far green country on March 25th of 1483.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peregrin (March 25, 1484)***

{A messenger has come today from Buckland:
Master Holdwine is wanted by the Lord of Rohan.

Well do I recall when last we rode so far together.
Great journeys, it seems, oft find greater sadness at their end.

My hand finds parchment and quill to reply.
The last of the Travellers shall travel together again.}

All these long years have I kept it,
though never did I know why

and now pale westerning sun lights it,
wavering shadow-fingers advancing upon my desk.

My hand finds sharp points,
disturbs the gentle flow of the light,
holds its rough delicacy to my ear.

And I see waves running against stone cliffs,
a narrow harbour lit by rose-grey stripes of twilight,

a ship passing beyond the Circle of the World.

And I smell the sharpness of the Sea,
feel the cold insistence of wind-driven fingers
beneath my cloak,

hear the music of Her
roaring

and
whispering
along the quay.

I feel a sudden longing for Her,
for all the dark and light
and secret and

known
places

which live beneath the blue-green crest of wave.

I suppose it is in my blood,
this desire,

fierce and indefensible,
for that which I have seen but once in my life.

I smile.

The shell will remain here, for remembrance.

Only I shall depart.

I seal my writing in red wax, place my signet to the hardening warmth of it, look about my ordered study.

I am ready.  
 


    ***in the year 1484, Merry and Pippin gave up their respective offices, and journeyed to Rohan at King Eomer’s bidding.  After his death in the autumn of that year, they retired to Gondor, where they died.  In 1541, after the Passing of Elessar, it is said that they were finally laid to rest beside the bed of the king.