Three Sonnets for Frodo
Light Within These Hands
(based on Shakepeare's Sonnet V)
These hands that with gentleness did frame
Thy lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Now must play the tyrant to the very same,
To bear that Unfair, which in evil doth excel;
Lest never-resting time lead autumn on
To hideous winter, and confound us there;
Sap check'd with frost, and flourish'd leaves quite gone.
Beauty o'ersnow'd, and bareness everywhere:
Then, were not starlight's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass...
By beauty's effect, you were beauty bereft,
Not it, nor no remembrance what it was.
As a lily crushed, though it with winter meet,
Lifts up once more; thy substance still lives sweet.
I Am Seen
(based on Shakespeare's Sonnet VII)
Lo, in the East when the prideful light
Lifts up its burning head, as burning Eye
Seeking homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving darkness with his sacred majesty.
Thy having climb'd the steep-up ashen hill,
Resembling strong youth in thy middle age,
Tho' mortal looks ador'd his treasure still,
Attending on its gold and black triage;
But when from high crevasse, with weary care,
Like feeble age, thou reeleth from the fire,
The Eye, 'fore seeking West, now alerted tears
From its low tract, and looks another way:
So thou, thyself claiming and soon claim'd,
Would unlook'd on diest, but for another's pain.
(based on Shakespeare's Sonnet CXXIX)
My spirit expended in a waste of ash,
It strives 'gainst death; yet is ground to dust,
This treasure: murderous, bloody, with deadly past,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel , not to trust;
Fair to my hand, but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, - and prov'd, a very woe;
Before, a joy propose'd; behind, a dream:
All this my soul well knows; yet I cannot tell
How to shun this heaven that leads toward this hell.