Sestinas by Primula

A Sestina for Faramir

Though youthful for a Captain, in spite of your age
You knew how to bring out the fighters of quality
Gathered them around, you governed beast and men;
No doubts to touch their hearts, no fear however small
That you would ever lead them astray, no question
Ever shadowing their hearts to wonder at your honor.

You were ever eager to bring your father great honor
Though he withheld his pleasure, even in old age.
He sent, and you obeyed him without any question,
Seeking for his nod, his approval of the quality
Of defense you commanded, however small;
If he would only commend you before men.

Well versed in knowledge and study unlike other men
Attentive, you gave the elderly Pilgrim great honor
As his wise tales and instruction brought no small
Glory to the past. You knew the echoes of  Numenor's age
And also the ways of the hearts of men, the quality
Of their achievements.  He always welcomed your question.

But now before you stood a puzzling, desperate question
Embodied in three strangers, two now before your men.
Of their lineage you were unsure but they had a quality
About them that you recognized as honorable to honor.
The world yet held many secrets especially in this Age
And you knew one now stood before you, however small.

To your own shelter, though hospitality lay small,
You brought them to rest, and offered many a question;
Found the secret they carried would end an Age.
Truth-speakers, you say, you and also your men:
No lies would stand under your gaze. With honor
You were able to show your very best quality.

Their gangling companion was questionable in quality
But thier determination was greater than stature small
Would cause you to expect. With the greatest honor
You let them go, giving them provisions without question.
You knew the battle would not be won by might of men
But only by their stealth could there be any hope for this Age.

Stature is no measure for honor, nor lineage for quality.
At the end of your own Age, when hope seemed so small
And out of the question, truth could still be found in some men.

The Red Book: A Sestina

Within your ancient, leatherbound covers
Lies a story of a life with a tale for forever.
The written words whisper at the turning
As the heavy parchment is leafed through, read
With understanding or without, the stories
Of adventures, of living and dying within your pages.

Carefully prepared leaves, the finest quality pages
Were chosen with care to speak between the covers.
With every eye who follows your remembered stories,
Other minds will feel anew your painful saga forever.
Your story will not be forgotten as long as it is read,
Nor will the sacrifices of lives fade in the turning.

The autumn leaves of every season turning
Would seem a fitting tribute to the dry, old pages
But instead it seems to remain evergreen, ever-read
With the heartbeats and longing fears between covers
Captured, in spidery and flowing handwriting forever
Replaying something worth telling, a story of stories.

The Red Book you are called, a collection of stories
Gathered not only from desires and dreams, but a turning
Of the experiences of days and nights, forever
Captured in the confines of  red leather-bound pages,
Into a river that pulls the reader along and covers
Their imagination, sweet and poignant to read.

The readers of your fine lettering will only wish to read
Again your tale, will dream of being a part of your stories,
Even though they know the authors are gone. Your covers
Hold all that is left of them and their days, the turning
Of the Ages is merciless, and Time's own pages
Will be turned by the hand of the sun and moon forever.

Still, the readers will dream. They will forever
Feel that longing to know more, to live what they read,
To breathe the air of the places written of in your pages
And to hold close the people written of in your stories.
There is a life that is remembered in the turning
Of the pages, and in the opening of the ancient leather covers.

The tale among the pages, a tale for all people forever;
The well-worn soft leather covers, showing it often read:
Thirsting for the truth in the stories, to history they are turning.

- Primula