Legolas' Lament

- Rosie Cotton

It always struck me how the elves can be both so pure and wise on the one hand and fierce and deadly in battle on the other. I wondered if this ambiguity might have affected Legolas, too – that’s how this poem came into being.

Once I’ve wandered
through greenleaved Mirkwood
blithe and innocent
as a morning in spring.
My eyes beheld beauty
in all the things around me.
I knew nothing
of evil and danger then -
those were words
out of ancient songs.

Beyond men’s memory
these days have passed.
My eyes have seen
darkness and shadow since,
my fingers bent
the bowstring
far too many times -
my arrows
never go astray.
Death and destruction
have become too familiar.

Too many tears
have I seen falling
from my companions’ eyes
mourning the loss
of beloved friends.
I’m supposed to be
unless I’m slain.
But something
within my heart
has already