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Elessar's Lament
by Donald Guy

My Arwen lies over Belegaer1
Beyond the Straight Road, lies my Evenstar
Across the Endless Sea, in Aman she lies
She wouldn't stay here just to love, but to die

I remember her here, here in Endor
When the beacons of Gondor burned bright.
I remember her here, once beside me
In the days before the long night

In Imladris fair, as Estel I was raised
In ignorance there, I spent by blissful days
I lived, and I learned, and yet never yearned
For she from whom I now feel so spurned

I've had my Éowyns2, but none quite compare
To She, my lady, so radiant, so fair
At Cerin Amroth we pledged our love
To all, ourselves, and the Ainur above

But the Darkness again spread
Morgoth's mission again led
The Fellowship was wrought
The battles all fought3

The Age of the Firstborn was ended
The Age of the Hildor ascended
Our world together was split
And really, that was just it

She could stay here, forever, be mortal
But ever so closely lay Mithlond ,the portal
To a life without end, I can blame her hardly
I guess Barahir's tale4 was never to be

What’s this? You say she’s not yet set sail?
But how can I stop her? Our parting was so stale!

Sure Elrond's presence and Galadriel's glare
May have done oh so much to damper our parting
But as she goes afar I know I can't go there
And her expressed frigidity, that wound is still smarting

What should I do for her I adore?
Run to the Grey Havens and stop the White Ship?
But so much I must do, right here in Gondor,
A King I can become, as my Queen give me the slip

And the spirits are howling,
The white tree is burning?!
My power, my people

Oh what shall I do? TO ERU ABOVE
I have so much work, but I so miss my Love
The tears, they are welling, the Ship has set sail
In all my adventures, in truth I have failed!

For what am I worth? No King has Returned
And without Hope is Gondor, and the Stewards have burned
Denthar departed, the mighty horn split
The mighty White City left here to sit

It could let it fall into disarray,
Again a Ranger, I could slip away
To die like the Ents, forever, no Wife
Is there nothing to save me from this strife?

A new dawn is rising, a new age begun
My hopes might still clear
with the new rising Sun

I see its my duty, as Arathorn's son… what Isildur started, I must see done
but still I mourn my loss… that beautiful star, which now like all others, I must admire from afar.

1 Yes I realize this ignores the removal of Aman from Arda at the end of the Second Age, but seriously.. its metaphoric, get over it.
2 Yes, I am implying something that is never directly stated... oh, like you didn't know!
3 You know the story...
4 How the hell does someone mourning their loss in the late Third Age now about a tale which will now not be written after his death in the later Fourth Age? don't know, don't care.

This poem serves double purposes. In a literal sense, it is a character study into the psyche of Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings trilogy lamenting the departure of his beloved, the (technically half-)elven Arwen when she is forced by nature to choose her elven eternal life or her mortal existence in love. Though her departure never actually occurs in the novel, it comes very close to occurring, so this may be seen as either insight to Aragorn’s worst fears or as a sort of alternate plot line. (Actually, I believe in the cinematic adaptation there is a period were she begins to depart and then returns, so this could fit in there). In any case, this level of meaning is the source of the literary value of the poem. It is heavy on allusions, many of which I would not have gotten (let alone made) without the use of the online “Encyclopedia of Arda” ( http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/ ) which chronicles pretty much everything about the Tolkienian world. I was proud of the depth of immersion into the universe. Many things are referred to by their Elvish (Sindarin) rather than Common Tongue (Westron) names, both to make the work a slight bit more aloof and to reflect something of the mind frame of Aaragorn, using the language of both his childhood and his lover in an attempt to connect to her and his past. At the same time, it is explicit and relies heavily enough on the events of The Return of the King that anyone who has read the book (or possibly seen the movie) should be able to approach and appreciate the poem. There are a few further points of literary note: the beginning of the poem was intended to allude to the traditional Scottish folk song, “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” the first line of the thirteenth stanza plays on the title of the above novel. Further there is some artistic wordplay with the many names of some characters. For example, in the thirteenth stanza the word Hope is capitalized because it is the English translation of Aragorn’s elvish name Estel (which was used for the first twenty years of his live while in hiding from Sauron); and the final couplet plays on the fact that Arwen’s elvish last name is “Undómiel” which means evening star (and leads to the name Evenstar applied to her by some men).

The poem also served as a complex allegory—being the actual reason for its composition. There was a period between tenth and eleventh grade where a friend whom I had gone to middle school with, but who know lives in New England, and I had something of a long-distance romantic relationship. Thus the poem, at large, is largely a lament over the distance to her which seemed insurmountable (and I guess, ultimately was as that relationship passed after a couple months). In places, the allegory is more specific, however. There was one day during which my friend actually was in Virginia Beach and I got to see her for the day—this was the only time during our romantic period (we are still good, albeit platonic friends) in which we actually got to see one another. That said, however, it was very shortly after the beginning of this period such that the relationship wasn’t well known. Further, we didn’t get any time to be even a little bit alone during the time she was here as she had already committed to hang out with two friends (both of whom I sort of know and one of whom I actually know). Because of their presence and ignorance that my friend and my relationship was anything more than platonic, we pretty much feigned a relationship of mere friendship. Though I still enjoyed her (and the others’) company, I was frustrated with the fact that there was no opportunity to express affection (not even in something like hand-holding or verbally). I wrote this poem when I got home. Thus, “Elrond's presence and Galadriel's glare” refer specifically to the other two being present and the general talk of stale parting is in reference to the event. Immediately after this, she returned to the north, leaving me in a dazed state of what I assume would be similar to that Aragorn might have felt in the poem’s situation (although surely mine was less intense).

I am ashamed to say the poems presentation was a bit passive aggressive. I posted it on my LiveJournal where I knew she was likely to read it (largely, however I wanted a conformation that I wasn’t the only one feeling less than happy with the meeting). I also knew that a friend and confidante (who happens to be a bit LotR obsessed) would likely read it and appreciate both its literal and allegorical meanings (she was one of the few privy to the true nature of my relationship).

I really like the poem. It is very rich and complex. There are places where the rhyme is a bit contrived and it does somewhat lack coherent meter (though with careful reading one finds that it can be read quite rhythmically), but overall it represents a very nice poem. It also represents my longest work of verse. When I began writing it, I had not conceived of the LotR connection and was writing it merely generically. Once it occoured to me, however, I ran with it and the poem developed very well. I really appreciated being able to draw not only on my own feelings, but on my understood feelings of Aragorn as well.