On a day when Fall’s first leaves were flying

And the wind was howling and geese were crying

And clouds were black and the sun was hiding,

Word first came, on dark wings riding.

……………..“Tolkien is dead,”

……………..Was all they said,

……………..And left us crying.

 

He heard by light of star and moon

The Elven songs and learned their tunes.

He had long walks with them, and talks,

Beneath the swaying trees in June.

 

Dwarf-mines deeply delved he saw

Where Mithril glittered on the walls

And mighty kings wrought wondrous things

And reigned in hollow, torch-lit halls.

 

To forests wild and deep he went

And many lives of men he spent

Where leaves of years fall soft like tears,

Listening to the speech of Ents.

 

In lofty halls of men he sat

Or rustic rooms of bar-man fat;

In hobbit holes, heard stories told

By an old man in a wizard’s hat.

 

With magic words of dark and light

And days of doom and coming night

And magic rings and hoped for spring,

He wrought the record of his sight . . .

 

In Beowulf’s bold fleet he sailed,

With Gawain the Green Knight beheld;

By Beortnoth’s side he stood and cried

And hordes of pagan Danes he felled,

“Will shall be sterner, heart the bolder,

Spirit the greater as our strength fails!’

 

On a day when Fall’s first leaves were flying

And the wind was howling and geese were crying

And clouds were black and the sun was hiding,

Word first came, on dark wings riding.

……………..Tolkien is dead,”

……………..Was all they said,

……………..And left us crying.

 

Note: This poem is excerpted from Dr. Williams’s new book Stars through the Clouds: The Collected Poetry of
Donald T. Williams (Lantern Hollow Press, 2020) and is used here by permission.


Citation Information

Donald T. Williams, “To J.R.R. Tolkien,” An Unexpected Journal 3, no. 1. (Spring 2020), 209-211.

Direct Link:  https://anunexpectedjournal.com/to-j-r-r-tolkien/

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