There and Back Again, a Writer’s Holiday

This past Tuesday, January 3rd, would have been the 125th Birthday of author and professor J.R.R Tolkien were he still alive.  I also just finished reading his novel The Hobbit.  This being the case I thought it would be appropriate to commemorate him with today’s post.

Let’s start with a few facts about Tolkien.  He was the professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, where he worked with C.S Lewis.  He and Lewis become good friends over time.  Tolkien, a devote Catholic, spoke often to Lewis, an agnostic, about religion.  Eventually Lewis, due to the influence of God through many Christian friends, converted.  Tolkien fought in and lived through World War I.  During his time in the trenches he began formulating one of the most intricate fantasy worlds of all time, Middle Earth.

I just took a trip through Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins.  I am sad to say that my time there has been short.  I have only read two of Tolkien’s novels, a defect I am working on remedying.  Many years ago I started reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it was over my head.  I also remember thinking that I did not like Tolkien’s poetry.  I have since changed my mind.  So I will leave you with this, two of my favorite poems from The Hobbit that, in a way, tell the story.

Poem#1

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men they looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

Poem #2

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

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