Late March is the time in which we mark the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth and celebrate the defeat of Sauron. In this age, we honor the date with an event known as International Tolkien Reading Day. In the past, Reading Day has been quite an elaborate affair for the Grey Havens Group. This year, however, we have a number of projects in the works, including our upcoming Real Myth and Mithril Symposium, so we will be keeping things simple. The party will be hosted by Roger Echo-Hawk in our Hobbit Hole. All will be invited to read their favorite passages from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and works inspired by or in the tradition of Tolkien but our Reading Day would not be complete if we neglected the limerick challenge issued by Katy Colby each year. This year, she issued the Call to Rhyme in a verse of her own composition. Who can resist?
On our very next meet-up
You’re in for a treat-up
As we celebrate our favorite bits
Of our great author’s works.
And if your talent lurks
In twisting words round with your wits,
Each year we have shared,
And all those who dared
Were rewarded with praise and much fun.
This time, for a change
Just to add to our game
There is a sweet prize to be won.
Now, here are the rules:
Your words are your tools,
Create a new limerick verse
Draw your inspiration
From fantasy creation;
The Professor’s most fair Middle Earth
Or from George R.R. Martin,
If that’s where your heart’s in.
Who knows what your talent is worth?
Keep it five lines, no more
With rhymes by the score.
For our young folks, we keep it PG.
The winner decided
By vote of those present.
It’s bound to be fun, don’t you see.
Did you know that the Grey Havens Group marks its fourth anniversary this month? We will be celebrating the occasion a little late with our annual Hall of Fire gathering in which our fellowship shares games, good food and, most importantly, reads poems and passages from our favorite writers as we fill up the corners into the early hours of the morning. To tide you over until the party begins, here are some brilliant rhymes from GHG members.
Let’s start with a limerick, written last year in honor of our group by the GHG member known to our regular readers as pipeweedjesus. It captures the magic of our group so perfectly that it never fails to bring a tear to my eye.
There once was a group called Grey Havens,
Reading Tolkien, and Barfield, and Gaiman.
They meet and discuss,
And disagree much,
Shaping moments of pure Sub-Creation.
Thank you, pipeweedjesus!
More recently, I challenged our group to come up with a whole new set of Tolkien-themed limericks. Proven limerick master, Katy, was the first to accept. Here are some of her valiant verses.
A clever young Hobbit named Tim Remained always nimble and slim Despite six meals a day. He kept on that way By having two quite hollow limbs.
A Dwarf with a very long beard Faced the Dragon that all others feared. By the end of the fight He was a truly grim sight, For his braids were all smoking and seared.
Next, pipeweedjesus entered the fray with his clever contribution.
The Hobbit was written by Tolkien. Could they film it, fans asked, without choking? But the movie was bad, The fans were so sad. Mr. Jackson, is that pipeweed you’re smoking?
Finally, Scott Rochat, a former contributor to this blog, took up the gauntlet with these remarkable rhymes!
Frodo shook off a sting and a bite, Spear and knife couldn’t do him in quite, But when Sam learned to play, On the banjo one day, He screamed and ran into the night.
There was Merry and Pippin and Sam, Plus Frodo and Strider the Man, Legolas came and Gimli, Boromir died quite grimly, And Gandalf fell over the span.
I was so impressed with Scott’s poetic prowess that I told him to drop and give me a sonnet. To my astonishment, he did–in just under twelve minutes!
The Ring, so bright, began in Sauron’s hand, His aim to crush and rule the bright and Free, But Isildur sliced off that golden band, Then fell and left it washing t’wards the Sea,
But deep it stayed within a hidden lake, Where Deagol raised it back into the light, Beside him, Smeagol vowed the Ring to take, He killed, then took his Precious far from sight,
Five hundred years rolled on, until the day, When Bilbo Baggins came to Gollum’s cave, He found the Ring; it helped him get away, Then urged him to lay Gollum in his grave,
The pity Bilbo showed , to stay his hand, May yet be praised by every realm and land.
Then, just to amaze us all, he came right back with a sestina. Lots of smart people I know couldn’t even spot a sestina in a lineup!
Once there dwelt a mighty Man, Named Beren, heart-struck with loveliest Elf, Fair Luthien, she laid aside her life, They claimed the gems from Morgoth’s very crown, She pledged her soul to one who lost his hand, And joined him in the tales of Middle-Earth.
Ages roll in Middle-Earth, And once again there comes a valiant Man, To throw down Sauron must he set his hand, And yet his eye falls on a lovely Elf, He for the briefest while forgets his crown, He knows she is the purpose of his life.
But what can they know of life? For darkness plots to claim all Middle-Earth, The throne lies empty, no one wears the crown, Two realms must be restored before the Man Can win the blessing of Elrond Half-Elf, Can ask and win the lovely Arwen’s hand.
In Mordor waits the Black Hand, Yet lacking one thing still to claim all life, Not gold of Dwarf or hidden lore of Elf, But one small simple ring in Middle-Earth, The Ring of Pow’r, bereft him by a Man Of ages past, an heir to Gondor’s crown.
But now strange fate wins its crown, The Ring comes to a simple Hobbit hand, And now the fate of Aragorn the Man, Is to protect its bearer with his life, One desp’rate chance to save all Middle-Earth, And then return to wed Arwen the Elf.
He must fare far from his Elf, A Ranger and a King without a crown, To many realms and lands of Middle-Earth, Yet he knows fate lies in a smaller hand, As Sam and Frodo now must risk their life, At stake,the lives of Elf and Dwarf and Man.
Middle-Earth, rejoice! For a ruined hand, Restores the crown, brings the White Tree to life, And joins at last the love of Elf to Man.
Top that, blog readers! Leave your Tolkien-themed poetry in comments. Be sure to identify the poetic form. Everything is welcome, from limericks to free verse to disco song lyrics. Give us something worthy to sing in our Hall of Fire!
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