March 25th, 2010

LOTR/Road Goes Ever

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!


Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

In honor of this day, I once again offer my reading of one of my favorite poems by Tolkien, "The Sea-Bell" (also known as "Frodo's Dreme") from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. W.H. Auden, a contemporary of Tolkien's and a great poet in his own right, said that this was Tolkien's best poem, and I certainly understand why. Download my reading here.


Here is "The Sea-Bell (Frodo's Dreme)." I find the final stanza to be especially haunting.

"The Sea-Bell (Frodo's Dreme)"
by J.R.R. Tolkien

I walked by the sea, and there came to me,
as a star-beam on the wet sand,
a white shell like a sea-bell;
trembling it lay in my wet hand.
In my fingers shaken I heard waken
a ding within, by a harbour bar
a buoy swinging, a call ringing
over endless seas, faint now and far.

Then I saw a boat silently float
On the night-tide, empty and grey.
‘It is later than late! Why do we wait?'
I lept in and cried: ‘Bear me away!'

It bore me away, wetted with spray,
wrapped in a mist, wound in a sleep,
to a forgotten strand in a strange land.
In the twilight beyond the deep
I heard a sea-bell swing in the swell,
dinging, dinging, and the breakers roar
on the hidden teeth of a perilous reef;
and at last I came to a long shore.
White it glimmered, and the sea simmered
with star-mirrors in a silver net;
cliffs of stone pale as ruel-bone
in the moon-foam were gleaming wet.
Glittering sand slid through my hand,
Dust of pearl and jewel-grist,
Trumpets of opal, roses of coral,
Flutes of green and amethyst.
But under cliff-eaves there were glooming caves,
weed-curtained, dark and grey'
a cold air stirred in my hair,
and the light waned, as I hurried away.

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    "Sam's Song in the Orc Tower," The Tolkien Ensemble
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