Monday, February 14, 2011

Lament for Eorl the Young by JRR Tolkien

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

Jesse suggested to me this poem because I couldn't  think of any once again, so here it is :D I think this poem is about a civilization that has fallen after a war, maybe a foreboding of world wars to come? Tolkein asks where the horse and rider are, where is the war horn? The battle is obviously over, the horse, rider, and horn bearer are probably all dead. Then Tolkein sort of shocks me, because he asks where the helmet and sword are, which makes me think that the battle scene has been ransacked (which means it is a couple of days old), and then when he asks where is the "bright" hair is, it hits me that he is talking about an old battleground. The dead have decayed, the armor and weapons have rusted away. The fact that he talks of a lack of "bright" hair tells me that he means for this to be a rather solemn poem. The title itself, "Lament for Eorl the Young" brings about thoughts of grief and loss of innocence, and maybe that this is more of someone's thoughts on the world now that he has lost someone important, no longer bright and vivid like before, only dark and dreary. Tolkein then reinforces this thought by stating that there is no greenery, no spring crops, just desolation. When he says they have passed on like rain on the mountain, or wind on the meadow, it reminds me of the song "Dust on the Wind," and the fact that nothing is indefinite, not even the earth. Then the idea that civilization period has been ended is introduced when Tolkein asks who will gather the smoke of the funeral pyres, or simply watch the earth turn. Nobody from this town or city, or maybe even humanity itself, is left. This is a rather sad (but well written) poem.... I need to find some happier ones somewhere.....