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Passing Remembrance by David Barbara

(On Leaving the Grey Havens - the Fourth Age of Middle-Earth)

Swept westwards by a melancholy sea, graven
faces, salted by the breeze, inclined limply towards the East;
Grey eyes stared at rough cliffs with longing and fear;
With murmurs we drew together and grieved and shook
As foam sprayed the sails like so many tears ...

With a cry our Captain Cirdan leapt upon the prow,
Wild and white, his old robe billowing fiercely;
Thrice he cracked his staff against the bow and
Rapturous, Cirdan hurled the sundered staff far into the sea.
There where it sank the waters groaned and pitched
And boiled, and a hellish black mist rose like a surging tide.

From these dark vapours immense shapes ensued,
Cruel spires and proud ships, battlements towering and sheer;
Soldiers with supple bows, tall Mariners with
Pointed beards, Elf-Lords with fiery rings and silver spears.
Ghostly faces hardened, and made themselves known;
Finrod smiled, wise and calm; we flinched at the fell
Fury of Fëanor’s Oath; Lúthien’s beauty made all shout, thus
Wild, we unsheathed knives and rudely cried - Oh Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
With grief we trembled as the apparitions paled, till
All, 'cept the mournful howling of the wind, was still.

Of the Fair Folk then we quietly sang, of the ancient ones,
Of their kindness and their peril, of their potent magicks,
Their virile craft and the passing of their ways;
For the suffering of Man has inherited those lands,
And among quick lives and hot rage
Our kind will be soon forgotten
And our numberless days will be over.

–David Barbara.

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