"The Death of Fëanáro" (Silmpome)
The summary on the SWG and AO3: Fëanor's death and its aftermath, as told by the Fëanorian bards and as it truly happened. A free-verse poem.
Speaking of, it is also posted on the SWG and AO3.
Notes on its inspiration are at the end. I'd love to hear what people think of it.
The Death of Fëanáro
It was not as he'd been taught it'd be.
It was sudden.
It was sudden as a storm-whipped night and a wind from the north
lashing a tree in fullness of leaf
at its tallest
at its proudest
and yanking it earthward
roots and all.
There was no slow slide into senescence
no nodding off in the afternoon
no forgetfulness of meals
no slow ache in his bones
no lust for rest.
(It was not as they'd said it'd be.)
Nay he'd awakened
that morning as all others
at the prime of his life with only untrodden road before him and battered boots upon his feet
and that insatiable churning restlessness in his limbs to run upon it.
Which is exactly what he'd done.
Forth from battle with the sounds only of his breathing and of his boots upon the rocks
forth toward the red-stained sky of the north
forth following the wreck of Moringotto's army
forth until all that was left of his life unspooled as fast as a ball of string dropped from a towertop so tall that the cold clouds wrapped it
and what was dropped was lost.
It hurt worse than he'd imagined
but it was sudden
(and he found himself more resentful of the speed of it than the pain).
There was no slow rot to seep him into the heart of the world
but the gnash of fire and bite of a wind blowing westward
that bore him thence
and scattered him as ash into insignificance
to mingle with plain earth
and pepper the face of the sea
(which lolled over itself and gulped him down
so that not even ash remained).
There was no torrent of flowers
garish upon naked stony earth
to mark the life he had been.
There was not enough of him left to nurture even weeds.
Life groaned on without him
and upon the west-borne wind there was a sudden awareness
of the whole of it
of all the dying and eating and growing and living
only to die and eat and grow and live again.
He was part of none of that.
The bards of his house told tales of an existential struggle upon the shores of Endórë
in which Námo swiped at his spirit but Fëanáro held fast in death as in life.
There the story changed depending on who did the telling.
In some there was a long struggle and a debate
of an existential nature of the sort that had bored Fëanáro
(This had been his brothers' purview and many of the words in his mouth
in these songs were in fact his brothers' too.)
Námo Fëanáro Námo Fëanáro they went
(these poems were usually performed as two voices)
until the glittering crescendo
in which Námo won only because of trickery
and added the brightest of spirits to his hoard much like Moringotto had done with the Silmarils.
(The parallel was intentional and audiences never failed to be stirred.
These songs were popular before battles
or in times of doubt.)
In others he won.
and as shadows recede at Arien's zenith
so Námo receded back to his hall upon the bone-pale cliffs of the Outer Sea
where no waves beat time
to crouch low in defeat.
The spirit of Fëanáro soaked into the earth and into the stone he'd loved.
It was a barren place where he'd died
but some went there like pilgrims
on the strength of tales alone
and conviction that he would never have succumbed to captivity by Námo at any cost
and the tales told that the fire of his spirit
stirred the stone into blood-bright flame
as he'd learned long ago among the Aulendur
and he reforged rock as gems resplendent with a secret color
even the Valar had not imagined in their Song.
Those who went there returned with pockets full of dusty stones
certain of the marvel in their secret hearts.
But all of the tales were wrong.
It had been so sudden
and in the midst of the bitterness confusion and anger over that
he looked back upon the road he'd tread.
There'd been no time to for children and grandchildren to bring forth his descendents
as thick as trees lining the road of his life
compounding the bright deeds that had earned him the name Fëanáro
as facets upon a gem catch evermore and evermore light in inexhaustable supply.
All was still bare.
He'd done so little.
The life of Arda would spiral on
in time so long as to be nearly worth the name Eternity
and all without him.
The fallen tree lies with roots splayed to the sky
desperately taking in what it can of the rain of the storm that killed it
and yes its leaves may yet live awhile
before they sag earthward
to feed what will grow and live anew
(then die itself
Something beckoned from the west
neither with nor without light
and he grasped it
and the spirit of Fëanáro was swallowed whole.
The wind into the west whipped fierce
enough to loosen one of Nelyo's braids
and snap it hard enough that he looked West
and his brothers followed
all but one
the only one
to see Fëanáro's body borne away as ash.
and hands upon harp began the song.
Upon the windless shores of the Outer Sea
the spirit of Fëanáro slumbered
but stirred enough to suggest a ripple upon the face of the sea
and Manwë looked East
and his kin followed
all but one
who soothed his charge with an ashen hand
and bided time until even immortality
would unravel like a ball of string dropped from a cloud-wrapped towertop)
and all but he watched the bard begin.
A dusty stone cracked open
and the light of the heart of it speared as deep as the stars.
For several years now, I have been thinking (and sometimes writing) about the inherent injustice in the fate of the Elves. The Elves are bound to Arda and its fate (versus Mortals, who leave the Circles of the World), and yet their immortal nature does not allow them to participate in the most fundamental cycles of life and death that sustain Arda. This seems terribly unfair to me, and it is this mismatch between Elven nature and the nature of the world to which they are bound (not deathlessness itself) that I believe causes their sorrow as they age.
This poem is the result of these thoughts.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!