It's Blank Verse Blog Week! I suppose, today
I’ll have to try to write in rhythmic glee.
(Am I the only one who feels dismay
That that name's less of iamb than spondee?)
I'm in the mood for formal language play
Because I'm reading in the book called "Doom"
Or sometimes "Angry Elves" if you're my friends,
By which I mean the Silmarillion,
Which I have tried to read before, and failed,
But this year's goal is "Finish all the books
That sit, half started, lonely, on your shelves"
And so I'm pushing though until the end.
I've got at far as fair, lost Beleriand
But must confess I still don't care for elves
Who love unmoving shadows in the West
And sometimes I mix Finrod and Fingon
And so on, but there's one old name I love,
Who's passed right through the story, and then gone
To an unsung and silent happy age,
And that, of course, is she, Ungoliant.
Long I’ve loved spiders, curious and quiet,
The weavers, hunters, builders, mothers, friends,
The fat and fuzzy, bright-eyes-in-the-dark,
Festooning silent places, guarding trails,
But most of all I think I love the way
They are the ones that we cannot shut out:
In all the sealed and sterile homes we've made,
Hidden from the earth that lives, for fear
Of anything that’s free, unclean, Not-Us.
And watching flick'ring lights as evening falls,
It's spiders that will find the open doors,
And dash across the shower-wall and say:
You can't shut out the world though you may try
For there is more outside than you can find,
And it is life, like yours, and not alone.
In the same way as dark Ungoliant
Who walked into the Pure-Land-Walled-From-Fear
And taught them light unshared is light devoured
In that uneasy twilight of the world
When all the Powers kept the world in dark
Except their private garden of the Trees:
Until she came and sucked up all the glow
So covetously kept corralled away,
And left no choice to them but share the Sun.
Not only light she sucked up that dark year,
For of the Nine Fell Oaths that were ill-sworn
Those days before the first dawn of the world,
The first-sworn of them all, and first fore-sworn,
Was Melkor's oath to aid Ungoliant:
And when that oath he broke, she broke his power,
No more with Valinor could he contend,
But tied to Children's clothing, weak he strove
Against the swords of Men and Angry Elves,
His black hands always burning with his Oath
He broke to she who cared not for their cares.
And as to she herself - she rolled eight eyes,
Expecting nothing less from Eru’s spawn,
And went away beyond the pains of song,
And wove her cloth to catch the gen’rous light
Of the bright Sun, the fruit she did not eat,
But left to spread for all beneath the Sky.
And had no truck with Oaths and Wars and such
And raised her daughters and her sons in peace,
To a great dynasty that spanned the World,
Until she chose to leave it her own way,
The only creature ever under sky
Who conquered Melkor and the Valar both,
And in one day, and only as she chose.
(If she *did* leave - the Moriquendi tell,
In the far South, and in the East, that still
She throws her silk into the sky and climbs
To dim the Moon to blood, from time to time.)
I mean, it could just be that she’s the first
Who bears the pronoun she, in all that book,
To do aught more than cry, grow plants, and sleep,
And that is why I love her, like her child
Shelob in Frodo’s tale, who’s feared alike
By Dark and Light, still scorning all their wars.
But mostly I have loved the ones who stay
Outside the realms where Kings and Noldor fight,
The spiders, Old Tom, Hobbits who wed Fae,
And all who learned to live between the light.