Light and Labor Past by Zdenka

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Story Notes:

Tree and Flower Awards, Poetry, Second Place

Author's Chapter Notes:

Meter: modified Sapphics (since I apparently forgot where the dactyl goes when I was writing this)

Many thanks to Aliana and Himring for looking this over.

"When Winter comes, and singing ends; when darkness falls at last;
When broken is the barren bough, and light and labour past . . ."
(The Two Towers, "Treebeard")

New for them this learning, and a new labor:
nock the feathered shaft and draw back the bow-string,
loose, and send the flying arrow in freedom
swift to the target.

Long ago I learned the rough ways of battle;
not so these my fellow smiths, who must newly
take up arms and grimly set to their training,
forges abandoned.

This, this too I lay to your charge, Abhorred One:
craftsmen’s hands that should be shaping in silver
lay aside their tools and delicate workings
for shield and sword-hilt.

Well I know there is not time for this training;
war too is a craft--bitter the teaching;
yet we now must fight, lest all things of beauty
perish forever.

You whose graves were swallowed by the grey ocean;
you who died by sword, by sorrow and fire;
for your sake, my lords, my fallen kindred,
I will not falter.

Chapter End Notes:

Abhorred One - meaning of the name Sauron

you who died by sword, by sorrow and fire - a glancing reference to the Doom of the Noldor: "yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief . . ." (The Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor")

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