Song of the Laughing Maiden by Zdenka

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Story Notes:

Written for the Trick or Treat Exchange 2015.

The poems are (I) quatrains in long meter, (II) a sestina, and (III) a sonnet (of variant form). The last poem is set much later than the first two.

Many thanks to Himring for beta-reading.

If anyone would like a quick reminder of who these characters are, please see the end notes.


(I)

O fourfold terror of that night,
O darkness beyond words to tell:
the violent quenching of the light;
the shattered doors where Finwë fell;
the horror of the knowledge grows
that Elvish hands shed Elvish blood;
and last, but not the least of those,
my lady gone in wild mood.
The memory still burns in me,
a grief I do not understand:
the way your eyes were turned from me,
the way your hand slipped from my hand.
You too are gone in that rash flight,
to seek the dark lands over Sea.
O Valar, may you bring us light!
But who brings back my love to me?

(II)

The day that saw our shining-holy light
abruptly quenched, that day of doom and blood,
you went from me beneath the shrouded stars.
My heart was heavy with a nameless fear;
I heard your horse’s hoofbeats die away,
and you were gone into the yawning dark.

Beside the lifeless Trees turned bare and dark,
my people wept for their beloved light.
You would not hear me speak; you went away
to aid Fingolfin, heeding ties of blood.
Each face I saw was pale with grief and fear,
seen dimly by the wan light of the stars.

You came not back to me under the stars,
and all the tidings that I heard were dark.
I heard my kin lament with anguished fear
those deeds too terrible to show the light,
the sands of Alqualondë stained with blood
ere Fëanor could wrest the ships away.

My laughing-bold one, did you seek a way
across the Ice with no light but the stars?
Is your hand also stained with kindred blood?
With such beginnings, every road is dark!
Why did you leave the High Ones’ holy light,
returning to those darkened lands of fear?

My anger vanishes before my fear;
I have no peace while you are far away.
From dying light, the Valar gave us light;
O lady with your eyes as bright as stars,
will you return to me out of the dark,
no spirit, but in living flesh and blood?

If once you stood before me, all my blood
would leap into my heart with hope and fear;
and then your hair and mine, golden and dark
would twine so close that naught could take away
one from the other, like a pair of stars
that join as one and share a single light.

My love, since bonds of blood called you away,
in silent fear I watch the wheeling stars;
return out of the dark to love and light!

(III)

At the first waning of that endless Dark,
As silver radiance by little crept
O’er all the land, the singing of a lark
Came to my ear; I laughed and then I wept.
When, weary with long travel, I behold
A laughing fountain leap before my sight,
With joy I greet the water clear and cold;
No wine has ever given such delight.
We learn to cherish peace from long defeat;
Joy after sorrow is redoubled bliss,
And brightest hope comes with the end of fear.
Return of light and lark-song, water sweet--
To say it all at once, say only this:
My lady has returned, and she is here.


Chapter End Notes:

Írimë, who only appears in the History of Middle-earth, was the younger daughter of Finwë and Indis. Her mother-name, Lalwendë or Lalwen, means “laughing maiden.” She went to Middle-earth with her brother Fingolfin.

The poet Elemmírë of the Vanyar is mentioned in the Silmarillion as author of the Aldudénië, the Lament for the Two Trees. Since Elemmírë's gender is never mentioned, and a Quenya name ending in -ë can be either male or female, some fans have chosen to write Elemmírë as a woman (as she is here).



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