Written for the LOTR Beauty of Arda poetic challenge. For Rhyselle for her birthday. Beta by Lindelea.
The Empty Shell
He lay 'neath boughs of swaying beech,
the leaves all fluttering, out of reach.
Spring was now come, fulfilling each!
It seemed life was his once more.
All rejoiced in firm belief
that gone fore'er were pain and grief.
But as he watched each flutt'ring leaf
he found his heart yet sore.
Although the winter'd warmed and thawed,
and all greeted him with praise and laud,
he looked upon the trodden sod,
knew himself worth nothing more.
For joy was tempered with death and loss,
scars barely hidden beneath the gloss
of bright array, and he but dross,
or so the doubts his dreams tore.
Crowned was King, and raised was song!
New Lord acclaimed by joyful throng.
Yet he felt himself still in the wrong
since he'd lost the Ring he once bore.
Home he went, but it, too, was scarred
for none had thought the Shire to guard.
But even with gates now closed and barred
he knew they could not ignore
The outer world, for it was wide
in which much evil might yet abide.
The Little Folk couldn't think to hide
from what might yet prove in store.
Though Shire was scoured of evil Men,
surely they might yet come again.
(And the Sea, he knew, it called to him,
its waves a constant roar.)
Others the evil did chase away,
Sam saw trees planted anew to sway
in summer winds that among them play,
and the damage did restore.
But Frodo alone could find no cheer
amidst the plenty or the laughter dear.
It seemed he alone yet grief did fear,
his heart but an empty core.
He penned the tale of evil faced
by folk of all sorts, and so he traced
the history of Ring and challenge, and laced
it all with ancient lore.
But still he found he faded yet,
his pain and loss could not forget.
At last he knew a new course was set
if his hope he would restore.
He knew all now was at an end,
the Shire no longer his to tend.
He saddled pony, and with his friend
went West in search of more.
His sacrifice was now complete
as those aboard the ship did greet
his coming. Now all was mete
as they sailed to distant shore.
Now Sam was left behind to grieve
to know his Master had had to leave
behind all he'd loved. Now, all bereaved,
Sam turned for home once more.
Rosie's greeting was gentle kiss,
drew him in, set his darling miss
upon his lap, and fulfilled all this
with the closing of the door.
Yet Sam found he must daily cope
with loss and grief, and through them grope
to know each day's full joy with the hope
Frodo's Light would shine once more.