The Choice of Samwise – by Corbin F. Halloway

by Nov 9, 2001Poetry

…It would not be worth while to leave his master for [revenge]. It would not bring him back. Nothing would. They had better both be dead together. And that too would be a lonely journey.

He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the places behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness. There was no escape that way. That was to do nothing, not even to grieve. That was not what he had set out to do…

His body felt nothing; and yet, he was cold.
Now in third person conscious of every sensation,
He noticed the sound of tears falling on leather –
His tears! – rolling over a soft, tattered fold
After pattering just once their fervent elation.

Where now is the Fellowship, Elessar, Elessar?
Why do the Holbytlan wander afar?

Perverse curiosity fluttered close by
As his inner Observer took hold of one foul vine –
A hideous growth once inside the great monster…
How soft, and how easy it would be to tie
In a noose – to play puppets, should he be inclined.

I shall dance in the air with a neck like a swan’s!

For a swan can bend every which-way, so I’m told.
Bones and blood-flesh and spirit deep sleep will enfold…

…oh, how I want to sleep!

Dim dreams of a puppet-show came to an end
When the glint of a blade caught his fractured attention.
How smoothly the metal tongue would slip inside him
Far deeper than kisses, and harder to mend
Should the wound leave him breathing through Life’s intervention.

Where now is the Fellowship, Hamfast’s son, Hamfast’s son?
Why must a servant guess what’s to be done?

He reeled and he faltered, but mostly he wept.
Bent with sobbing, he clutched at the corpse of his master.
Black silence framed moments of heightened awareness:
Oh, sharp was the pain as his hero-friend slept!
Sharper still seemed the knife… and his breath became faster.

I’m so afraid, sir – both of glory and doom,
So afraid of the world, dreading what lies beyond it,
Afraid to keep living, afraid of your tomb…

Would stones quench their thirst on warm hobbit-blood wine?
Or would Fate allow one chance for hope to hold on to?
He kept the debate, his resolve like a candle,
First flickering, then burning strong in his mind:
This was his quest to finish, though he didn’t want to.

Where now is the Fellowship, Peregrin, Meriadoc,
Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf?
And Elessar, sword re-forged on elven welding-block,
Was Middle-earth doomed the day you set off?

He knew he might never again feel whole:
That was part of the burden he gained by becoming
At last his own hero with no one to follow.
He knew he was never meant for such a role –
Even stouthearted warriors quailed from pain so numbing.

I won’t drink the poison of Life’s daunting terror!
I shall not submit to the drug of despair!
Mistakes, I’ve made many; but this fatal error
I must prevent for the sake of times more fair.

`Good-bye, master, my dear!’ he murmured. `Forgive your Sam. He’ll come back to this spot when the job’s done – if he manages it. And then he’ll not leave you again. Rest you quiet till I come; and may no foul creature come anigh you! And if the Lady could hear me and give me one wish, I would wish to come back and find you again. Good-bye!’

And though he continued, his tears did not dry.
He did not find new courage – his journey seemed longer.
Far lonelier was it to follow the hard path:
With chances like this, it was useless to try…
Yet behind cloud-cast nights, there’s a star burning stronger.

He had no fine magic, no face of an elf,
He wore no coat of mithril, could speak in no strange tongue.
His name was Sam Gamgee, and he was a gardener.
This was his transition from servant to Self:
A transition each one of us makes when we’re young.

Where now is the Sam in you, sister-friend, brother-friend?
Where is the light that shines on without end?

We will all take a leap of faith straight into Hell.
We will all lost the thing we love best.
But you must not bow down with submissive farewell!
Find your Samwise, then on with the quest.

We are all on some quest, to destroy or to save,
And we all will face Shelob someday.
So if, when you’re there, you consider the grave,
Find your Samwise and follow his way:

Life is better by far when you start by fulfilling
First simpler needs. Here is how to begin:
Choose the greater good – no secret there, just be willing
To look past your want to the Samwise within.


© 2001 C.F.H.


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Found in Home 5 Reading Room 5 Poetry 5 The Choice of Samwise – by Corbin F. Halloway

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