The Phantom Rider

by Oct 18, 2007Poetry

{A poem not necessarily about Middle-earth itself, but inspired by the tales and valor of Tolkien’s style.}

We all wonder and love the image of the lone rider. We look at him as a hero – a mysterious champion of the wilderness and highways. Riding far across the untamed miles, he is a wanderer, neither at home, nor away from it. Yet little do we question why he rides. For adventure? For money? For freedom? Perhaps he does not even know the true answer. Perhaps he rides because he has nowhere else to go, or nothing else to do. Maybe he rides merely to pass his mortal days on earth, following nothing in that time but the four winds…

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In this distance is a rider,
Like the blazing sun:
A glowing flame on the crest of the sea,
Sinking into the waters.

He does not speak of his past;
His eyes are a shadowy mirror.
He fears nothing, but he runs –
Runs as one haunted in sleep and waking.

He tries to escape his own blood
Coursing through his veins,
The empty breath in his chest,
The stabbing passion in his soul.

The wound is deep and deathly.
His heart burns and sinks with the day:
Thus suffers the nameless rider,
A ghost for the sake of a lady.

She said she would not have him,
And yet she took no other;
It was a love forbidden by fate,
And thus life was but a curse.

The waves that hold the sinking sky,
Are but the same that bear her body.
She sleeps in their current, like a flower
Carried in the water: beautiful and silent.

But not even death can kill his love.
He rides, faster and farther, alone,
Fearing nothing, feeling nothing,
Seeing nothing, save her face.

The drum of battle and carnage,
The last screams of dying men,
The crimson blood on cold iron,
Offer him hope to find release.

But he is not to drown in that sea,
The sea of blood he has made;
It is not as the pure crystal tide
That washes her face, motionless and lovely.

He stares to the fading horizon:
Life in the pain of memory.
Then he turns his spur to the wind,
And gallops away into the night.

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