Filigodís Tale

Filigod looks out in the grey morning
And the rain comes sifting down.
No dawn, no sun a-borning;
Damp is thatch and stone.

The trees glisten darkly in the mist
Their bark is broken, old
No ordinary silence, this--
"Father, my heart is cold."

"Filigod, little wren, my child,
One tale yet unspoken
Of the evil that touches the wild
Its truth must now be broken:

"In the west of the greening wood we love
Lies a tower of sorcery cruel.
A hand lies within that stony glove
Wielding Mordor's rule.

"They say the elves drove the Dark Lord forth
But some shadow still remains,
And now again it stretches north
To challenge the Elves' domain.

"So we must go, my child sweet,
Find homes in the world of men.
Go out. Feel earth beneath your feet
Elven-blessed; you won't again.
"

She dashes into the forest eaves
With the rain caressing her cheeks
And tears; she kisses the curling leaves
And knows not what she seeks.

The wood is silent. She strains her ears
For a sound that touches her dreams:
Elven-song and laughter clear
Like Greenwood's lilting streams.

No sound. No trace. The wood is still.
She presses her face to the bark
Of the birches fair on the crest of the hill
Where her mother's grave is marked.

And for one foolish moment she means
To dash in the wood and be lost:
Some arrow the hunter forgot to glean
To be bent and warped by the frost.

But she is brave. She'll see the world
Before she judges it ill
And her father's calling his nestling girl
Down from her mother's hill.

They carry but little to the forest's edge
And the great river sheeting south,
Whispering to them in its bed of sedge
Of mighty ships at its mouth.

Small their boats, by their father's hand
Hewn of their own forest's trees,
For one last glimpse of Wilderland
Filigod turns and sees

A gleam of gold on the farther shore
And her eyes are awed and wide
"Father, the forest I see there
May we not seek the other side?
"

"No, Filigod, you know what's hidden
Beneath those gold-blessed boughs
To mortal feet that land's forbidden
With men we must abide now.
"

Silent she is and speaks no word
For the journey; even her lyre,
Father's last gift to his little bird
Does not sing with young heart's fire.

She makes no cry when her father's boat fails
At Sarn Gebir, and is gone.
Nor does she weep when her brothers pale
Fish their little bird out of Anduin.

No sorrow touches her, nor pall
Til they reach the world of men,
And then she wakes, and sees the walls
They bid her to nest within.

Like the dead white tree she weeps and stands,
With a fountain's spray touching her face.
The speech of the city is Elvish. She can
For a moment imagine their grace.

But the moment's gone, dim shadows loom
Of tower, forbidding stone
Straight lines, walls, grey mortar's gloom
And Mordor's. This is not home.

Down from the Tower of Guard she flees
Down to the city gates
Out across the Pelennor's leas
And nothing her dread abates.

There are Mordor's teeth. They gnaw
The sunrise, the very sky.
Is there no forest, no leafy hall
Where a filigod can fly?

Over her shoulder, a yearninng glance
To the river that bore her here
Draws her young eyes north, where golden dance
The leaves and the fallow deer.

No mouse is she, to cower in a well
Bone-dry, when the cloudburst comes.
If die she must, then die she will
In the lands of Elvendom.

Foot by foot, she begins to stray
And her feet are very small.
The lyre feeds her along the way
In a shepherd's or farmer's hall.

Her eyes are bright. Somewhere ahead
Are trees worth any pain
Of heart or feet. She feels no dread.
She will hear Elves again.