Tolkien Tribute: Gimli in Valinor

a monologue addressed to his axe


Was a time I thought
I could not get my boots soon enough
onto good firm rock again…
And yet,
here I sit,
upon a keg
once full of Middle Earth’s best ale,
with ye, my trusty Axe,
leaning here against my knee–
choosing the gentle rocking of a deck,
over the fair and solid land I see
shining just down the way
 at the far end of this dock.
Thee and me, old friend…
sitting here, a-wondering,
the twain of us,
what we’re doing here at all… ?
The captain, crew and every one,
they could not dash off quick enough,
once the ropes were tied off fast
Even the Elf has gone…
and we are left the last…

He will return for me,
he swore it would be soon,
whatever soon may mean
in such a timeless place as this,
but he could not linger while
I knocked off
the final dust of Middle Earth
from my reluctant soles…
from my hesitating soul…
Ah, well, and I cannot
begrudge him his impatience–
long indeed he’s hungered
for the true home of his heart…
In truth, he long delayed this passage  
to see of Middle Earth all
the wonders great and small–
I insisted, lest he never know
what it was he left…
And many his favorite wood and dell
I visited with him, besides,
even some I’d not have chosen
to ever see indeed,
left to my own desire…

Perhaps I hoped, old Axe,
that he’d recall another yet
that he knew without him,
I would also never see.
Or find some beauty,
some wonder I showed  him,
that he would never choose to leave.
Vain hope, that,
and I always knew it…
Loathe was I, in honesty,
to place an ocean for all time
betwixt the Elf and me.

Selfish of me, knowing
that the years I had before me yet
were dwindling,
though long as stone…
and in time
it was himself who’d be alone
in Middle-earth at last, 
no ship remaining
that would take him home…
Yet finally, he would not go,
’til I agreed to journey with him,
arguing such legendary friends as we
should not be
sundered evermore,
neither by seas nor by mortality.
And so we came: 
I, Old Axe, and thee…

True  is it also, in this latter Age,
Middle-earth’s passed
to the care of Men:
smaller and smaller the place in it
for you and me, old Axe; 
Ancient bonds of loyalty, respect
and not the least, 
of trust and rare affection
between  Dwarves and Men decreased, 
our kind have faded
back into our mountains,
deemed by all, despite, 
the best place for us…
There–
and in old legends told at night… 

And yet, old Axe,
yet how should such a one as I
dare set my foot on Valinor?

Legolas spoke for me where e’re he could,
and… see, look here…
(where is the thing…?
Ah…! ) 
See,
this sapphire of surpassing beauty, 
he gave me
as token of my welcome here…
(Blue as the sea itself, it is,
and deep as the Heavens,
and filled with a star that never pales…
look ye… When I hold it to the sun,
it only gleams the brighter!)
And so I was convinced the Elves
would not resent so very much,
a graceless Dwarf a-plodding 
through their halls and hallows,
and, at length, I came aboard…

Ah, well, my old friend Axe,
nor ’t is it in truth the Elves’ own land,
truly it is their’s:
 the Powers!
They, that made us all
and gave us life and skill…
Oh, aye, now, that’s
a dubious comfort to be thinking on!
The Valar! Lords of Arda–
Dwarves never were Their favorites…
Yet, our Father, too, dwells here… Aule…
I dreamt of Him,
just e’er setting foot on this grey ship…
Smiled, He did,
as I held up for Him to see,
the Crystal of The Gift… Galadriel’s…
(Ah, sweet, sweet remembrance…
Fairer than sunlight on a vein of pure truesilver!
Sweeter than the best ale ever brewed…! )

Galadriel… !
Yes! She’s here, too, after all…
(Does she remember me? Could she?
My head tells me I’m a fool,
but my heart says, 
She would not forget…!
)

And bound to be somewhere about—
the Halflings! Frodo, Sam!
And the old fellow, Bilbo Baggins,
Dad’s and Thorin’s little burglar…
Merry it’ll be indeed,
to meet with them again!
For I have missed them sorely, 
more than ever,
since the young ones passed
out of Middle-earth…
Peregrin and Merry…
Drinking and singing now are they,
or so I must surmise, old Axe,
with their longfathers,
in perfect cozy tunnels,
flowered meads afar…

Perhaps Strider comes down from his star,
with his Lady hand in hand,
and they together share the cheer  
the remembrance
of old times and tears…

Ah… and Gandalf!
What a wonder it will be
 his wise old, long-bearded face
once more to see!
D’ye think, Old Axe, 
he still does fireworks?
Sam and the others praised them so!
Another thing that’s gone from Middle-earth…

Why, now I think on it,
there’s more in this vast bless’ed land
than rests still in Middle-earth,
for joy and gladness!
We’ll drink then,
to the ones who’ve gone, 
and wish them,
in whatever fields they walk,
no care or sadness!

What am I waiting for?

For Legolas?
to remember me a-sitting here
upon this joyless cask,
moping for the shores of Middle-earth?
Come, jump into my belt, old Axe!
‘Tis time to go ashore!
No more waiting for old Thranduil’s son,
let him find us when he will!

And thee, ye hollow keg, fare well!
Here’s a boost to ye…
Float back across the seas, 
and tell them there,
if any ask,
that Gimli Gloin’s son’s at home
among his friends at last!

Though their kind were generally estranged for long ages, Gimli the Dwarf and Legolas the Elf became fast friends and after the events of Lord of the Rings, they were much in one another’s company.  But Elves, the First Children of the Creator, yearn finally to return to their home, Valinor, across a Sea that does not bend with our Earth, but can only be gotten to by the Straight Way; and only their own ships know that way.  Dwarves, who were made by one of the Powers, of the stuff of Middle-earth, are not granted the grace to go to the First Home. But Legolas requested of the Powers a dispensation for his friend, and for the sake of Gimli’s valor and contribution in the War of the Ring, it was granted.  And so Gimli was the only Dwarf ever to follow over the Straight Way and come to Valinor.)

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  1. It’s great to see this something done so well from Gimli’s point of view. Gimli be da Dorf! JRR’s works were the first books I checked out our High school library [many, many moons ago!]. I’d never read any sort of fantasy, high or otherwise and I’ve been an addict since. CL, you always remind me just why I love this story!

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    1. Just found this… I’ve had trouble accessing comments, until I realized there is access in the menu! Agreed, Gimli needs more recognition. Maybe I should write one from Legolas’ point of view, too.

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