Farewell When The Road Darkens

With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien and Gloria Gaynor

* * *

At first they were afraid;
they were petrified.
Couldn’t fathom how to live
without Gandalf by their side.
And they spent so many nights
wandering to and fro,
all for Frodo,
despite not knowing where to go.

But still they trekked
‘cross Middle Earth;
to Mordor they would take the Ring
all while learning what it’s worth.
Frodo and Sam, Merry, Pippin,
Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli —
even without Gandalf they remained
a Fellowship in unity.

“Fly, you fools!”
is what he’d said.
one last stand in Moria,
then suddenly he was dead.
The Balrog’s whip wrenched him off
the Bridge of Khazad-dûm;
the others stood in fear
and watched Gandalf meet his doom.

Beneath the earth, the drumbeats tolled.
They watched as darkness yawned the archway
and then everything went cold.
Nothing else was to be seen;
the dale all around was empty,
and they wept long,
for he was gone;
Gandalf was gone.

Eastward they ran from Moria, into the golden light,
and Aragorn smote Orcs in one last vengeful fight.
Adrenaline still pumping,
Aragorn rushed the hobbits on.
“We cannot stay,”
he said, “not in the light of day.
“We must go on.
We must have hope.
We may be avenged for Gandalf’s death;
let us no more mope.”
South the Fellowship traveled on
until Lothlorien they reached.
There overcome by grief they were
when they heard the Elven speech.

They walked up swift
into the night,
into the City of Trees
afire with starry light.
They climbed up many steps just to meet Galadriel
and the Lord Celeborn
in the talan where they did dwell.

“Here there are eight,” Celeborn said,
and Galadriel then somehow knew
Gandalf the Grey was dead,
for the Fellowship was nine
at the beginning of the line.
And though it went unsaid
his loss filled the Elves with dread.

“Our grief is great,”
then said Frodo.
“Gandalf was our guide;
now what to do we do not know.”
A short silence —then Celeborn at length spoke again:
“We’ll do what we can to help
you recover from Durin’s Bane.”

Galadriel, she then spoke true:
“I will not now give you counsel
or tell you what to do.
Stray from your Quest and you will fall,
to the ruin of one and all.
You’ll make it through
only if you’re true,
if the Company is true.”

In Lothlorien the Fellowship stayed for many days;
the Elves with their hospitality did their spirits raise.
They did little but eat and rest
and walk thoughtful among the trees.
Of Gandalf the Grey,
the companions had much to say.
They spoke of him,
all they had known;
they lamented the grief of their loss
and felt much less alone.
The Elves sang Mithrandir,
sad lamentations of his fall —
the Elves’ sweet voices singing
induced sorrows in them all.

So Frodo turned
mourning into rhyme,
thinking of Gandalf
and all his meaningful time.
He put something of his sorrow into halting words,
moved to make song or poem
to match the laments he had heard.

But Frodo knew, with each new dawn,
despite the sorrow held in each their hearts
he could not stay for long.
and said, “Only when we leave this place
will we notice the empty space
with Gandalf gone.
But we’ll carry on.
We’ll stay true and carry on.”

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