The Lay of Tinnuhen

I am a geek.

I am geek cursed with an itch to write.

This can result in some very strange concoctions.

The Lay of Tinnuhen

In ages of long-ago past,
Beyond reach of memory,
Before the Eldar strength
Departed for over the sea,
When Elves still walked
Over plain and under tree.
When Elrond was Lord,
When Gil-galad was King,
Annatar was a “gift-giver”
To the makers of rings.
In Eriador, rings-smiths made
Nineteen great rings
That helped and healed,
Blessed and saved.
But the Elves were deceived,
For twenty were made.
False “Annatar” had created
One ring, greater than all.
For Annatar was Sauron,
Once a Maia, before he fell.
So Sauron was seeking
To control all things,
Beginning with the power
That worked in the rings.
He searched for the nineteen
Reaching and grasping.
Sixteen rings he found.
Nine he gifted to men,
Seven he granted dwarves
But there was yet three hidden.
Skilled Lord Celebrimbor,
Maker of the secret three,
Took them in concealment
To the high Eldar hierarchy,
Who swore as one to guard
And keep them safely.
Then Sauron rose in wrath,
At what Celebrimbor had done.
Sauron slayed him and his family,
Slaughtered them, all but one.
He cursed the infant Tinnuhen,
And trapped her out of time,
Suspending her spirit from earth
Asleep her body would lie until
Through her empty dreams
She heard a mortal child cry.
Eldar found the sleeping child,
And took the cursed Tinnuhen
To lay in uneasy rigid rest among
The golden trees of Lothlorien.
There Tinnuhen lay quiet
Though many years passed.
Strong was the malicious spell
That the Evil One had cast;
Many times the leaves fell,
And still it held her fast.
She remained yet unmoving
Under blossoms of radiant gold,
In the warmth of Lothlorien
She was silent and cold.
Never sleeping, never waking,
Child of the dusky twilight,
Endlessly caught ‘tween
Setting sun and starless night,
Tinnuhen lay in the gentle care
Of the great Lady of Light.
For Galadriel yet had hope,
That Tinnuhen would wake soon,
To breathe sweet air again
And remember sun and moon.
Around the child Elves wept,
There was many a tear or sigh,
Still not to her empty ears
Came the desolate cry
Of some sad mortal child
Made and destined to die.
When faith had all but fled
Hope came on wings of fear.
A mortal boy, nestling on his
Mother’s breast, and in his eye, a tear.
A great manhad been killed,
The chief of the Dunedain.
And his widowed wife,
With their infant son,
Was fleeing to Imladris
Through Lothlorien.
The troubled, frightened child,
Hearing his mother sob and sigh,
Trembled with painful sorrow
And lifted his voice to cry.
And Tinnuhen heard,
Through her night-filled ears,
Released from wandering
Through timeless years,
Blessed and saved by
The mortal gift of tears.
Freed from the Evil One
By the cry of a mortal child,
Released into life, Tinnuhen
Awakened, and smiled.

All honor and respect intended for J.R.R. Tolkien!


I once made a doll.

A small, beautiful doll asleep in a walnut-shell. I named the baby “Tinnuhen,” (which, as awkward as it sounds, is actually Sindarin for “Child of Twilight,” [although Celebrimbor was a Teleri and probably would have spoken Quenya,]) and wrote little story about why she could never wake up. And then I gave the doll to a friend for Christmas.

But this friend was horrified that I could let a baby be cursed with eternal sleep like that, and begged me to rewrite this child’s history.

I was also enthralled by legends. Particularly legends that were preserved in the form of Lays. (I had just been reading the “Lays of Beleriand”.)

So I put to two together, and created my own little bit of Middle-Earth lore.

One of my favorite things about Middle-Earth is that is so complete a world that anyone can easily take up imaginary residence in the land. While this has led to some horrific fan-fiction, it also open the possibility for us to see more in Middle-earth Than Tolkien wrote about.

While the rhythm and rhyme is too simplistic, I enjoyed the experiment in narrative poetry. It was fun! And this poor accursed babe has always stayed close in my heart. So I felt that I had to share this with you!

3 thoughts on “The Lay of Tinnuhen

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: “She Who Weeps”: The Value of Suffering in Tolkien « Pages Unbound

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