20+ Best John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Poems You Should Read

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE FRSL was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic. He was the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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Famous John Ronald Reuel Tolkien Poems

Namárië

Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
Mi oromardi lissë-miruvóreva
Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar
Nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni
Omaryo airetári-lírinen.
Sí man i yulma nin enquantuva?

An sí Tintallë Varda Oiolossëo
Ve fanyar máryat Elentári ortanë
Ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë
Ar sindanóriello caita mornië
I falmalinnar imbë met,
Ar hísië untúpa Calaciryo míri oialë.
Sí vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!

Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar!
Nai elyë hiruva! Namárië!

Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
Long years numberless as the wings of trees!
The long years have passed like swift draughts
Of the sweet mead in lofty halls
Beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda
Wherein the stars tremble
In the voice of her song, holy and queenly.
Who now shall refill the cup for me?

For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the stars,
From Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds
And all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
And out of a grey country darkness lies
On the foaming waves between us,
And mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever.
Now lost, lost to those of the East is Valimar!

Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar!
Maybe even thou shalt find it! Farewell!

Lebennin

Silver flow the streams from Colos to Erui
In the green fields of Lebennin!
Tall grows the grass there. In the wind from the Sea
The white lilies sway,
And the golden bells are shaken of mallos and alfirin
In the green fields of Lebennin,
In the wind from the Sea!

Lament for Eorl the Young

Where now is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the deadwood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

Lament for Boromir

Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass grows,
The West Wind comes walking, and about the walls it goes.
‘What news from the West, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight?
Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight?’
‘I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey.
I saw him walk in empty lands, until he passed away
Into the shadows of the North. I saw him then no more.
The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor.’
‘O Boromir! From the high walls westward I looked afar,
But you came not from the empty lands where no men are.’

From the mouths of the sea the South Wind flies, from the sandhills and the stones;
The wailing of the gulls it hears, and at the gate it moans.
‘What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Boromir the fair? He tarries and I grieve!’
‘Ask me not of where he doth dwell–so many bones there lie
On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky;
So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea.
Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me!’
‘O Boromir! Beyond the gate the seaward road runs south,
But you came not with the wailing gulls from the grey sea’s mouth.’

From the Gate of Kings the North Wind rides, and past the roaring falls;
And clear and cold about the tower its loud horn calls.
‘What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the Bold? For he is long away.’
‘Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought.
His cloven sheild, his broken sword, they to the water brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest;
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.’
‘O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.’

Journey’s End

In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there maybe ’tis cloudless night,
And swaying branches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

I Sit and Think

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall never see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

Gil-galad

Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
The last whose realm was fair and free
Between the mountains and the sea.

His sword was long, his lance was keen.
His shining helm afar was seen.
The countless stars of heaven’s field
Were mirrored in his silver shield.

But long ago he rode away,
And where he dwelleth none can say.
For into darkness fell his star;
In Mordor, where the shadows are.

Gandalf’s Song of Lorien

In Dwimordene, in Lorien
Seldom have walked the feet of men,
Few mortal eyes have seen the light
That lies there ever, long and bright.
Galadriel! Galadriel!
Clear is the water of your well;
White is the stars in your white hand;
Unmarred, unstained is leaf and land
In Dwimordene, in Lorien
More fair than thoughts of Mortal Men.

Finrod’s Song

He chanted a song of wizardry,
Of piercing, opening, of treachery,
Revealing, uncovering, betraying.
Then sudden Felagund there swaying
Sang in answer a song of staying,
Resisting, battling against power,
Of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
And trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
Of changing and of shifting shape
Of snares eluded, broken traps,
The prison opening, the chain that snaps.
Backwards and forwards swayed their song.
Reeling and foundering, as ever more strong
The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
And all the magic and might he brought
Of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
Singing afar in Nargothrond,
The sighing of the Sea beyond,
Beyond the western world, on sand,
On sand of pearls in Elvenland.
Then the gloom gathered; darkness growing
In Valinor, the red blood flowing
Beside the Sea, where the Noldor slew
The Foamriders, and stealing drew
Their white ships with their white sails
From lamplit havens. The wind wails,
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouths of the Sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn —
And Finrod fell before the throne.

Elbereth

Snow-white! Snow-white! O lady clear!
O Queen beyond the Western Sea!
O Light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!

Gilthoniel! O Elbereth!
Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath.
Snow-white! Snow-white! We sing to thee
In a far land beyond the Sea.

O stars that in the Sunless Year
With shining hand by her were sown,
In windy fields now bright and clear
We see your silver blossom blown.

O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees,
Thy starlight on the Western Seas.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
Silivren penna miriel
O menal aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-diriel
O galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, si nef aearon!

Ai! laurie lantar lassi surinen!
Yeni unotime ve ramar aldaron,
Yeni ve linte yuldar vanier
Mi oromardi lisse-miruvoreva
Andune pella Vardo tellumar
Nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni
Omaryo airetari-lirinen.

Si man i yulma nin enquantuva?

An si Tintalle Varda Oilosseo
Ve fanyar maryat Elentari ortane,
Ar ilye tier undulare lumbule;
Ar sindanoriello caita mornie
I falmalinnar imbe met, ar hisie
Untupa Calaciryo miri oiale.
Si vanwa na, Romello vanwa, Valimar!
Namarie! Nai hiruvalye Valimar.
Nai elye hiruva. Namarie!

Ah! Like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
Long years numberless as the wings of trees!
The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead
In lofty halls beyond the West
Beneath the blue vaults of Varda
Wherein the stars tremble in the song of her voice,
Holy and queenly.

Who now shall refill the cup for me?

For now the Kindler, Varda,
The Queen of the Stars, from Mount Everwhite
Has uplifted her hands like clouds,
And all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
And out of a grey country darkness lies on the foaming waves between us,
And mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever.
Now lost, lost to those from the East is Valimar!

Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar.
Maybe even thou shalt find it! Farewell!

Gilthoniel A Elbereth!
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
O menel palan-diriel,
Le nallon si dinguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!

A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!
Silivren penna miriel
O menal aglar elenath,
Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees
Thy starlight on the Western Seas.

Earendil

Earendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in;
her sails he wove of silver fair,
of silver were her lanterns made,
her prow was fashioned like a swan
and light upon her banners laid.

In panolpy of ancient kings,
in chained rings he armoured him;
his shining shield was scored with runes
to ward all wounds and harm from him;
his bow was made of dragon-horn,
his arrows shorn of ebony;
of silver was his habergeon,
his scabbard of chalcedony;
his sword of steel was valient,
of adamant his helmet tall,
an eagle-plume upon his crest,
upon his breast an emerald.

Beneath the Moon and under star
he wandered far from northern strands,
bewildered on enchanted ways
beyond the days of mortal lands.

From gnashing of the Narrow Ice
where shadow lies on frozen hills,
from nether heats and burning waste
he turned in haste, and roving still
on starless waters far astray
at last he came to Night of Naught,
and passed, and never sight he saw
of shining shore nor light he sought.

The winds of wrath came driving him,
and blindly in the foam he fled
from west to east and errandless,
unheralded he homeward sped.

There flying Elwing came to him,
and flame was in the darkness lit;
more bright than light of diamond
the fire on her carcanet.

The Silmaril she bound on him
and crowned him with the living light,
and dauntless then with burning brow
he turned his prow; and in the night
from otherworld beyond the Sea
there strong and free a storm arose,
a wind of power in Tarmenel;
by paths that seldom mortal goes
his boat it bore with biting breath
as might of death across the grey
and long forsaken seas distressed;
from east to west he passed away.

Thought Evernight he back was borne
on black and roaring waves that ran
o’er leagues unlit and foundered shores
that drowned before the Days began,
until he hears on strands of pearl
where end the world the music long,
where ever-foaming billows roll
the yellow gold and jewels wan.

He saw the Mountain silent rise
where twilight lies upon the knees
of Valinor, and Eldamar
beheld afar beyond the seas.

A wanderer escaped from night
to haven white he came at last,
to Elvenhome the green and fair
where keen the air, where pale as glass
beneath the Hill of Ilmarin
a-glimmer in a valley sheer
the lamplit towers of Tirion
are mirrored on the Shadowmere.

He tarried there from errantry,
and melodies they taught to him,
and sages old him marvels told,
and harps of gold they brought to him.

They clothed him then in elven-white,
and seven lights before him sent,
as through the Calacirian
to hidden land forlorn he went.

He came unto the timeless halls
where shining fall the countless years,
and endless reigns the Elder King
in Ilmarin on Mountain sheer;
and words unheard were spoken then
of folk and Men and Elven-kin,
beyond the world were visions showed
forbid to those that dwell therein.

A ship then new they built for him
of mithril and of elven glass
with shining prow; no shaven oar
nor sail she bore on silver mast:
the Silmaril as lantern light
and banner bright with living flame
to gleam thereon by Elbereth
herself was set, who thither came
and wings immortal made for him,
and laid on him undying doom,
to sail the shoreless skies and come
behind the Sun and light of Moon.

From Evergreen’s lofty hills
where softly silver fountains fall
his wings him bore, a wandering light,
beyond the mighty Mountain Wall.

From a World’s End there he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star
on high above the mists he came,
a distant flame before the Sun,
a wonder ere the waking dawn
where grey the Norland waters run.

And over Middle-Earth he passed
and heard at last the weeping sore
of women and of elven-maids
in Elder Days, in years of yore.

But on him mighty doom was laid,
till Moon should fade, an orbed star
to pass, and tarry never more
on Hither Shores where Mortals are;
or ever still a herald on
an errand that should never rest
to bear his shining lamp afar,
to Flammifer of Westernesse.

Durin

The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone,
When Durin woke and walked along.
He named the nameless hills and delles;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stopped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head.
The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty kings in Nargothrond
And Gondolin, who now beyond
The Western Seas have passed away.
The world was fair in Durin’s Day.

A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shown for ever fair and bright.

There hammer on the anvil smote,
There chisel clove, and graver wrote;
There forged was blade, and bound was hilt;
The delver mined, the mason built.
There beryl, pearl, and opal pale,
And metal wrought like fishes’ mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard.
Unwearied then were Durin’s folk;
Beneath the mountain music woke:
The harpers harped, the minstrels sang,
And at the gates the trumpets rang.

The world is grey, the mountains old,
The forge’s fire is ashen-cold;
No harp is wrung, no hammer falls:
The darkness dwells in Durin’s halls;
The shadow lies upon his tomb
In Moria, in Khazad-dum.
But still the sunken stars appear
In dark and windless Mirrormere;
There lies his crown in water deep.
Till Durin wakes again from sleep.

Cat

The fat cat on the mat
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.
The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
leaps upon his meat
where woods loom in gloom —
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet
he does not forget.

Bregalad’s Lament

O Orofarne, Lassemista, Carnimirie!
O rowan fair, upon your hair how white the blossom lay!
O rowan mine, I saw you shine upon a summer’s day,
Your rind so bright, your leaves so light, your voice so cool and soft!
Upon your head how golden-red the crown you bare aloft!
O rowan dead, upon your head your haif is dry and grey;
Your crown is spilled, your voice is stilled for ever and a day.
O Orofarne, Lassemista, Carnimirie!

Bilbo’s Last Song (At the Grey Havens)

Day is ended, dim my eyes,
But journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the sea.

Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
the wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
beneath the ever-bending sky,
but islands lie behind the Sun
that i shall raise ere all is done;
lands there are to west of West,
where night is quiet and sleep is rest.

Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I’ll find the heavens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the star above my mast!

Bath-Song

Sing hey! For the bath at close of day
that washes the weary mud away
A loon is he that will not sing
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better then rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed
but better is beer if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.

O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!

Athelas

When the black breath blows,
And death’s shadow grows,
Come Athelas! Come Athelas!
Life to the dying,
In the king’s hand lying!

All Ye Joyful

Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!
The wind’s in the tree-top, the wind’s in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of night in her tower.

Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together!
Soft is the grass, and let foot be like feather!
The river is silver, the shadows are fleeting;
Merry is May-time, and merry our meeting.

Sigh no more pine, till the wind of the morn!
Fall Moon! Dark be the land!
Hush! Hush! Oak, ash and thorn!
Hushed by all water, till dawn is at hand!

All Woods Must Fail

O! Wanderers in the shadowed land
Despair not! For though dark they stand,
All woods there be must end at last,
And see the open sun go past:
The setting sun, the rising sun,
The day’s end, or the day begun.
For east or west all woods must fail.

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

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