Bitter Valentine's Day Poetry Challenge

Untender is the night

1. Untender is the night


I stare into the darkness long and hard,
See nothing, full-willing, and I feel
The bite of the wind, chilling but a little more
Body and soul already cold-clad in steel.

I am as this coat of hard silver mail,
Wrought of frozen moonlight, palely glinting.
Iron draped over a form as of a maiden,
But no warmth within, no heart a-beating.

I wish not for dawn, nor campfire’s warmth,
None but that of your living embrace.
I have no hope of such; to ward off the chill
I have but the dream of hot blood on my face.

Fair lord and tall, you rode in on the storm,
Swept away doubting darkness, and men to war.
From strange lands of Elf-magic your destiny bore you,
Yours was a greatnesss that none could ignore.

Too long I’d seen our fortune falling,
Valour dimming and dying light, and even such
Withheld from me, that they would have keeping
To dim entombment of bower and hearth.

To victory you led them, my country, my kin;
Defied sorcerous malice with bright-gleaming steel,
You drew blade with my brother and guarded my king,
But averted your gaze from what mine would reveal.

E’en more in awe I stood when you returned,
Battle-wearied and stern-willed far beyond my ken,
Carried onwards and further on the eagle wings of fate
My love and my grief grew fey and dark then.

Wild-eyed and untender, a shieldmaiden’s love.
Would you not taste of wanton despair?
Nay; so terrible wise, my lord, and more cruel;
All you could give me was sorrowful care.

And I had offered up, besides ungainly love,
More skilled, my sword arm to fight at your side;
The bitterer blow, that this too be hind’rance to you.
Dreams of escape and valour—all you denied.

A weird was upon you that I have no part in,
Though on my knees I begged to stay at your side;
As your strange-eyed companions that stood silent by,
For your love I’d’ve followed and battled and died.

But you—bid me rise, and see sense, and be tame,
A soft-stepping maid, to keep home and cold virtue
Bid me go mad, with your pity. How might I take heed,
My love, of such counsel, when to very death went you?

No Sun ever rose for me that fateful morn
When in grey before daybreak you rode off far from me.
There is no outcome that I might rejoice in,
For I could bear neither your death nor your glory

And the Shadow grows. What bleak folly is mine
To darkly exult in this violent end?
Indeed not in gladness this dread path I choose,
But at last I will not stay behind and defend.

Lord of Men, the gift of my heart and my sword,
Both you spurned. So be it. Through deepening night,
I ride out to battle, to face darkling foe;
Death take the maidenhead of Eowyn the White.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.


In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Pika

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/20/03

Original Post: 04/06/03

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