The Banks of the Anduin


                  He stands over me in the dark of the night,
                  Crowned with stars
                  Sweet light fading in the unclean grasping
                  Fingers of eastern cloud as it
                  Reaches out, intruding between
                  My eyes and theirs.
                  His keen eyes see nothing.
                  Out of the night's stillness,
                  An unearthly cry. Without thought I am suddenly
                  Crouching down, nowhere to go - where can I hide?
                  Some long-forgotten voice buried deep in my being cries out:
                  Burrow into the brown, concealing blanket of earth!...
                  To some hidden place among the roots of trees
                  Where none can find me.
                  River gravel bites into the palms of my hands:
                  Hard, sharp, cold and wet. Scented of rotting leaves,
                  Mud pulls at me with clammy fingers,
                  Soaks unheeded into my cloak; the endless slow decay
                  Of this wooded bank presses in around me.
                  Listening. Listening. I dare not even breathe.
                  No sound now but the soft hiss and lap,
                  The deep murmur of the ever-passing river,
                  Silence.  Muted
                  Distant cries of enemies over the grey-glinting waters.
                  My enemies. Mine. My own.
                  They will catch me if they can, they will take it...
                  In the night, the world loses its color and substance.
                  Hues of grey, deepest blue, darkest black...blacker than midnight,
                  Blacker than any shadow of this world has right to be
                  On wings approaching.
                  On wings.
                  Pain suddenly claws at my shoulder, aching, remembering.
                  Fear raises up before me, mesmerizes my thoughts, holds me in its web.
                  Where can I go that it cannot find me?
                  How can I not be found?
                  They will find me.
                  Horror, as a wave, washes over my being -
                  This is no dream, this is no nightmare. I will be consumed in this icy darkness,
                  Pulled under the waters of this fear to drown forever.
                  Held under by this ring of burning fire until my struggles cease,
                  Forever still; the cold water of death washing over me,
                  Trapped without rest in a grave without decay,
                  No breath of life,
                  No peace of death.
                  I am lost.
                  It is lost.
                  The bow suddenly sings above me;
                  The fearless slender bolt seeking its mark.
                  There is a scream in the dark...
                  And it is
                  My breath shudders back into my body.
                  The night is soft, and clean, and silent again.
                  I look up at the tall Elf above me,
                  Crowned with stars.


A. Buckles / '03