Círdan the Shipwright, once bearer of a Ring,
          Ancient Founder of Mithlond in the fair Gulf of Lhûn;
          Grey Haven of peace for the twilight times.
          He stands amidst the trees of the forested shore,
          The truest and strongest ones he selects;
          Bright chips fly as he oversees their felling.
          He envisions great beauty brought out of their substance -
          Time works its will, passes him over:
          Ribbons of butter yellow streaked with sunset gold,
          Heavy with sap, the new wood is cured and aged
          To a softer silver sheen under his care,
          Or glows deeper red, with the tigers-eye luster,
          Rubbed with fragrant oils and white beeswax.
          Strength and grace are gained in the passing of years.

          Faithful hands, working to fulfill other’s heart-desires:
          To cross the sundering seas, a lasting chance to heal.
          Lumber lays sweet and fragrant among the shavings.
          Well-worn carpenter’s tools come readily to hand,
          Beams are shaped, each one specially chosen,
          Each one softly blessed and perfectly placed.
          Carving and smoothing each waiting joint and plank.
          Not a glory-seeker, but one who often helps in silence,
          Content to be a faithful steward of his chosen task;
          Providing shelter for the weary and distressed.

          Resin beads on sun-warmed wood, glints of golden and amber,
          Red and brown, white and saffron; sweet and pungent
          The afternoon’s warm sun raises a familiar incense to him -
          Mix of resin, scent of oils, woodsmoke and the sea.
          Salt spray, salt air, and the cries of seabirds fill his days.
          Like the one who took up his Ring after him,
          He remains a steward of the promises of others,
          Giving of his lifetime that others may live.

          The seasons pass.
          His memories lie longer than the dark mountain-shadows
          Whose aching reach strives to touch the ocean waves
          Each sunrise.
          His memories are far deeper than the sea.
          His season as a warrior is past, but he remembers -
          He remembers the weariness of battle and of fear,
          The loss of his king,
          The depths of all the changing ages,
          Stars in the sky, sand through his fingers.
          Taupe and cream swirl with the many-hues of earth,
          The sand shows its varied face according to the seasons.
          As the hearts of men and elves will shift, it watches time pass by;
          Cold and stiffened, smooth and markless in the brittle hands of winter,
          Golden soft with summer warmth, to comfort in the sun.
          Shifting always, ever changing yet unchanged in its essence,
          As they are, as they do  – the good and evil alike.
          He finds comfort in the eternity of the sand and sea.
          The years circle round as the plane and chisel mark their passage.

          Such it has always been - that not all choose to take a warrior’s place,
          To stay among them.  Fate does not decree that
          Strength of mind and heart and life;
          Must be consumed in danger and daring.
          Often, the bright burning and clear-eyed may be set aside,
          Or turn aside,
          Drawn away to softer flowing paths
          Their tasks less immediate yet more lasting.
          Their honor is none the less for it.

          The rising breeze dishevels his silver hair -
          At daybreak he sees the wind lifting the mist off the breaking waves.
          The voice of the wind hissing over the dunes is soft in his dreams,
          Sand serpentines shift, rippling in a passing storm,
          The trees that yet stand moan in the night,
          The ships that once knew them sleep softly in the harbor.
          The winds do not move him, the seasons touch him not.
          He carries out the task of supporting, providing,
          Faithfully there to catch the great ones when they fall,
          When their time has run its course he takes them home.
          Years he spends preparing, far before the need’s arising.
          Long-planning, far-seeing, disciplined and patient.
          Salt rime crusts on the sea-grasses as they bend,
          White as hoarfrost, the tideline marked in dwindling froth
          Cannot reach them. He knows some things can never be reached
          Unless there is a storm.

          Dwelling by the sea, he works curing, shaping fine wood,
          Oiled and rubbed until silken to the touch, polished and gilded.
          Swan-shapes and flowers, leaves and stars...
          How can he capture their light?
          They are ever in his thoughts, the patient guiding stars
          Waiting overhead each night, their starlight on the waters.
          The means of escape from unbearable weariness and woe
          Is in his hands and under their guidance.
          Watching faithfully over the Grey Havens and the sea,
          Círdan the Shipwright of old.


A. Buckles / '03