My heart has gone grey and still as death;
A burden of sorrow, such heaviness of grief.
I have wandered far, so terribly far
Into the twisting shadow-paths,
And darkened valleys of this neverending night.
Mists of darkness curl and twine about me;
Cloying and acrid with the scent of a tomb,
Old ashes, the faint tang of long-dried blood -
Ah, I am lost! The wind hisses over the
Shattered cold cinders and ash of my life.
My sword burned away, like a piece of wood...
Such merciless cold, I cannot move my arm!
Dark gates lay before me, blackened
By long-dead fires that still burn with icy tongue.
Lost! All is lost, and I cannot find my way;
All paths lead to the grave, inescapable.
Black terrors surround me, pulling me down.
I cannot escape the echoes of that wailing shriek;
Shivering, I perceive the dark, sunken well
Of long, endless years; the deep horrors
That created that which I dared to smite.
No! Such memories I cannot bear to recall!
It repeats before my eyes again, and again,
The fear and the palpable evil
Looming above me, over the broken remains
Of one who was dear to my heart...
Struggling to find the light again,
I only sink closer to death's cold embrace.
Are they going to bury me? I am lost!
A voice calls above the heavy shadows,
From out beyond the fear-haunted darkness.
At first heard as from some faraway place;
Part of some other life I once knew, long ago.
With a warm, gentle stirring in the air,
The cold mists become ragged, in thin
Tattered shreds reluctantly giving way to
This voice: familiar, beloved, well-known.
Gently persistent, and filled with strength.
The darkness flees before his Will.
He calls my name, like a soothing touch;
A foothold in reality, in living, in life.
Do not forget who you are, Meriadoc,
Child of the peaceful Shire.
Wander not, nor fear; come home to me.
Come back to the light, little one -
Return to your hope, and live again.
The way is open, and all is not lost.
Let me take your hand, let me hold you.
The fading in the mist shall not claim you,
Nor shall the icy grave enclose you.
Your spirit shines out strong and bright,
And your loving heart was not meant
To be darkened by such as this. Peace.
Come to me, Merry, and be comforted.
Sleep. The nightmares are ended.
Come out of the dark valley;
Your enemy is gone.
The cold tide of fear ebbs away...
Warmth courses through heart and limbs.
My eyes feel heavy with weariness,
But through my lashes I see there is light,
And with it, an awareness of friends nearby.
The freshness of spring, of rich orchards
And dew-touched blossoms in flower;
Sweet remembrances as I know
That guiding hand, yet leading by touch
Both strong and gentle. Here is rest.
His hand comforts, warm in my hair.
Here is life, and hope restored.
The hand and voice of the Healer.
The grieving will remain -
Yes, grief you will have,
But it will not hold you back,
Nor steal away your warmth,
Nor cloud your memories.
In such grieving as this is found wisdom,
And in wisdom you will find your strength.
Do not forget who you are Meriadoc,
Child of the unwithered Shire.
Awake. And live again.
A. Buckles / '03