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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
A little-known Tom Bombadil poem?

squire
Valinor


Feb 19 2007, 5:54am


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A little-known Tom Bombadil poem? Can't Post

While burrowing through the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, I came across a reference to a late Tolkien poem about Tom Bombadil and Goldberry that I had never heard of before. It was evidently first published in a children's poetry book in 1965, and is also in a 1969 anthology by Lin Carter. Both are long out of print. It was relatively easy to find on the web, using Shippey's hint that it introduced the "lintips".

This may have been discussed on TORn before, but if it was I missed it. So sorry if this has been talked to death already, but I thought I'd put it up and see what people think it means. Does or doesn't it add to our knowledge and understanding of Tom and Goldberry?


ONCE UPON A TIME

Once upon a day on the fields of May
there was snow in the summer where the blossom lay;
the buttercups tall sent up their light
in a stream of gold, and wide and white
there opened in the green grass-skies
the earth-stars with their steady eyes
watching the Sun climb up and down.
Goldberry was there with a wild-rose crown,
Goldberry was there in a lady-smock
blowing away a dandelion clock,
stooping over a lily-pool
and twiddling the water green and cool
to see it sparkle round her hand:
once upon a time in elvish land.

Once upon a night in the cockshut light
the grass was grey but the dew was white;
shadows were dark, and the Sun was gone,
the earth-stars shut, but the high stars shone,
one to another winking their eyes
as they waited for the Moon to rise.
Up he came, and on leaf and grass
his white beams turned to twinkling glass,
and silver dripped from stem and stalk
down to where the lintips walk
through the grass-forests gathering dew.
Tom was there without boot or shoe,
with moonshine wetting his big, brown toes:
once upon a time, the story goes.

Once upon a moon on the brink of June
a-dewing the lintips went too soon.
Tom stopped and listened, and down he knelt:
"Ha! Little lads! So it was you I smelt?
What a mousy smell! Well, the dew is sweet,
so drink it up, but mind my feet!"
The lintips laughed and stole away,
but old Tom said: "I wish they'd stay!
The only things that won't talk to me,
say what they do or what they be.
I wonder what they have got to hide?
Down from the Moon maybe they slide,
or come in star-winks, I don't know:"
once upon a time and long ago.

-J. R. R. Tolkien, c. 1965





squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

Subject User Time
A little-known Tom Bombadil poem? squire Send a private message to squire Feb 19 2007, 5:54am
    I don't know if it's been talked about before.. Patty Send a private message to Patty Feb 19 2007, 6:33am
    Thank you! N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Feb 19 2007, 7:31am
        Lintips GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Feb 19 2007, 4:58pm
        speaking of Scull and Hammond a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 19 2007, 11:26pm
            The poem referred to Kimi Send a private message to Kimi Feb 20 2007, 1:40am
                wow, Kimi! now, paging Fionnan a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 20 2007, 10:46am
                    I know that "ford" FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Feb 20 2007, 4:49pm
                    I am catted in my determination Kimi Send a private message to Kimi Feb 20 2007, 9:03pm
                        *ears burning* {nt} Aerlinn Send a private message to Aerlinn Feb 20 2007, 9:11pm
                            :-) Kimi Send a private message to Kimi Feb 20 2007, 9:23pm
    does it add to our knowledge of Tom B? a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 19 2007, 1:07pm
        "Once upon a time in elvish land". N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Feb 19 2007, 4:55pm
        Interesting. The elvish land I imagined GaladrielTX Send a private message to GaladrielTX Feb 19 2007, 4:56pm
            you're both right, of course a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 19 2007, 10:59pm
        re FingonOfPittsburgh Send a private message to FingonOfPittsburgh Feb 20 2007, 9:15pm
    The Mystery of Tom Daeorn AldalůmŽ Send a private message to Daeorn AldalůmŽ Feb 19 2007, 9:51pm
    I've always loved Tom Bombadil Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 20 2007, 7:14pm
        tantalizing vagueness a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 21 2007, 1:19am
            Thank you, a.s. Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 21 2007, 7:01pm
                well, she ASKED!! a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 22 2007, 1:15am
                    *Sputters coffee all over computer screen* Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 22 2007, 6:45pm
                        *applause* /nt Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Feb 22 2007, 6:57pm
                            .... Nob of the Pony Send a private message to Nob of the Pony Feb 23 2007, 3:16pm
                                Nice nick Wynnie Send a private message to Wynnie Feb 23 2007, 3:47pm
                        GUNGA TOM!!! a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 22 2007, 7:01pm
                            How quick you are... Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 22 2007, 10:44pm
                                girl, I only had to change a few words!! a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Feb 23 2007, 3:00am
                                    *applause* You two are marvelous! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 23 2007, 3:59am
                                        Stoned Tom... Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 23 2007, 9:57am
                                            LOL! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 23 2007, 1:31pm
                                                *Blushes* Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 23 2007, 3:14pm
                                                    No, no, come back! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 23 2007, 4:27pm
                                                        It's ok... Elanor Send a private message to Elanor Feb 23 2007, 5:20pm
                                                            I understand completely. dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 23 2007, 9:16pm
                                                    dernwyn beat me to it, but Alraune Send a private message to Alraune Feb 23 2007, 4:34pm
                                                        Sniffily! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 23 2007, 9:03pm
                                                            Yes, beware! Alraune Send a private message to Alraune Feb 24 2007, 8:05am
                                                                Sacrilege - *gasp!* dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Feb 24 2007, 6:36pm
                    *bookmarks* / Aerin Send a private message to Aerin Feb 23 2007, 5:31am
    Lady-smock Kimi Send a private message to Kimi Feb 20 2007, 9:24pm
        It's almost a riddle, this poem FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Feb 22 2007, 3:59pm
    "This may have been discussed on TORn before" N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jan 4 2008, 3:33am
        The Gods have big brown feet of clay squire Send a private message to squire Jan 4 2008, 4:29am
            Tom is a god? dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Jan 4 2008, 1:25pm
    Douglas Anderson commented on the poem lately. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Oct 4 2013, 3:49pm
        Correction N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Oct 4 2013, 7:25pm

 
 
 

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