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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
"None has yet defined him, for Tom is an enigma"

squire
Valinor


Jan 31 2013, 1:27am


Views: 187
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"None has yet defined him, for Tom is an enigma" [In reply to] Can't Post

I did enjoy your essay, but the conclusion feels forced and "heightened". I feel it tends to contradict Tolkien's own explanation, however inconsistent that is with the very idea of Middle-earth. To the author's definitive statement that Tom is "the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside." (Letters, #19), the obvious rejoinder is: what the heck does Oxfordshire have to do with Middle-earth? And the obvious if somewhat Zenlike answer is: exactly!

I put my thoughts into verse, in homage to Tom, back in 2005:

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow;
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has yet defined him, for Tom is an enigma
All those who try to do it fail and soon they feel the stigma.

By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow
He seems to be the countryside, does old Tom Bombadillo
Is he a Nature Spirit, dancing through the seasons?
Tolkien seemed to say so, though he did not give his reasons.

He cannot be a Hobbit though for sure he is so jolly.
No kind of Elf is Tom, you will not hear him sing fa-lally!
Nor mortal Man of Middle-earth, by Ring-lust made the bolder,
Nor Ent of ancient forest realms, for Tom is even older.

Of the dwarvish folk the father was the Vala known as Aulë
And some propose that Tom is he, a guess of utter faulë.
Like any of the Valar, he would fear no wraiths of Sauron!
To use my favorite rhyme, that is the theory of a mauron.

And do not even mention the All-father, Ilúvatar
Though Goldberry declares “He Is”, the phrase holds little water.
Tolkien said that merely is a comment about naming,
For Eru will not walk the Earth until the End a-flaming.

Who’s left? the evil Witch-King, of Angmar lord of old,
Has been slyly suggested but the humor soon grows cold.
For many the all-purpose term of Maia fits the bill
But such a being would surely rate a mention in the Sil.

By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come, Tom Bombadil, our need to know is near us!
Who are you Master? “Don’t you know my name yet?
Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?”

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow;
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has yet defined him, for Tom is an enigma
All those who try to do it fail and soon they feel the stigma.




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Subject User Time
Tom Bombadil As the Spirit of the Music of the Ainur rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Jan 17 2013, 4:27pm
    Thanks for this! Radagast-Aiwendil Send a private message to Radagast-Aiwendil Jan 17 2013, 8:57pm
    Great Theory Lost_istari Send a private message to Lost_istari Jan 18 2013, 7:56pm
        Thank you much rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Jan 22 2013, 2:07pm
        Agreed CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 23 2013, 5:53pm
            A quick thought on children of Ainur Lost_istari Send a private message to Lost_istari Jan 24 2013, 6:46am
    Excellent theory! FlyingSerkis Send a private message to FlyingSerkis Jan 23 2013, 9:13pm
        Thank You rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Jan 23 2013, 9:33pm
    Regarding Bombadil's boundedness Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Jan 28 2013, 5:59am
    I Know Tolkien Forever Send a private message to Tolkien Forever Jan 30 2013, 8:38pm
    "None has yet defined him, for Tom is an enigma" squire Send a private message to squire Jan 31 2013, 1:27am
        Great poem/ CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 31 2013, 1:34am
        Great Poem Indeed rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Jan 31 2013, 2:29am
            It is certainly a great topic to debate squire Send a private message to squire Feb 1 2013, 3:14am
                a "most" dangerous discussion rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Feb 1 2013, 3:32pm
                    ATB was published after LOTR. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Feb 1 2013, 5:55pm
                        yes yes it was rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Feb 1 2013, 6:14pm
                        thats where the confusion came from rangerfromthenorth Send a private message to rangerfromthenorth Feb 1 2013, 6:22pm
                            Tolkien did alter the poem for its 1962 re-publication. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Feb 1 2013, 7:51pm
                    Very nicely stated squire Send a private message to squire Feb 1 2013, 8:38pm
    This may interest you. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Feb 1 2013, 5:46am

 
 
 

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