Author Name: Linda Hoyland
Prompt: The Favourite Poet - Alma- Tadema
Summary: Arwen, Éowyn, and Adiva discuss poetry
Author's Notes: Lady Adiva is wife to the Ambassador from Harad and a recurring OC of mine.
Disclaimer - These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
Arwen, Éowyn, and Adiva reclined on silken cushions after an afternoon spent relaxing in the hamam at Ambassador Tahir and Lady Adiva’s spacious residence in the sixth circle. As was their custom, they were sipping sherbet tea.
Arwen and Éowyn were discussing naming a new foal recently born to one of Éowyn’s brood mares, while Adiva was perusing a scroll.
“I am thinking of naming her for her beautiful black mane,” said Éowyn. She sipped her tea thoughtfully.
“Why not name her for the star on her forehead?” suggested Arwen.
Adiva looked up from the scroll. “Why not call the foal Lúthien?” She said.
The other ladies looked at her in surprise. “As I now dwell in your land, esteemed friends,” said Adiva. “I thought I should study your poetry. I am reading the Lay of Lúthien. She was a most remarkable lady. Who wrote the poem, esteemed friends?”
“I do not know,” said Arwen. She leaned back against the cushions and settled herself more comfortably. “An Elvish bard most likely. His name is lost in the mists of time.”
“His name?” Adiva sounded surprised. “In Harad poetry is not considered a suitable occupation for a man, as magic is considered to be the domain of women.”
“Magic?” Éowyn sounded puzzled.
“A poem is a word spell,” said Adiva.
“Most poetry is written by men amongst our people, “ said Arwen. “Our husbands love poetry. Estel is always reading it and reciting it to me.”
“Faramir often writes poems for me,” said Éowyn. “He is a talented poet.”
“Is poetry not prized in Harad then, as it is in the western lands?” asked Arwen.
Adiva’s dark eyes flashed. “We revere poetry as much as you do, esteemed friends. Our poets enjoy a freedom that few other of our women have. They are considered to be favoured by the Lady of the Moon and specially chosen by her to be touched with her gift of word magic.”
“I am sorry,” said Arwen. “I know little of your customs. Please forgive me, my friend. I should like to hear some of your poetry.”
Adiva inclined her head. “Of course, I pardon you, esteemed friend. I spoke too hastily. This is one of my favourite poems by the esteemed Lady Qirat. It loses much in translation into your tongue, but it goes something like,
O Lady bright, the Queen of Night,
We your children hail your light!
Protect us from sun’s searing rays
Bring us safe to twilight days.”
“That is beautiful!” exclaimed Arwen. “It reminds me of a hymn we sing to Lady Star Gatherer.
Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!
O Queen beyond the Western Seas!
O Light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!
Sadly, that loses much in translation too.”
“The women of the Mark compose songs,” said Éowyn. “Our themes might be less lofty than yours, but we make hearty songs to sing in our halls to cheer a winter’s night. We sing of our horses and the plains which they gallop across.”
“We sing of horses too,” said Adiva. “The esteemed Lady Qirat also writes of horses galloping across the desert in the moonlight.”
“I should like to hear that poem,” said Éowyn.
“We should celebrate the poetry of all our homelands,” said Arwen. “Estel asked me to think of a new way we could celebrate the spring festival and what could be better than that we share the poems of our different lands? Everyone who wished could take part, including the children. Estel would open the festival then everyone who wished could stand before the White Tree and read a poem. Heralds shall proclaim a contest open to all, men, women, and children, to compose a new poem.”
“We could sing songs too,” said Éowyn.
“An excellent idea, esteemed friends,” said Adiva. “I shall read esteemed Lady Qirat’s “Hooves across the sand. I hope the listeners will be transported to our desert land by the power of Lady Qirat’s words.”
“There is indeed magic in poetry,” said Arwen. “The magic of words to unite us.”