Song for Elbereth  (poem)

(written for a national prose+poetry competition Gondorian seedling 2019, theme: "Hope can be found in unlikely places". I hope my translation keeps the sense and rhythm. For original please see here.

First, context for all those who have not read Silmarillion or no longer remember:

    Arda was created and supervised by 14 gods called Valar. One of them, Varda, is very important to the elves - she created stars and so she brought the light to still black sky. The elves call her Elbereth, Gilthoniel (she who lighted the stars) or Elentári.

   The most powerful of these creators named Melkor (also Morgoth) has corrupted himself and has only harmed everyone since the creation of Arda. It is said that he bred a breed of goblins from captured elves, whom he long and cruelly tortured.

    But did everyone from the elves really go wrong and succumb?

This creation is an extrapolation of a slight note in Silmarillion. It is only like I have imagined it. Main idea is following the given task "Hope can be found in unlikely places".
It is on the edge of canon, but it is not utterly impossible.



Song for Elbereth

Middle-earth is full of beauty

Quendi folk sing tenderly

intertwining polyphonies

campfires, cosiness and glee.


They praise also stars of Valar:

Nénar, Carnil - flower of red

put a bit of herself inside,

chased away the darkness aside

lovely Varda, Elbereth!


Agile shadows in the dark night

in the thickets flickered,

elves didn’t have no time to fight

in the darkness kidnapped.


Carried on unhuman strong limbs

So fast, covered with cold sweat

through moss under tree canopies,

over high hills, through dark gorges,

will you help them, Elbereth?


Huge black gate yawned into the night

to underground, into  naught,

welcome here, oh, creatures of light,

here’s your new home - Utumno!


You will all become my servants

in my dark mines crawl to death

never sweetly singing again

obey, cower, taking the pain

despite of that Elbereth!


With me you’ll live the worst horror,

taste my torment more than near

just those who know wrath of Melkor,

experience what is fear.


Flame is blazing, burning, fiery

More than anyone can stand

is our fate sealed, Elentari?

Don’t let us die, save us, hurry,

help us, mighty Elbereth!


Dug underground like some earthworms

in the darkness, in black lair

without food, imprisoned for months

helplesness, filth and despair.


You were beautiful, my lovely,

starshine eyes, cheeks blushing red,

where´s the graceful curve of body,

and your hair, silky and wavy,

where are they, oh, Elbereth!


Earlier like spring walnut-tree leaves

golden-copper, you could see

now just shadow of northern clouds,

so they have changed terribly.


Driven mad by vexing hunger,

better kill than starve to death. 

Don't murder your beloved brother,

don't take raw flesh as new fodder,

advices them Elbereth. 


Gilthoniel gently whispers:

resist, don't fall in the trap, 

despite effort, vain are the words, 

almost every elf gave up. 


Instead of love, rancor budded

like an ulcer on forehead

cruelty, malice and hatred…

Goodness? Now they don't know of it... 

Will you forgive, Elbereth? 


Dreadful Melkor's plans are outlined

dominate their souls he wants.

But one secret corner of mind

cannot be revealed by force.


Although they're now thralls of evil

and by dark lord conquered, 

one of them is remembering, 

one knows who has tought them to sing,

Lady of stars, Elbereth! 


Backbone bended, always cower,

tasting painful, fiery whip

but all the time he thinks of her

whose lovely name blisses lip. 


With her he is never alone 

quiet word suppresses dread,

most lovely name, like a gemstone, 

most silently whispered tone

Elbereth! Just Elbereth! 


Some of them too remember it, 

not having lost all their mind, 

deep inside their eyes are star-lit

pinch of courage there to find.


But the others became nameless, 

obey master until death, 

spoiled orcs - nasty, cruel, shameless, 

Elvish habits no more possess, 

Mock to gracious Elbereth! 


Neither Morgoth, neither captives 

do not foresee Valar raid, 

until stomping of vast armies 

rumble in underground shade. 


Protect your lord, orcs and balrogs,  

You will fight this feeble threat, 

Valar will taste weapons of yours

Grab them, sharp them and charge towards

Oromë and Elbereth! 


Morgoth's monsters starting to yell

Valar charging, all to smite

Oh, Elbereth Gilthoniel, 

it was long and cruel fight. 


Shedding dark blood was so immense 

Many orcs have found their death

lethal is now their appearance

Alas there is no more defense

for children of Elbereth! 


Band of faithful smartly hidden

Deep down in a concealed cave

Black lord captured, shackled, taken... 

Are we free now? Are we safe?


So has ended supremacy

They have won a risky bet

Thankful to their star legacy

cheering, bathing in ecstasy

in the shine of Elbereth! 


North doesn't know only goblins

Strange creatures dwell for themselves

Vengeful, dour, silent grey skins

Neither orcs, also nor elves.


Legends tell us naught, to admit

there is little, only thread:

Dark beasts hunted by them, throats slit

Eldar, Naugrim don't know a bit

maybe only Elbereth! 


Middle-earth is full of beauty

sings their raspy, shadow voice

trying a rough polyphony

campfires, cosiness, rejoice.


They are watched by stars of Valar

So lovely that make tears shed,

put a bit of herself inside,

chased away the darkness aside

lovely Varda, Elbereth!