[poetry] Nirnaeth Arnoediad

This poem is about the capture of Húrin the Steadfast during the Fifth Battle (from the Silmarillion). This is an early version of it; I edited it a lot, changing ‘six thousand’ to ‘thirty-six’ (which is how long he was actually in Angband) in all instances, and changing the final stanza, but I accidentally deleted that version. I actually think this one is better in some ways, however, because ‘six thousand’, while kind of nonsensical especially in the last stanza, has a nice ring to it. The problem with this poem is I had this idea of echoing ‘for six thousand years’ at the end of every verse, and it’s a cool idea, but it doesn’t work so well with the story of Húrin, and no other number really has the same ring.

This poem was written earlier this year, sometime in April 2007.

Nirnaeth Arnoediad

On the banks of the stream in the dying light
The heirs of the house of Hador stood to fight
The men of Dor-Lomin stood the sixth night
And they would have stood there for six thousand years.

The orcs choked the stream with their dead and their rot,
but the sons of Galdor and their guard still fought,
And be sure that their battle will not be forgot,
It shall not be forgotten for six thousand years.

The orcs came and the men of Hithlum they encircled
As a gathering tide round a rock will be swirled
But the banner of Hithlum remained still unfurled,
And it could have flown there for six thousand years.

Then Huor fell, slain, by an orcish gunne,
But the men of Hador, they did not run,
And they fought in the dying light of the sun
And the eve seemed to last there for six thousand years.

Still slowly they fell with the slain piled deep
And the living seemed doomed to eternal sleep
And the orcs stacked their heads in a golden heap
And that hilltop would flower for six thousand years.

Last of all Húrin stood fighting alone
And he hewed the orcs’ hands and he cut through the bone
And he made sure his name it would ever be known,
The orcs, they would fear it for six thousand years.

And he cast off his shield, took an axe in both hands,
The black blood of the troll-guard was spilled on the sands,
And he uttered a cry that was heard through the lands,
“Aurë enteluva!” for six thousand years.

Seventy times he uttered that cry
And would that that day he had fought and had died
But buried beneath them they took him alive
And in Angband he dwelt there for six thousand years.

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