Alchemy or The Creative Process - a tribute to Ronald Dwale (JRR Tolkien)

Alchemy or The Creative Process – a tribute to Ronald Dwale ((JRR Tolkien))

(this poem was written to be read at Bard's Day but at the last minute I was unable to attend - I read it subsequently at the Fed Poets garden party hosted by Master Aerinbard in Elderglen)

What alchemy was this, that so transformed

A vision, seen once in a scrying glass,

A spark of inspiration used to light

The flame that brought the crucible to heat?

What recipe combined these elements

So disparate seeming, yet, distilled, sublime,

Elixir of sweet sorrow and delight?


Pressed here the fragrant leaf such beauty brings,

Found in the verdant pastures, woods and fields,

Here too, dark powders, sooty residue

Of those black fogs which shrouded clear blue skies.

A gleam of silver added, flashing blades,

Of heroes from those legends long ago,

Cruel iron brought to boil, hotly forged

In holocaust and terror that is war.

Poison, too, is added to the brew,

For evil ever spreads its darkening stain,

Yet at the end sweet honey, laced with rue

For love, which is the greatest gift of all,

And noble sacrifice so bittersweet.


Distillation done, the meld complete,

The molten mixture shall now be refined.

Now must the scholar’s learning be applied,

That discipline within true craftsmen found,

To edit, shape it, lend it structure, form,

That all the world may share the passions there.


All here who’ve lived and breathed his epic tale,

Give thanks and raise a glass to Ronald Dwale!