The Cottage of Lost Play

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Lúthien
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The Cottage of Lost Play

Post by Lúthien » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:02 pm

This poem from the Book of Lost Tales, one of Tolkien's early works, might seem like a child-like trifle but I think there is a lot more to it than that.
For one thing, I think it is one of the most jarring 'circumscriptions' I've ever come across of something that maybe cannot be described directly in any sense: the amnesia of our own magical talents as a child. Try to describe it directly and it is immediately swept away by the rational mind that condemns it as immature and rightfully forgotten. This is Tolkien's genius at work, that the magic he conjures is so strong that it can stand up against the ratio long enough to make you think twice ... "what if there WAS something there?" or whatever it might be in your case.
Or maybe it doesn't work for others like that.
In any case, it does for me. The imagery is spookily familiar, as on the threshold of memory, like when you try to remember a dream you had that slips through your fingers. But this dream does linger, and can even be summoned back.

The Cottage of Lost Play

The air was neither night nor day,
But faintly dark with softest light,
When first there glimmered into sight
The Cottage of Lost Play.

New-built it was, yet very old,
White, and thatched with straws of gold.
And pierced with peeping lattices
That looked toward the sea;

And our own children's garden-plots
Were there -- our own forget-me-nots,
Red daisies, cress and mustard,
And blue nemophilë.

And all the borders trimmed with box
Were full of favourite flowers – of phlox,
Of larkspur, pinks, and hollyhocks
Beneath a red may-tree:

And all the paths were full of shapes,
Of tumbling happy white-clad shapes,
That laughed with You and Me.
And some had silver watering-cans
And watered all their gowns,
To build them houses, little towns,
Or dwellings in the trees;

And some were clambering on the roof;
Some crooning lonely and aloof;
And some were dancing fairy-rings
And weaving pearly daisy-strings,
Or chasing golden bees;

But here and there a little pair
With rosy cheeks and tangled hair
Debated ancient childish things --
And we were one of these.

But why it was there came a time
When we could take the road no more,
Though long we looked, and high would climb,
Or gaze from many a seaward shore

To find a path between sea and sky
To those old gardens of delight;
And how it goes now in that land,
If there the house and gardens stand,
Still filled with children clad in white –
We know not, You and I.
A! Elin velui, dîn dolog, aduial lúthad!

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Meneldur Olvarion
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Re: The Cottage of Lost Play

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:12 pm

Luthien will probably remember this, but Jack may be interested. It's the Cottage of Lost Play set to music and visual imagery, intended as a meditative aid for my daughter on Turuhalme (Yule). That is why it is structured the way it is, as we used the guided meditations.

http://www.filedropper.com/turuhalme-cottageoflostplay

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Lúthien
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Re: The Cottage of Lost Play

Post by Lúthien » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:52 pm

Interesting! I'll download it asap, I cant remember it right now.

EDIT - gee, that's really lovely!
A! Elin velui, dîn dolog, aduial lúthad!

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