Our Sad Riddle

Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.

My nephew, fresh from the pages of Tolkien,
sees a fish carcass on the beach,
predicts Gollum! though we both wonder.
He considers the waves left from a storm,
the wind that blows us each askew,
thinks with furrowed brow, like me
as I sift through those things I know:
the trespass of raw sewage
and slick film of leached oil,
the change of warming waters,
our persistent lack of rain.
But he’s off on a new adventure now,
throwing boulders with grunts and gasps,
Take that! he yells, a holler into the wind
as loud as mine would be if allowed
to grieve the things he cannot see.

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. One of the riddles of Bilbo and Gollum in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

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