There was a lean grey wanderer,
A ponderer, a studier,
Each time he seemed to have a peeve
His nose got even ruddier.
Grey was his robe, grey was his mane,
And grey his plain old walking shoes,
Some thought he had no fashion sense,
Seemed rather dense—but all a ruse.
An Elven-lord was first to scent
And compliment his future worth;
Gave him straightway the Ring of Fire,
No honor higher in Middle-Earth!

The wanderer then walked away
From havens grey to mountains dread,
And circled round and doubled back;
Each minor track would feel his tread
Until he knew them all by heart;
Without a chart he'd still explore
From Iron Hills and Forodwaith
To Haradwaith and dark Mordor.

He rescued a fair Elven maid
From Orc invaders in her weald
And saw her safely to her kith,
The silversmiths at Mellowfield.
She told him of the Fortress dark,
A hill so stark, trees never grew.
He said for her he'd purge the wood,
His word was good, his heading true.

He found the Fortress on the hill,
Used all his skill to penetrate,
Lit up his staff and drew his sword,
He would its Lord defenestrate.
He slew the local goblin clerks
With loud fireworks and clash of steel;
He smelled the Lord behind a door,
He smote it sore and made it squeal.
The Lord heard his door start to shake,
The hinges break; he grabbed a case
And bolted down a secret stair,
Fled from his lair to hide his face!

The panicked Lord raced to the East
(Where man and beast must lightly sleep).
The wanderer was weary now,
But cheery now; he'd seized the keep!
He rested some, then off he went
To meet some friends and tell the score,
And on the way he told the maid
The woods were safer than before.

The empty keep was left alone,
'Twas still strong stone, although vines grew.
The Lord returned, power swelling,
To his dwelling to build anew.

To Rivendell the Wisest hied
(From far and wide their horses sped),
To plot against the Shadow's crews
But first to choose their Council's head.
He must be most reliable,
If viable a candidate;
The Elf-Queen of the Golden Wood
Knew whom she should now nominate.
So she proposed the wanderer,
the conjuror, the grey pilgrim,
But he deferred in favor of
His brother with the beard so trim!

(To Be Continued)

Author's Note: As you probably guessed, the unnamed "wanderer" is Gandalf—more or less! I think of this poem as having been written by a hobbit, but not any of the famous ones who ever traveled with Gandalf in the books.

Thursday I was toying with the idea of writing something that would use roughly the same meter as Tolkien's poem "Errantry"—although, as it turned out, my effort is less ambitious. (Much more use of simple rhymes on my part; and a lot less assonance.) I thought of Gandalf's Pre-LOTR career as possible source material and decided it was worth a shot. After all, I believe "Errantry" was said to be loosely inspired by the legendary exploits of Earendil. What if something very similar eventually happened to Gandalf, with history mixed with legend in a light-hearted poem by a hobbit who didn't know Gandalf well (if at all), but was only drawing upon a body of folklore and then improvising freely as he went along, to suit his own tastes? The end result might resemble what I came up with. (I hope.)

Remember, I'm assuming the hobbit poet was not fussy about historical accuracy in every detail. Nor did he feel the need to acknowledge how many centuries went by between certain events. With that said, I still welcome any constructive criticism you have to offer! Incidentally, this is meant as the first half of a longer work. I have already drafted out some of the verses for the second half, but I decided this was a good time to post one installment, rather than wait to unleash over a hundred lines of such scribblings upon an unsuspecting world all at once! (I have my merciful side!)