Slave to Power

Author: Baillie from Bree

Nominator: Eowyn Hobbitsister

2011 Award Category: Poetry: Post Ring War - Third Place

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: If Frodo failed and the Ring was regained by the hand it sought, what then? Cold stone, bitter ice, drowning sea: three metaphors for the "paradise" that Sauron would create, and his use of slave labor or the willing servitude of evil men.

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Reviewed by: Elanor  ✧  Score: 8

Lovers of language, word and phrase, and even those who prefer to use the myriad ethereal tools of the trade sparingly, are treated in the poems of Baillie From Bee to a master’s class in Victorian literary expression, a period (1830-1901), that not only birthed but deeply informed the writings of Tolkien himself. It is all too easy, in these times of ‘sound bites’ and literary minimalism, to forget that our various literary traditions were once awash in a lushness of language that literally inflamed human hearts, and a poetic structure that was as architectural as it was transcendent of the common plane of human existence. Take up the eight-foot iambic lines of Slave to Power and meet the mind of Sauron, and the vision of the Middle-earth that would come to be if the Ring were his to wear again: [“No Twilight blessed by stars, this field, but plat of dank and nether glooms/A cavern chill, with echoes fed, that only leads to darker rooms….Neath errant glimpse of sackcloth moon, dull red it glimmers in the Night/A-blush with blood, a-murk with death like cinder dregs of aconite….”] This is a brilliant poem, born of stunning imagination and an amazing ear for language. Read, and let your eyes widen at the power of word and metaphor and description, and remember what happened as the ages passed in Middle-earth and Men and Elves dismissed the ways of old: ["And some things, that should not have been forgotten, were lost."]

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

Wow! This poem has all the technical things I have come to expect from Baillie from Bree: impeccable rhyme and scansion, skillful use of words and metaphors, tight structure. And it has the emotional impact I have grown to expect as well. But what makes this one so powerful is that it is focusing on the real slave of the Ring: its Maker, and his grand ambitions, hubris and pride; his cruelty and selfishness; his need to control all. She paints a bleak picture of a world under his heel, yet still he will never be satisfied. And the final couplet is heart-breaking.

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 4

This is beautiful, brilliant, and illuminating, and at the same time violent, direct and unforgiving. With vivid, striking language that rises and falls as appropriate the author draws a startling, harsh picture of what could have been- and in the last line, sorrows the tragedy that befell the little one who is no less a hero for failing at this task. I cannot convey with my clumsy words how the craft of this poem creates a resonant piece angry as the seas. It is gorgeous, dark, and an amazing piece of work.