The Summons

Author: Baillie from Bree

Nominator: Eowyn Hobbitsister

2011 Award Category: Poetry: Hobbits - First Place

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

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: "But it cannot stay in the Shire!" "The Summons" is exactly that: the moment in the movie when Frodo realizes that with the suddenness of a vast and devouring whirlwind all his safe world - Bag End and the Shire - is gone from his life. He has been subpoenaed by the hatefulness of an imprisoned Melkor, brought to fruition in his disciple Sauron's Ring.

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Reviewed by: Yvette  ✧  Score: 10

"The Summons" is a breathtaking piece of literary art, poignant and convincing. The poetic imagery is exquisite, in equal measure tranquil and shattering. In the short space of the poem we shift from warmth to cold, from familiarity to unknowing, from light to darkness. No trite clichés or forced rhymes mar this poem's delicate lyricism. Baillie is a master of eloquent restraint. In giving us a glimpse into the unfathomable deeps of Frodo's suffering, "The Summons" bears an evocative relationship to Tolkien's poem, "Frodo's Dreme" ("The Sea Bell"), foreshadowing the terrible dreams that would haunt Frodo on his return to the Shire. Here we glimpse in Frodo's heart the very beginning of the journey that would lead him down the Road that goes ever on, and, finally, out of Middle Earth forever. Like a missing piece to a puzzle, Baillie's poem fits as if always intended to belong to the history of Middle Earth. Nowhere have I found a writer with such a depth of empathy for Frodo, such an understanding of his interior journey. I have been a fan of Tolkien since the 70's and of Frodo particularly. Baillie's is the first voice since Tolkien's that I feel has added something to my long and sympathetic love for Frodo. I am deeply grateful.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 7

Certainly the world Frodo Baggins knew was turned upside down while he and Gandalf reviewed the history of Middle Earth and Frodo learned that Bilbo’s golden souvenir, picked up so casually in Gollum’s cave, could be used to destroy the world as all then knew it. How it must have shaken the foundations of Frodo’s life, to realize that this apparently simple Ring was such that not even Gandalf would agree to touch It, fearing what It might make of him! How well Baillie has caught Frodo’s confusion and concern in her equally apparently simple poem, one whose complex rhyme scheme is enough to set the Master himself smiling with pleasure! It is a poem that deftly captures and displays the realization Frodo must have felt at the moment that for him there is no hope of peace and security any more this side of the Sundering Sea. I must doff my metaphorical cap to Baillie for this poem, both the thoughts it expresses and the structure of it. Definitely a poem worthy of the subject!

Reviewed by: Elanor  ✧  Score: 7

The four stanzas of the mystical poem, The Summons, record the moment in which Frodo Baggins meets his doom—not on the fiery mountain of Mordor, but in the safe, snug harbor of Bag End, where Gandalf reveals the origins of The Ring and Frodo understands that even now—in this first sentient moment of his relationship with it—all is lost. In dark and expanding metaphors, the light and warmth of Frodo’s life seeps away to a cold and lightless prospect as, in the way of all redeemers, he senses his destiny and humbly accepts it, allowing himself to acknowledge the circumstances but not to cry out in protest. The structure of this poem is original but at the same time feels classical, and the three five-line stanzas that precede the final seven lines provide both the imagery and the emotional foundation for the final thrust to Frodo’s heart. Sad, literary and knowing, this mystical reverie binds us to the heart of the Ringbearer.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 5

Baillie is a master of poetic form: see [The Exile] and [Slave to Power], also competing in this year's MEFAs, and [Minas Morgul], which competed last year. Sometimes Baillie's employment of complex meter and Victorian aesthetic, while powerful, can be intimidating, but [The Summons] is readily approachable for its brevity and its direct appeal to our sympathies. Taking its inspiration from Frodo's utterance in the movie (["But it cannot stay in the Shire!"]), this is The Moment when he commits himself to a course of action that will shape the world's destiny, as well as his own. As the summary puts it, [He has been subpoenaed by the hatefulness of an imprisoned Melkor, brought to fruition in his disciple Sauron's Ring.] In a moment when nothing yet has been lost, Frodo can already see, with tragic clarity, all that has.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

Baillie from Bree is a very gifted poet. This poem captures so well the stunned feeling of entrapment Frodo must have felt when Gandalf revealed to him the nature of the Ring, as he realizes that his world is now forever shattered from what he'd known before, and that he now must give up his home and journey into peril. As all of her poems, this one is flawless in structure and the imagery is exceptional.

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 3

What a haunting, sad tale, but all the more reason to love and admire him for he did answer he was called. Love this glimpse into that terrible time for him but wonderful for what he accomplished because of it.