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Hello, pub patrons, pals and poets. It’s Hedgewitch (Joy Ann Jones) here, to host this 55th Open Link Night. Hopefully everyone has at last recovered from the birthday celebrations of our one year anniversary, and is ready for some normal, every day partying.

I’m deeply indebted to Joe Hesch for tending the bar last week when I was indisposed. He’s left everything in excellent condition, after hosing down the wordsplash from the walls and sweeping up the stray letters of the alphabet that fell off here and there, though I did have to wash the adjective confetti out of the beer steins. But I forgive you, Joe–you did a great job last week, and I can’t thank you enough.

Unfortunately, I had to spend much of the last two weeks flat on my back and missed participating in most of the fun that Claudia and Brian and the rest of the staff arranged for us, but I was with you all in spirit, and I’m here tonight to do as much as I can to show my appreciation for this community, and for all we do to help and support each other every week, not just on special occasions.

While I was in bed, bored and medicated, unable to write, I decided to cheer and distract myself by re-reading an old favorite, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Like Alice in Wonderland, and indeed most of the best classic works often recommended for younger readers, there’s a great deal going on in it for adults to enjoy as well.

The first thing that struck me on this third or fourth re-reading was how much poetry there is in the book–every few pages there’s a song or ballad or narrative poem that reflects on the storyline, and gives depth to the characters and setting. Tolkien used poetry frequently to flesh out the fantasy elements, and his sheer love of language is apparent on every page. I was especially impressed, though, by a scene I hadn’t noticed much before, after the two main hobbit characters have escaped from  near death encounters with Shelob (the prototype, I’m sure, of many modern instances of arachnophobia,) and with the quarreling Orcs in the guard tower at Mordor’s gate. Sam Gamgee (the companion and I was delighted to see, gardener of Frodo the Ring Bearer) in order to lift his master’s spirits, starts to discuss whether they will ever “be in a tale…:”

  …The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo; adventures as I used to call them. I used to think they were things the …folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull…But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or stay in the mind. Folks seem to have just landed in them, usually–their paths were laid that way…But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten.. ~from The Two Towers, © J.R.R. Tolkien.

In the end, that’s why we’re drawn to write, I think, to chronicle, in our own ways, the adventures and tales of our lives and worlds that matter, so they won’t be forgotten, and like the characters in them, it really isn’t something we choose–it’s just the job we know we must do, and we can’t turn back if we want to do it right.

So let’s get down to it, and share our tales of the things that should not be forgotten.  I look forward to finally getting to return some of the kind visits and words people have left for me while I was out of commission, and to reading as always, some of the finest poetry online from our pub crowd.

If you’re new to dVerse, here’s the drill:

  • Link in the poem you’d like to share (1 per blog, please) by clicking on the Mr.Linky button just below.
  • This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog url and entered your name, simply click submit.
  • Don’t forget to let your readers know where you’re linking up and encourage them to participate by including a link to dVerse in your blog post.
  • Visit as many other poems as you like, commenting  as you see fit. Remember that this is how we connect with those who can support and encourage us, and for whom we provide the same vital benefits.
  • Spread the word. Feel free to tweet and share on the social media of your choice.
  • Finally, enjoy! Remember, we are here for each other, as Joe demonstrated last week, and as so many of you showed by your visits and concern, wishing me a quick recovery. Thanks to all of you, and enjoy tonight’s Open Link poetry-thon.