All That Is Gold…

Did you finish the sentence? That’s the first line from a poem in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. It alludes to the hidden identity of Aragorn and the legacy of his lineage. Here it is:

All that is gold does not glitter;
Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither;
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken:
A light from the shadows shall spring.
Renewed will be blade that was broken;
The crownless again shall be king.

The Lord of the Rings was a book I read repeatedly when I was a teenager, and in fact, the first full length book I composed was what we’d now call fan fiction of LOTR: I retold the story as a romance, with Arwen and Aragorn’s story as its focus. What parts of this first “book” that were written down are long gone: a lot of it was composed in my head and memorized. I would review it as I rode the bus back and forth to my first job (It was a long bus ride.) and ultimately had my version memorized, just as a medieval troubadour would memorize his compositions. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about troubadours then, much less their nifty trick of composing stories in rhyming couplets so they were easier to remember. Tolkien did, of course, which is probably part of the reason why this poem is composed as it is, and certainly why it’s easy to remember.

What does this have to do with anything? I recently bought an iPad, and there’s an option of having the back of it engraved. You get two lines and the first thing that fell out of my fingertips was this:

Engraving on Deborah's iPad

As you can see, I decided to go with it. The second line is covered because it has my contact information, which is probably why Apple offers these lines of engraving. It was only after I received mine that I realized no one would see this engraving unless the iPad was lost.

Or maybe wandering. 🙂

What poem sticks in your mind? What was the first book that captured your imagination? Or better, what’s engraved on the back of your iPad?