This is a poem that I love.
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 shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
(published many times by Houghton Mifflin; this quotation is from the first volume—typically, the series is published in three volumes—The Fellowship of the Ring)
I could think of many poems that have meaning: “Church-Going” by Philip Larkin; “Ulysses” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich; any dramatic monologue by Robert Browning. And so on. But a poem I love?
I love this one. Parts of it are often quoted, so I guess there are others who love the poem, too. It has no title, but it’s in the voice of Aragorn and is sometimes published as “Strider.” And, yes, Tolkien is a favorite writer of mine; and his works have been meaningful to me since I was an adolescent.
I love the poem because it’s wise. It speaks of what’s true and what is good. And what goodness there is to come when things are renewed.
And it’s a song.