Ballad of the One Ring

Here's the ballad I posted stanzas of in There and Back Again. I wrote it circa 2008. Apologies for the double-spacing; it seems to be unavoidable.

Ballad of the One

Long ago, far away, twenty sisters were born

Each as fair as a star on a clear winter night

Some became temptresses, luring men to their doom

While others lived cloistered in gardens of light

 

But the youngest of all was the most beautiful

And also by far the most wily and wild

For the power she gave him, and her loveliness

She was her creator’s most favorite child

 

When he went to battle, she rode by his side

A spark on the storm-winds of chaos and fear

But an enemy tore her right out of his grasp

Thus was the war lost, for he needed her near

 

The man’s friends said: throw the vile one to her death

But her charms won him over and he let her live

He thought she was his, but her love was a thing

That only to her maker would she ever give

 

So she kept him from harm for a while, and then

Slipped from his clutches and left him to die

And hid in a place where no foot ever trod

While her maker grew stronger as ages went by

 

Then one day she was found by a humble young boy

He was smitten the moment she looked in his eyes

He won her with blood and, she holding his hand,

Fled into the mountains and hid from the skies

 

In the night everlasting, she freed his wild soul

He loved her so dearly, his bright mighty flower

But his mortal ways bored her, so timid and small

And she sensed that her maker would soon rise to power

 

So one fateful morning, she wandered away

Straight into the arms of a traveling man

Many perils and trials she helped him endure

And he cared for her while she considered a plan

 

But a wise old man saw her and knew what she was

Knew the havoc that she and her maker would wreak

Though he yearned to destroy her, he feared that his will

Against her allure would be fatally weak

 

So he wrested her from her old keeper, and gave

Her away to a gentle and innocent boy

Saying: cast her in fire at the end of the earth

Or all that we love she will swiftly destroy

 

With a group of odd comrades, they went on the quest

Over mountain and river, through forest and vale

But the slaves of her maker came seeking her out

And the one she’d abandoned was hot on her trail

 

And with every step that he took toward her doom—

The one thing that could kill her, a chamber of fire—

She sought to beguile him, to turn him astray

Her beauty beside him inflamed his desire

 

But he staunchly resisted her — mostly, at least —

While his allies fought with hers all over the land

And both friend and foe tried to seize her from him

And in battle he lost nearly all of his band

 

But when he stood ready to give her to doom

Their journey together at last took its toll

He surrendered to her and declared her his own

He could not let her go, for she clung to his soul

 

Then her long-ago lover leaped out of the night

With a single swift stroke his beloved he claimed

In the bliss of reunion, they danced on the brink

Then, in final embrace, the two fell to the flames


With his spirit bound to her, her maker soon died

And control of the world was by their rivals won

And though she is remembered in legend and song

There will be no more like her, for she was the One



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