A Thought-Provoking Poem by J.R.R. Tolkien

Not all those who wander are lost Tolkien quote 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 Fellowship of the Ring

This quote is about a character in the epic fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings, however its meaning goes far beyond the story.

Tolkien’s poem describes the difference between our perceptions and reality. A wanderer may not be lost, an old man might retain his strength, frost can kill a plant but not the root, ashes may still birth a flame, a light will shine even from the darkest of shadows, a broken blade may be mended, and a king can rise again. 

This is one example of the beauty and deep meaning found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing.  I like him as a person for having written this poem. It is one I treasure, and I wanted to share it with you. I hope it will warm you on those days when life seems difficult. 

The image behind Tolkien’s words is one I took in Idaho. I was standing on the edge of the road and looking out over a valley that was once a Nez Perce hunting ground. I wish I could remember the name of the valley, but maybe one of you will know. I love the misty feel and soft colors of the picture. It struck me as a perfect match for Tolkien’s observation because it makes me want to wander through the stunning landscape.

© Janalyn Voigt

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Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

As an author I love to escape with readers into creative worlds of fiction in three genres: medieval epic fantasy, historical fiction, and romantic mystery. My aim is to make this website an immersive experience for readers. Care to join us?

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4 thoughts on “A Thought-Provoking Poem by J.R.R. Tolkien”

  1. Whoa, it is been too long since I read the poem. I feel transported to a magical world with heros, and a Creator that still affects the peoples’ lives.

    Thank you for sharing.

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