The Waters of Ulmo

Pt. I- The Calling

I sing of nights when I could taste the salt on his skin…


He is beautiful. Such a fair one, and strong. While he sleeps and while he wakes I am singing to him, calling him to me. I will the glory of my waves, my white foaming crests, to haunt his dreams. Even as he strides across the works of Aulë, I am there. He hears my love-song in notes of raindrops on leaves; my yearning for him thunders in rushing rivers that guide him to me.

Through the summer he revels on my shores, content with the cries of gulls and tunes of the wind on sand. My outstretched tides on the beach are his lullaby at night, though he is a full-grown man. I am in ecstasy when he swims in my waters. His enthusiastic strokes echo through my oceans and my currents dance with joy. I delight in licking his toes as he walks across the pebbled strand. He is mine, gloriously mine, even as he imagines he is in solitude.

Though I sparkle and glisten in his company, my beating waves become sighs on the land. I know that just as I needed him to bathe in my beauty I need now to send him away. With wordless songs of valor and strength I give him a vision. He finds his gift-raiment, and clothes his tawny skin that I have caressed times uncountable, then comes to my shore.

Embracing the winds of Manwë, I cause a great storm. Waters from my green depths pitch up to the sky, and the heavens howl. He faces into my turbulent deeps, unsure and alone. I make my voice like thunder, and reveal myself to him.

Like unto a wave as high as Varda's stars I take form. In battle garb I must show myself, and at seeing me, he is stricken with awe, and kneels at my waters edge. In my glory I appear before him, my helm as of skin of the glistening porpoise, seafoam dancing on it as feathers in the raging wind. I clothe myself in mail that reminds him of fish scales, silver encapsulating endless rainbows. My long hair is black, the color of unfathomable deeps found in sea otters eyes, which sways gently in the tempest, like seaweed in the shallows.

My voice is that of waters crashing on stone, of rain pummeling the earth. I tell him to find the hidden city that houses many of the Firstborn, those whom I love but whose affections are turned always to the heavens. I despair at his departure, yet know it must be so. I allow my waters to drench his feet, my passionate tides to cling to his strong calves, but then I will them to retreat. Before I relinquish him to tread again the hard ground, I give him two gifts. As he gazes at me, his eyes a blue-green as exquisite as my frozen sculptures in the north, I bequeath to him a cloak to hide him from our enemy, just as the starfish cover the forms of watery rocks.

I bear my second gift to him through the night, as the storm takes an unwitting toll on a ship voyaging from the West. Of the many figures in the boat, I save only one, though my heart grieves with loss. In mourning, my cerulean deeps accept these beautiful forms, pale bodies who become reverse stars, white lights in my dark swells. I weep for them, salted raindrops hurtling down from the sky, even as I can sense their feß journeying to the quiet harbor of Mandos.

I subside and rest, surrendering to my natural form. As the winds calm, I lull him to sleep, lapping at his dear flesh, now lying prone on the sand. The twinkling lights of Varda dance overhead, and the rushes in my rivers far off languorously ease to and fro.

When my beloved wakes, he stands and looks longingly at me, though I am now silent, smooth and impassive as glass. Shedding his battle garb, he slowly eases himself into my shallows, and I bear him up even as he gazes at the sun. Then, even as I bade him, his footprints walk away from my wet borders. Clothed in my gift-raiment, he treads to Vinyamar and finds the immortal who I saved, and then they depart.

Pt. II- The Return

I will stand upon the shore with a clean heart
and my song in the wind…


Hope against hope after time uncounted, my fair one returns to me. He rests by one of my great arteries, the Sirion, which now dances and plays, healing the hurts he has suffered, and soothing his soul. He has a family now, and with the willows at my banks, I fill them with longing for me. I crave them all, and once they are made whole, I visit their dreams. Their hearts grow heavy as my burbling songs hint of ocean swells, of the glories of my sparkling seas seen in morning's light. With joyful voice, he sings a song to me, of my incomprehensible beauty, of my generous nature, of desire. They come to me, such gorgeous creatures, and dwell on my shores.

His son, too, hears my call, and I delicately reach out gentle eddies to tickle his toes as he walks on my strand. With happiness my waters burst through rock caves, sending silver sprays dancing through the air. My quiet laughter shimmers in sequestered tidepools, shared by colorful sea urchins. My chosen is mine, and he is content.

Soon, too soon, age comes to him and he decides to sail to the West. A beautiful ship he builds, and my anguish at his leaving is reflected in a greying of my waters, churning and discomfited. But he must be carried away, and so I brighten my waves, so that he can see down to the sandy deeps. He and his beloved depart, and while I am grevious, I caress the hull of his boat, bearing them safely away from the shores of Belariand to their new home. My dolphins race at their side, and his wife is charmed by them. I grant them a smooth journey, though at the last, my waves lap achingly upon the shores of Valinor.

I dance in the light of sunset, a riot of color in shape of a crescent for his beautiful eyes, a last sign of my devotion to him. My ocean swells are now a melancholy blue, reflecting my sadness, but I must return to the shores and lands in which I usually dwell, and with a rainbow, I bid him farewell.


The texts in italics are from "Calypso" by Suzanne Vega

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