The Little House of Lost Play

Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva

by J.R.R. Tolkien
Final Version

Articles > Poetry > Languages > Tolkien > "Faery in Keats and Tolkien" > Kortirion among the Trees> "The Little House of Lost Play"

We knew that land once, You and I,

and once we wandered there

in the long days now long gone by,

a dark child and a fair.

Was it on the paths of firelight thought

in winter cold and white,

or in the blue-spun twilit hours

of little early tucked-up beds

in drowsy summer night,

that you and I in Sleep went down

to meet each other there,

your dark hair on your white nightgown

and mine was tangled fair?

We wandered shyly hand in hand,

small footprints in the golden sand,

and gathered pearls and shells in pails,

while all about the nightengales

were singing in the trees.

We dug for silver with our spades,

and caught the sparkle of the seas,

then ran ashore to greenlit glades,

and found the warm and winding lane

that now we cannot find again,

between tall whispering trees.

The air was neither night nor day,

an ever-eve of gloaming light,

when first there glimmered into sight

the Little House of Play.

New-built it was, yet very old,

white, and thatched with straws of gold,

and pierced with peeping lattices

that looked toward the sea;

and our own children's garden-plots

were there: our own forgetmenots,

red daisies, cress and mustard,

and radishes for tea.

There all the borders, trimmed with box,

were filled with favourite flowers, with phlox,

with lupins, pinks, and hollyhocks,

beneath a red may-tree;

and all the gardens full of folk

that their own little language spoke,

but not to You and Me.

For some had silver watering-cans

and watered all their gowns,

or sprayed each other; some laid plans

to build their houses, little towns

and dwellings in the trees.

And some were clambering on the roof;

some crooning lonely and aloof;

some dancing round the fairy-rings

all garlanded in daisy-strings,

while some upon their knees

before a little white-robed king

crowned with marigold would sing

their rhymes of long ago.

But side by side a little pair

with heads together, mingled hair,

went walking to and fro

still hand in hand; and what they said,

ere Waking far apart them led,

that only we now know. 

— J.R.R. Tolkien

From The Book of Lost Tales I, Chapter I "The Cottage of Lost Play", by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien.
Provided by Turgon-(V)