Andrea Mathwich, “Lady Goldberry” (colored pencil)
Opening my door to listen to the rain this afternoon, I listen to the first thunder of this spring season. It seems an excellent day to ponder Goldberry’s song about rain in The Fellowship of the Ring. I long ago realized that Tolkien’s “In the House of Tom Bombadil” may have inspired Led Zeppelin’s “Rain Song” – the parallels are notable. And it interests me to see how creative invention draws together materials from diverse sources to weave together new insights, new visions.
It was just over a year ago that I sat down to write a new poem, “Rain Song.” There I envisioned Goldberry singing her “rain-song, as sweet as showers on dry hills, that told the tale of a river…” This would surely have been a meandering journey through the magic of the world. In my poem I set down just a few moments of my notions of that song, that journey.
And I wove into the words Goldberry herself. To do that I drew inspiration from a song written long ago by Syd Barrett, “See Emily Play” – one of my favorite songs. That song helped to launch the imagery and enchantment of the most visionary psychedelic music of the late 1960s. In the song Emily wears a gown “that touches the ground” and we “float on a river forever and ever.”
The next day I gave my poem to Andrea Mathwich – she had told me that she was thinking about trying her hand at writing a song. And I knew she had given a lot of thought to the mystery of Goldberry. Would this “Rain Song” work as a lyric? Well, at Real Myth and Mithril you will soon have an opportunity to judge for yourself. As for me, I think she wrote a beautiful incarnation of what Goldberry could have sung on that rainy day in Middle-earth.
It is wonderful to imagine how things come together in the world to articulate things that cannot be easily spoken. In this case, “Rain Song” weaves together rainfall and waterways into music that winds its way across a mythic world. And now this river-song has a special prelude written by Linda Echo-Hawk, using another Tolkien song that Goldberry sings, like “a glad water flowing down into the night from a bright morning…”
The Grey Havens Minstrels will perform “Rain Song” and other music at Real Myth and Mithril on Saturday, April 25.
The Grey Havens Minstrels: Andrea Mathwich (vocals, keyboards), Linda Echo-Hawk (vocals, chimes), Elisha Conant (vocals, percussion), Donna Clement (vocals, percussion), Katy Colby (harp), Dyhrddrdh Colby (harp, strings). (Photograph by Brian Mathwich, April 13, 2015)