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A Mighty Bridge Invisible by Noliel

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"And tales and rumours arose along the shores of the sea concerning mariners and men forlorn upon the water who, by some fate or grace or favour of the Valar, had entered in upon the Straight Way and seen the face of the world sink below them, and so had come to the lamplit quays of Avallónë, or verily to the last beaches on the margin of Aman, and there had looked upon the White Mountain, dreadful and beautiful, before they died." -- The Silmarillion

Suddenly, the prow begins to turn
up. The sunlight on the water burns,
the waves drawing back as would a rug
with the firm, inexorable tug

from a hand hidden in forever;
a Hand. Though all would swear that never
the ocean like so could ever rise
or had risen, before any eyes
of Elf, or Man, or any other.

A sight that would the senses smother—
and yet it is; and still the water,
rising, invisible, doesn't falter,
careening past the clouds and breezing
through the coldest airs, yet not freezing;
brushing 'gainst the Sun, yet not vapour.

The sails whip in the Wind like paper
as he waltzes round that cliff of sea:
sheer, straight, and narrow, towards a quay
unseen. A secret road slated high
for the ship to walk and pierce the sky.

Steady and dreamlike, the Heavens part
as the mast eases through with a start,
that makes the vessel mutely shudder
from crow's nest to keel, stem to rudder.
In her wake the sky sews back its skin.

The sunlight fades, the Moon's gait begins
its wayward journey across the stars;
the ship makes her way below. Afar,
all the lamps of Avallónë bright
anoint themselves with glistening light
until the Lonely Isle glows. Quiet,
unnoticed, the ship passes by it.

Before her lie the silent beaches
of Valinor, beyond the reaches
of mortal Men, iridescent sands:
pearly grains of that Undying Land,
Aman of the Deathless, heath of gods,
ringed with icy mountains, iron-shod.

And looming, terrible, above all
is Taniquetil the ever-tall,
the ever-white, the testifier.
No other peak ever rose higher
nor ever will. The ship floats ahead
one final yard before stopping dead.

Her captain's knuckles loosen their hold
at her rigid helm. His hands are cold.
Slow step by step, he stumbles forward,
falling to his knees at the starboard
as he draws in a breath, long and low.

"They never... would believe me, you know,"
he whispers, "Not in a... million years."
His pale face is wet and streaked with tears.

He breathes in again, he gasps once more,
his gaze half-lidded, now on the shore.
It's his last, he knows. "They'd... always... doubt."

The light in his eyes dims, then goes out.

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