Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bilbo – A Hamster's Tail

Image: Bilbo by Elanor Buchanan

Last night my daughter’s hamster, ‘Bilbo’ died. He had lived a fair life for a hamster and his passing was not wholly unexpected. He was buried under a rose bush in our garden and in keeping with his name Elanor read the following words from J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ over his grave.

‘End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path... One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass... And then you see it………White shores... and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.’

I must admit that Bilbo’s passing seemed to affect me more than it did Elanor, who had been expecting him to die as he was very old for his breed. I kept feeling jealous of Bilbo as he has moved on, whilst I remain here trapped in a pain riddled body longing for an end to my current life.

Before I reveal my poem I should explain the references to the Lord of the Rings. Both Elanor and I have a great love for these books, indeed Elanor’s own name is derived from Tolkien’s ‘The Return of the King’, when at the end of the book Frodo suggests Sam’s daughter should be named after a flower in keeping with the old custom in the Shire. Sam agrees, but says; ‘if it’s to be a flower-name, then I don’t trouble about the length; it must be a beautiful flower, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beutifuller still.’

Frodo suggested the name ‘Elanor’ after the sun-star, the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlόrien, both Sam and I agreed.

And so to the poem;

Bilbo – A Hamster's Tail

Sometime during the night
the rhythmic tapping ceased.
That irritating, yet somehow comforting pulse
that played every night; stopped.

The nocturnal cacophony;
click, click, click of the water bottle valve,
grate of enamel on bars, rattle of a turning wheel.
These barriers to sleep; ended.

Snuggled quietly in its den
the soft, sand coloured fur became still.
No longer did it trap the warmth that rose from within.
The warm bloods circulation; ceased.

There, on a star filled night,
while the cats prowled the house and garden,
and the family and the dog slept peacefully,
Bilbo the Syrian hamster; died.

The sun rose into a clear blue sky,
A sand coloured body was buried under the rose bush,
as for Bilbo; he sees; ‘White shores... and beyond,
a far green country under a swift sunrise.’

John Carré Buchanan
13 May 2012


  1. A fitting tribute to your daughter's little furry friend. RIP Bilbo. And a cute critter he looked too :)

    1. He was lovely, thanks for your kind comment.

  2. what a shame these lovely animals have such short lives, we had a few when my children were younger, i had many adventures trying to capture them after their attempts at breaking free, your daughters now is free and will be remembered in this lovely poem John :)

    1. Ian, With 2 3/4 cats we were lucky that Bilbo never managed to escape. He did live a good life for his species so Elanor is pretty happy for him; she has taken the view that he is now somewhere better. Thanks for the kind comment about the poem, it is really appreciated.

  3. Lovely tribute to Bilbo.

    I recognize your sentiments...."trapped in a pain riddled body longing for an end to my current life" I wish I had some magic words to help you. It's horrible feeling trapped in your pain riddled body, but worse that you long for that life to end. Try to keep fighting. But most of all, try to keep smiling.

    1. Liz, Thank you for your kind comments and advice. The constant feeling of being trapped isn't fun, unfortunately the constant fight to keep the chin up and smile is just as hard. That said: I am still here so I guess I'm doing something right. I hope that your own battle with pain is going well. Once again thanks for your encouragement, it means a lot to me.


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