The Shadow Man, written a year before his first classic work The Hobbit was published, was found after staff at Our Lady’s Abingdon school, Oxfordshire looked through back issues of its magazine.
The poem, which was later appeared as Shadow-bride, and was released as part of the fantasy icon’s Adventures of Tom Bombadil in 1962.
According to the independent school’s principal, Stephen Oliver, they began to look through their archives after being contacted by an American Tolkien scholar, Wayne G. Hammond who had seen that two of Tolkien’s poems were listed in The Abingdon Chronicle.
Now, Mr Oliver believes that the poems may have been given to the magazine after Tolkien struck up a friendship with the nuns that were running the school.
As well as The Shadow Man, the poem Noel was written to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Tolkien lived in Oxford at the time he wrote the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Mr Oliver said: “We had no idea that we had a copy of some of Tolkien’s poetry so it came as a surprise when we found them. I feel pretty privileged to have been a part of the discovery.
“An American academic got in touch with us to say that he was looking to find them and that they were contained in a publication called the Abingdon Chronicle.
“At first we couldn’t find the 1936 edition and referred Mr Hammond on to the archives of the Sisters of Mercy, who founded the school, which are in London.
“But after we were preparing for another event for former pupils, we uncovered our own copy and discovered the poems that he had been looking for.
“My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming. I am a great Tolkien fan and was thrilled to discover the connection with the school.
“The school magazine was something that was produced each year to provide things like updates on the alumni and would also contain bits of poetry.
“It was brilliant to find it and it’s great that we have found such a great bit of heritage to tie to our school. We had no idea that there was a link between us before that point.”