‘helweh, the troll’ is a poem about a character who seeks an answer to a question that is thrown upon her: ‘how do you earn a living?’ She is a mythical creature considering the human pursuit of financial security and quality of life. She is a character who finds herself in employment that does not suit her natural talents.
Written with affection and humour for somebody I know, as well as many people who I suspect have a little troll blood in them, she was a former co-worker who I shared many a coffee break and, back in that day, a smoke break. We worked many hours in the same business district and cultivated a strange balance of dedication to our work and finding time for our own personal well-being. She, unfortunately, had a shorter fuse and patience for office culture and never stayed at any job for long. Funny as hell though and as long as I work downtown, I hope she does, too, even though she would prefer something else. Office environments need people like her.
This quasi fairy tale / myth was written using the breadcrumb trail of poetry as the vehicle for narration. The poem is part of the poetry chapbook, ya helu, as well as this week’s addition to the lyw channel on Youtube, currently rolling out a poetry campaign making poets and poetry our daily treat and exercise.
When creating Helweh as my hero, I drew inspiration from Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy. In this poem, Helweh’s character makes a hapless comparison between her journey and that of Dante’s epic journey through Hell and Purgatory towards Heaven.
In regards to Joseph Campbell’s, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, many years ago, I found this non-fiction book a compelling read that dissected the role of the hero in human myth and story. As well, this book left me with the hopeful idea that I am, or can be, the hero in my own life’s story – alas, a hope that I have often found disappointed ever since. Still, it’s a beautiful and passionate book for a work of non-fiction and I don’t regret this aggravated kernel of hope imbedded in my heart. I humour it sometimes and it keeps me humble. At the end of the poem, I left Helweh with a possible answer to her riddle yet it is unknown if or how she will implement it. If I, or my friend, have not lived up to the call-to-adventure, then perhaps this Helweh lass will.
As an aside, I remember having a cynical thought when I finished reading Campbell’s book, that today’s real world did not look for leadership from heroes or encourage the possibility of living heroes. It is as if the concept is left to fantasy, film and fiction; for those who wear capes and need special powers.
It was a wonderful journey writing this poem. I did not know how it would end or how I would help Helweh answer her question when I first began writing it. I guess if I wanted to make myself feel better about Joseph Campbell’s book, I could say that I did answer a very subjective call-to-myself in this poem.
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written by lyw
Blog Image Sources:
Atlas Obscura Rakotz bridge: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/rakotzbrucke
Under the Mosswort Bridge: http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/cardart/LRW/Mosswort_Bridge_640.jpg