Helen’s Scale

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve had this blog for five years.  In that time, I’ve written three fairy tales, discovered a love of poetry, finished a novel and begun seeking an agent, and learned a great deal more about how to write.  I am deeply thankful to my friends who had more faith in me than I did in myself and suggested this blog to me five years ago.  I am also truly grateful to everyone who has read what I’ve posted here, and a hundred times more so to those who took the time to leave some feedback.

So thank you.

With Noemi’s Dragon finished at last, I’ve been thinking the direction in which I want to take this blog next.  At present, I plan to still post weekly on Mondays.  For the near future, these posts will probably be unrelated poems, ramblings, or short stories.  Eventually, I’ll probably post a new, longer story or revisit an old, unfinished story.

This week, I have a poem for you.  A friend gave me the game “Dixit” months ago, and just this past weekend I finally played it with some other friends.  Dixit is played with picture cards, and the pictures are all beautiful pieces of art with intriguing or curious contradictions.  This poem, “Helen’s Scale,” is inspired by one of the pictures from the game.


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Helen’s Scale

In the quiet suburb Elden,
The townsfolk spoke
Of queer old maiden Helen,

Though a cold winters’ night
By the chimney’s smoke
Was the only time they might

(For the good Elden folk knew quite well
That running mouths can leave you broke),
And this is the tale they’d tell.

Helen was a flighty young lass
Who always knew her sums and a joke,
And worse, always outranked her class.

She was a scandal—staying up late,
Not caring who she woke.
With rousing songs and clever puns she played.

Then one day her parents said,
“She’ll never settle and marry a steady bloke;
We must tether her flighty head.”

So they called upon the town wise man.
“Good folk,” he said, “Would you have me choke
The frivolity from the young damme?”

“If only you would!”
The couple croaked.
“Helen never does as she should.”

“This scale will teach her what is better—
On my word, this is no hoax—
If she weighs its worth against this feather.”

The couple rejoiced and gave her the gift.
“It’s better to work,” they said, “than to be broke.”
They weighed some gold—but lo! the gold began to lift!

So Helen went throughout the town,
Weighing anything she could poke.
Whenever she weighed the town’s treasures, the feather went down.

“It’s hopeless!” her parents cried,
But a spark in Helen awoke.
Not gold, but a gift for a widow she tried.

What do you think?  But the feather rose,
And again with a rose for a friend, again for the homeless’ cloak.
She cried, “What wisdom this scale shows!”

And ever since, Helen never labored
For a fine house or great business stroke,
But the sad she cheered and the needy she harbored.

So still the townsfolk tell the tale
Of parents who misspoke
And of Helen’s special scale.

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