The word ‘huldra’ means hidden, or cloaked, and the huldra-folk of Scandinavian mythology are the elves or trolls which live in the quiet places on the fells or in the forests. There are roads in Iceland which bend to avoid elf-rocks.Once upon a time I wrote a novel in which a charismatic but ruthless poet wrote a collection of poems which he called Huldra-Folk. I think this was his equivalent of G.K.Chesterton’s ‘silent people’- the working class -(“We are the silent people/and we have not spoken yet”). The novel was set in the seventies, and this guy was not above using a fashionable political motif to get publicity, though his actual politics were laissez-faire to the point of callousness. However, I gave up writing novels long ago, and it recently occurred to me that I should probably write the poems myself.
They aren’t going to be left-wing poems, at least not on purpose, and I think some people might not see them as political at all, but just as the Feminist movement of the 80s used to say that the personal was political, we might want to think nowadays that the environmental is political. Certainly issues about food security, land use and ownership, energy generation and conservation are all going to become overtly political in the next few decades. But I’m looking in a wider, but more subjective way, at what’s ‘hidden’ in our environment – the secret wildlife in our gardens, in our cities, in our thinking. It’s fascinating. And I’ve just finished the first few poems.
I can’t show them here, not even in draft form, because I want to send them somewhere, but I’ll let you know how they get on.