Verses of the Ballad #3


When I wrote my novel Ballad of the Northland, I wanted the reader to walk away from the experience feeling as if they had actually been to the places I’d described–to this end, I employed a poetry driven language mechanic when describing the scenery & landscape of bush Alaska, one that was intended to evoke subtle emotional connections in the audience, as well as gentle “cues” that were meant to work on a slightly more primitive level than dry, factually correct accounts of the surrounding countryside.

Here are two examples, taken from random sections of the book (I offer them to you free of any context besides what I mentioned above):

….He came back to his senses such as they were and took the fact of his surroundings for granted. A great deal of time had passed; the too early nightfall and the blizzard and already enough new snow to come up past his knees; the wind shrieking so loud that any rational thought seemed nigh impossible; the pyre of splintered wooden pallets the result of his day’s labors, so immense that two dump trucks working together could not have hauled it all away. There was a hole through his middle and he knew not whether it was because of an empty stomach or a fractured heart.

He let the axe slip from his blistered and bloody fingers. The smell of raw diesel fuel assaulted his nostrils, and he saw that he had taken drums of fuel and held them over the pyre until their contents were fully drained. He heaved a long and weary sigh, his head bowing forward and long shanks of frozen hair occluding his face. His was the profile of a man tired beyond all reckoning….

Here is another one:

….The lights of Puntilla Lake spun beneath him like a collection of iridescent pearls circling a drain, became dim, vanished. The wind roared from out of the blinded steppes with a kind of bludgeoning madness, and the cold was like something from a nightmare, clawing and raking to get at the core of him. Unnoticed, his face was blasted into peeling strips and his teeth were frozen in their sockets. His heart thundered against his breastbone, charged with adrenaline, and his lungs sucked at air so cruelly frigid that it burnt going down like lit sulfur. Unbidden, an image of his Papa being erased by that long ago storm came into his mind, a tall and broad shouldered figure carrying their last bit of light into that hungry vast. The Boy’s laughter was a thing of crippled madness, whipped away from his frozen lips before he could even consciously recognize its lunatic presence.

And still they climbed, between granite snow capped peaks that raised yet further to pierce the bellies of the clouds, unseen in the dark, but felt like the existence of a great hulking creature ready to pluck them from the face of the world. The trail wound them through a sudden forest of standing boulders and the rough ridges of exposed feldspars….

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

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