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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the POETRY genre (05/17/07)

TITLE: The Ballad of the Yukon Belle
By Ann Grover
05/23/07


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My heart still longs for the ruffed grouse song
‘Neath the dance of Aurora lights.
Where tamaracks rise toward azure skies,
During the lingering summer nights.
The beckoning gold with its brazen hold
Drivin’ a man through wind and snow.
But the story I’ll tell is ‘bout my Yukon belle,
How she left me one day long ago...

‘Twas in ninety-eight, with time getting late
Fall’s flaming hues could never last.
Soon winter’s strong hold, bitter and bold
Would seal us firm in her grasp.
Jake Simmons and me hauled supplies, to be
Prepared for the arrivin’ chill.
Dry beans and bacon, flour for makin’,
Lugging tins o’er stream and hill.

“So, Will,” says he, “It’s hungry I be.
Rustle us up some coffee and grub.
I’ll go take a look and perhaps sink a hook
In Lake Sundance; I might even scrub.”
I considered his grime and thought about mine,
A soak in the lake might be due.
After dining on pone and dried beef, I was done.
I completed ablutions. What a brew!

Could it have been my flesh unnaturally clean
Churning my mind into turbulent flights?
I crawled into bed and dreams filled my head
Of ‘Cisco Bay and the city’s delights.
I envisioned my wife and our marvelous life
When my wild wand’ring schemes were complete.
Adorning my girl with a garland of pearl,
Dwelling high among Nob Hill’s elite.

I yearned for my dear and shed a sweet tear
Silently so, lest I grieve overmuch.
Comfort it brought, as her mem’ry I sought.
I fair swooned at the thought of her touch.
Warmth flooded my frame as I whispered her name,
“My Rose,” and returned her embrace.
Contentment I sensed, happiness dispensed,
As she breathed a soft sigh in my face.

But something weren’t right! her breath suffered a blight.
It was fetid, fermented, and soured.
Resolved to endure; Rose needed a cure.
Will Bennet would not be a coward.
So I lent a caress, so to comfort and bless,
But no silken arm, a sleeve hairy instead.
For my Rose was enwrapped in pelts while she napped,
Wearing her plushest fur coat to our bed.

Such nerve, believed I, but I’d never ask, “Why?”
As she’d obviously been taken with joy.
For the gold I’d found in the cold Arctic ground
Had brought many such pleasurable toys.
Entwined there in bliss, I ventured a kiss
The tenderest token of love.
No lips did I meet, but a great chin complete
With rough whiskers. I gasped, “Lands above!”

“My beloved,” I cried as I flung her aside,
But she fastened me close to her breast.
I struggled in vain; she ignored my complaint,
As her nails sheared clear through my vest.
My efforts were doomed, I lay there entombed
In her ardent, enraptured embrace.
But, in a desperate bid to be finally rid
Of her arms, I slipped from that place.

Now fully awake, I aroused my pal, Jake,
To apprise him of the danger at hand.
A jerk of my head at the mound in my bed,
He thrust back his blankets to stand,
“What have we here? A trollop, it’s clear,
And you, Will, a fine, married man.”
Jake seethed with regret, his visage upset,
Shaking his head at my scandalous plan.

And then, there was more; he regarded the floor,
Canned peaches and flour strewn about.
“She wished to make pie, but plans went awry?
Now, you be in big trouble, you lout.”
The mound gave a stir, we both stared at her.
‘Neath the quilt burred a growl, rumbling deep.
“What be under there? Methinks it’s a bear!”
Jake whispered, as the beast threw off sleep.

A bear ‘twas, indeed, that magnificent breed
Of ebony hide and malevolent eye.
We inched to the door and not a moment before
She swiped with her paw in reply.
A lumbering dance, with nary a glance,
She ambled down the trail between trees,
Not a glimpse at me, her sweetheart to be.
My “Farewell” was swept aloft by the breeze.

And my heart still longs for the ruffed grouse song
‘Neath the dance of Aurora lights,
Where tamaracks rise toward azure skies,
During the lingering summer nights.
But I’ve quit wild schemes and delirious dreams,
And abandoned the north’s courting call,
Claiming the measure of life’s truest treasure -
The golden heart of my Rose, giving all.


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This article has been read 1155 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Maxx .05/24/07
this was great ... lol! I'm a little dense so it took me a few stanzas to get it figured out ... but then, even knowing what was comming, I enjoyed every developing line! The meter slipped once or twice, me thinks, but the piece as a whole was great!
Jacquelyn Horne05/26/07
Not familiar with poem forms. Is this a ballad? Good job.
Jacquelyn Horne05/26/07
Dummy me! I forgot to remember the title before I left a comment. Duh!
Rhonda Clark05/26/07
This is very nice. Easy to read and flows well. You did a great job.
Henry Clemmons05/28/07
Classic!!!
Dee Yoder 05/29/07
Humorous and wonderful to read. A very pleasing ballad!
Benjamin Graber05/29/07
:)... Well written poem, great job!
Leigh MacKelvey05/29/07
Lots of wonderful words used to tell a great ballad! Very well constructed.
Joanne Sher 05/29/07
I enjoyed the language here,and the humor. Lovely.
william price05/29/07
Fiction, poetry, you don't miss a beat. Great job. God bless.
Rita Garcia05/30/07
Perfect in every way!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/30/07
A great narrative poem! A most delightful read--reminded me in style of the "The Cremation of Sam McGee."
Betty Castleberry05/30/07
What a voice this piece has. Very entertaining. Thanks for sharing this.
Caitlynn Lowe05/30/07
Very nicely written. :)
Sheri Gordon05/31/07
Congratulations. This is a wonderful piece to read. Great job.