Friday, January 4, 2013

A great copperhead ...

While I was searching for info on "Lloyd's of Butte" for yesterday's post, I stumbled across a Montana quote that I hadn't seen before. This is from an apparently-forgotten 1963 novel called The Hallelujah Bum, by a British author named Andrew Sinclair. The dream sequence below conveys a compelling metaphor for southwestern Montana's copper industry:
We swing up into Montana with Anabel at the tiller and a strange dream rearing its hazy head inside my skull. I dream there's a great copperhead with its body in Anaconda and its head in a cauldron of sky and its tail tunnelling through the red rock of Montana. And men are crushed and streets cave in because of the murderous burrowing, and a great waning sounds over the dust. The copperhead's golden tongue flicks in and out of its mouth, large as the golden calf, a curly tongue in the shape of an S riveted through with a vertical gold nail. And a thousand bears are tethered to the copperhead by their ears. They have honey on their paws, and lines of men and women queue to stick silver dollars on the honey. But, all of a sudden, a wind rises in the west and the copperhead dives for cover behind a State Capitol, until it is all hidden except for its tail, which still burrows and burrows below the ground, bringing to rubble men and houses and hope. We eat in Lloyd's of Butte, not London, and stare at the sad mining city scratched temporary as a sunset on to its hills of ore.

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