How to read this line?

I’m not sure how to read this line:

See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves.

(From Blood Meridian: or The Evening Redness In The West by Cormac McCarthy)

Is it something like this:

Outside, lie dark turned fields, with…

Answer

You are correct.

Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves.

This sentence from Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, 1985, is in two parts:

A is true and B is true.

This is usually written with a comma.

A is true, and B is true.

Part A

“Lie” is the plural form because the sentence says:

Outside lie Fields.

Or

Fields are outside, with rags of snow.

Sidebar

Notice the phrase {dark turned fields}. It is normal to write “dark-turned fields”, with a hyphen. This is being done intentionally by the author.

Without the hyphen, you can interpret this as meaning

1) “fields that have become dark”,

or possibly

2) “fields, which are dark, that have been ‘turned over’ by the farmer’s machinery.”

Most readers would choose (1), but the fact that there is potential for ambiguity, caused by missing punctuation, is part of the author’s style. More on this in a moment.

Part B

Darker woods beyond that harbor yet a few last wolves.

Means

Darker woods — (which are beyond those fields) — harbor yet a few last wolves.

Which means

  • Woods (which are darker than the fields),
  • and
  • which are farther away (than the fields,)
  • contain
  • {a few final wolves}
  • even now.

Yet means (Definition) “even now” or “still” or “continuing up until this moment.”

Summing up

Snowy fields are outside. Woods are beyond the fields, which still contain some wolves.

This sentence is intended to be very dense (packed with meaning). The author has omitted at least one comma, quite intentionally. See also his book “The Road” which omits many capital letters and tons of punctuation. This is done for artistic reasons, similar to poetry.

As always with poetry, your interpretation may vary.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : El.Do.Rado , Answer Author : whiskeychief

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