Personal accounts of the earthquake read like post-apocalyptic novels. We take our lifestyle for granted, but our infrastructure and cities are so fragile. The nuclear danger reminds me of this one excerpt from the novel Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. It’s a “Why Things Are How They Are” story. In the context of the novel, which takes place 2,000 years in the future, written language was lost and then started up again, so spelling and grammar is different. The language is difficult to read at first, but after a paragraph or two you get used to it, and it’s actually quite beautiful.
Why the Dog Wont Show Its Eyes
Time back way way back befor peopl got clevver they had the 1st knowing. They los it when they got the clevverness and now the clevverness is gone as well.
Every thing has a shape and so does the nite only you cant see the shape of nite nor you cant think it. If you put your self right you can know it. Not with knowing in your head but with the 1st knowing…. Some times the nite is the shape of a ear only it aint a ear we know the shape of. Lissening back for all the souns whatre gone from us. The hummering of the dead towns and the voyces befor the towns ben there. Befor the iron ben and fire ben only littl. Lissening for whats coming as wel.
Time back way way back 1 time it wer Ful of the Moon and a man and woman sqwatting by ther littl fire. Sqwatting by ther little fire and afeart of the nite. The dog wer in the nite and looking tords the fire. It wernt howling it wer jus looking at the fire. The man throwit meat to the dog and the dog come in to them by the fire. Brung its eyes in out of the nite then they all lookit at the nite to gether. The man and the woman seen the nite in the dogs eyes and thats when they got the 1st knowing of it. They knowit the nite the same as the dog knowit….
Wel they got that 1st knowing they got it looking in the dogs eyes in the Ful of the Moon. When the man and woman got that 1st knowing from the dog they made a contrack with the dog in the Ful of the Moon. They roadit on to gether with the dog and foraging to gether. Dint have no mor fear in the nite they put ther self right day and nite that wer the good time. Then they begun to think on it a littl. They said, ‘If the 1st knowing is this good what myt the 2nd knowing and the 3rd be and so on?’
They cawt a goat and lookit in its eye. You know what eye the goat has its the clevver eye. The man and woman looking in that clevver eye and they thot: Why shud we be foraging the woal time? They cawt other goats they made a fents and pent them up. They gethert weat and barly they had bread and beer then they wernt moving on the lan no mor they startit in to form it. Stoppit in 1 place then with sheds and stock and growings. They wernt outside in the nite no mor they wer inside looking out. The nite jus lookit dark to them they dint see nothing else to it no mor. They los out of memberment the shapes of nite and worrit for ther parpety they myt get snuck and raidit. They made the dog keap look out for ther parpety.
Every morning they were counting every thing to see if any thing ben took off in the nite. How many goats how many cows how many measurs weat and barly. Cudnt stop ther counting which wer clevverness and making mor the same. They said, ‘Them as counts counts moren them as dont count.’
Counting counting they wer all the time. They had iron then and big fire they had towns of parpety. They had machines et numbers up. They fed them numbers and they fractiont out the Power of things. They had the Nos. of the rain bow and the Power of the air all workit out with counting which is how they got boats in the air and picters on the wind. Counting clevverness is what it wer.
When they had all them things and marvelsome they cudnt sleap realy they dint have no res. They wer stressing ther self and straining all the time with counting. They said, ‘What good is nite its only dark time it aint no good for nothing only them as want to sly and sneak and take our parpety a way.’ They los out of memberment who nite wer. They just wantit day time all the time….
They had the Nos. of the sun and mon all fractiont out and fed to the machines. They said, ‘Wewl put all the Nos. in to 1 Big 1…. They bilt the Power Ring thats where you see the Ring Ditch now. They put in the 1 Big 1 and wooshit it roun there came a flash of lite then bigger nor the woal worl and it ternt the nite to day. Then every thing gone black. Nothing only nite for years on end. Playgs kilt peopl off and naminals nor there wernt nothing growit in the groun. Man and woman starveling in the blackness looking for the dog to eat it and the dog out looking to eat them the same. Finely there came day agen then nite and day regler but never like it ben befor. Day beartht crookit out of crookit nite and sickness in them boath.
Now man and woman go afeart by nite afeart by day. The dog all lorn and wishful it keaps howling for the nites whatre gone for ever. It wont show its eyes no mor it wont show the man and woman no 1st knowing. Come Ful of the Moon the sadness gets too much the dog goes mad. It follers on the man and womans track and arga warga if it catches them.
The fires col
My storys tol