Dogson in the forest, painting by Clide Eliche
For many years of my life I was obsessed with a race of ‘dog people’, and sometimes they still visit me, although I’ve mostly written them out of me. They are not hybrids, but dogs – or maybe wolves – that acquired consciousness at some point in evolution, and bear the same relation to canines as humans do to apes. I have a mythological explanation for their awakening, as recorded in these stories. They are good and bad like all conscious creatures, but I think of them as wiser than us, more in tune with earth and with stronger sight reaching into a future which in their hands could be just and happy.
I have written many versions of their story. The narrative poem ‘The Marriage of Wolf and Ship’, also on this website, is the latest, and compresses into a myth the birth, destruction and possible resurrection of sensitive life on earth, with the Wolf as ancient awareness. My last effort at a coherent story, ‘The Yellow Tree’, is a short novel for adolescents about a part ‘wolf’ girl born in an ancient matriarchal city which is taken over by violent human males, so that she escapes to her ancestors in the forest where, after a disastrous marriage, she has the child – a girl – who will renew their civilisation.
That novel is partly a rewriting of a story I called ‘Queenbitch’, not written with children in mind, where the dog-woman at the end is an ancient hag who still has the power to seduce Dogson, a hybrid hero who also finds his way to the city in the forest in search of the secrets that will let him save his race. ‘Fragments of a Myth’ tells the story of Dogson’s mother and of his life and battles and apparent victory. ‘Kali: After the End’ is an account of renewed conflict, where a heroine with cybernetic implants cooperates with age-old werewolves to defeat the despotic, alienated order that is forcing its own time stream back into reality.
The matriarchal (should I call it feminist?) slant in the stories is strong.
Queenbitch is a matriarchal figure, a female who believes in the spiritual superiority of her gender and the rightness of sexual freedom. This is part II of her story, a sporadic diary she keeps over the long years at the ‘Navel’, the dog tribe’s city in the forest. Too much of part I, which recounts her youth in the doomed city of Cynopolis, is reworked in ‘The Yellow Tree’ for it to be worth repeating here.
IN THE SIGN OF THE CAT
You see, Book, I’ve had to learn a whole new way to measure time. There, I’ve written the first words after a change of world. I hope I’ll keep it up from now on.
Poor book, you’re not the clean and beautiful object you once were. Several times I thought I would have to abandon you, when I was running from fierce males, or when I was almost too weak to carry you, but I always managed to hang on to you. And here we are. Your cover is darkened and scratched, and your pages scruffy at the edges, but what is written in you is as clear as the day I wrote it.
Morning breaks over the jungle,
the rising sun dissolves the mists,
framing momentary worlds
for someone’s eyes – for Elephant
on a height above the trees? for Kite
riding the currents of the dawn?
Surely for us. The favoured eyes
are ours; we become the dreamer,
Light is love without attachment
Her name is Kali and she was born in India. She is now head guardian in one of the biggest remaining cities in the south of the north. She has no peace. Wired to her workstation almost every hour of the day, she has to put down outbreaks of contamination all over her area, as well as decide on the compatibility with the Renewal of proposed developments, keep up with news from elsewhere, and deal with eruptions of memory and vision, her own and from the common store.
Never mind the journey. It was the mixture Kali is becoming used to of exhilaration and discomfort, worry and suspension of anxiety for the future. She spent a lot of time during flights and waits tuning in to the Navel and following what Dharma and Dance are doing. They had been afraid the forest might have overgrown the place, but the Tribe’s old spell, Continue reading
The Yellow Tree is a novel for adolescents, with a matriarchal slant. The story involves two races of people: the Lupaka tribe, who are descended from wolves, and the humans of the city of Kynopolis. The city’s royal clan are hybrids, partly Lupaka and partly human.
Kynopolis is an imaginary place, not far from the southern shore of the Mediterranean, in an unspecified but extremely ancient time. A priestess of the Goddess predicts a special destiny for the girl Vio, but she is lively and rebellious and has a privileged life as a member of the royal clan, and she refuses to believe her world will change. Continue reading
1. THE PREDICTION
Vio first heard of her unusual fate when she was still a little girl. She was making mud houses in the garden, on a hot, lazy afternoon, when her nurse, Gora, called her inside.
“What do you want?” shouted Vio. “I’m busy.”
“You’re going to the Temple with your mother. Come and change your dress.”
“I don’t want to,” shouted Vio.
6. A DECLARATION
Vio wondered, as she and Samal walked home from the port where they left the old boat, what kind of welcome she would get from their parents. There was no one around when they reached the house, except Gora, who hugged them and told them to hurry and have a bath before supper.
Vio ran downstairs just as her parents were entering the dining-room, and they sat down at their places as if nothing unusual had happened at all.
There were no immediate repercussions. Vio knew neither Jinis nor Jalkan would forget the insult to their family pride, but for the moment they did nothing to avenge it. Perhaps because the merchant class was not as strong and threatening as it had recently appeared to be. Most people, especially at the port, were still loyal to the Queen. The merchants were not ready for violence. They couldn’t even agree among themselves on what they wanted, Pepi said. Some wanted a share of power, while others, including Jinis, wanted to get rid of the Queen and the royal clan.
17. THE MALE IS GREATER
For a few more moons the changes at Kynopolis appeared to go no deeper. In spite of all she had learnt about it, Vio felt the town was still itself, the home she recognised. She was constantly aware of tension, however, in herself and in the air.
The group of friends, the old boat crew, had taken to meeting in the evenings at Samal and Vio’s home. It had always been their natural meeting place, and now it was a haven. They played games and told stories to distract themselves from worry, but they often discussed what was happening in Kynopolis as well. It was impossible not to; no plans could be made without wondering whether the royal family would be overthrown and what that would mean in their lives.