Eternal Recurrence

To everybody’s amazement old Bonnemort could be seen standing on a log and holding forth in the midst of the uproar. Until then he had stood there absorbed, appearing, as he always did, to be musing on far-off things. Probably he was overcome by one of those garrulous fits which suddenly came and stirred up the past so violently that his memories welled up and poured out of his mouth for hours. A deep silence had fallen, and they listened to this old man, this ghostly spectre in the moonlight, and as he was telling things with no obvious bearing on the discussion, long stories that nobody could understand, the amazement grew. He was talking about his own young days, the death of his two uncles who were crushed in a fall at Le Voreux, then he went on to the pneumonia that had carried off his wife. But through it all he clung to his point: things had never gone well in the past and they never would in the future. For example, they had had a meeting in the forest, five hundred of them, because the king would not reduce working hours; but then he stopped short and began the story of another strike—he’d seen so many of them, he had! And they had all finished up under these trees in the Plan-des-Dames, or else at the Charbonnerie, or further off still, over Saut-du-Loup way. Sometimes it was freezing, sometimes it was blazing. One night it had rained so hard that they had gone home without saying anything. And the king’s soldiers arrived and it ended up with shooting.

—Emile Zola, Germinal

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7 Responses to “Eternal Recurrence”


  1. 1 possum October 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    “…the king’s soldiers arrived and it ended up with shooting.” Is that not always the way of things? What a very sad commentary on the human condition.

    • 2 bluenred October 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      That guy in the picture is what you look like these days after a day of mining coal in China. There may be no king there, these days, but I’d say that picture says things are still Wrong. ; /

      • 3 possum October 6, 2011 at 4:10 am

        Reminds me of days long ago in West Virginia coal mines. In fact, much of the same continues today. Coal is King in West Virginia until we find ways to wean ourselves off the carbon fuels addiction.

    • 4 bluenred October 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Also, and speaking of Wrong, what in the sam hill is going on there in your state? I just saw on the googles that some woman from some burg called Brookside Park sold her infant son for $15,000 because she wanted money to go to Disney World.

      • 5 possum October 6, 2011 at 4:09 am

        Bizarre story. Apparently the woman did not want another child but would not have an abortion. A troubled person with a checkered past. One more sad commentary on life in these United States today.

  2. 7 possum October 6, 2011 at 7:10 am

    One more O’Kooky is the last thing we need around Possum Valley. That crowd has caused enough trouble already. :)


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When I Worked

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