Search This Blog

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Poem: Fox

I wrote this poem when I was still Kristina Fry.  That was a long time ago!  It was published in an anthology created from the entries to the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 1995.

Dorothy Hewett, a writer I admire and a judge of the competition, said, "What I look for in a poem is risk taking, a sense of the fabulous,and a sophisticated technique.  All the best poems in this collection share these qualities."

I hope mine was one of them!


In the bright greyness
of before-dawn
my speeding eye
is caught by a flashing of movement
through the long grass of the fallow paddock
here I've often watched
and pitied
the single sheep in his lonely flockless life
slow the car
the sheep is lying under the tree
watching too
right in the centre
a fox
a fox dancing
he glows
he is young slim alive
I stop the car
the fox is dancing through the paddock
one step two step three step
change legs
one step two step three step
tiny tiny feet
as light as a butterfly
his ears are pricked
above his delicate foxy face
his tail
what do you call it?
his brush
a brush is a dead trophy on a car aerial
his tail
is defying gravity
floating along straight back
as if on water
I sit in my car
on the way to my mundane job
and know and feel this for a magic moment
this wonderful creature of fantasy
is not the feral pest of the biology books
nor the gingery shadow
which slips under the headlights at night
nor is he the same as the skulker
who took my hens
one by one
six in six nights
scorning my protective efforts
leaving their severed heads behind for me to mourn
no this fox is lightness and brightness
wildness and so alive
as I watch he slips through the fence
out of sight
heading for home in the hills
I drive in the other direction
smiling feeling good
feeling privileged
Ah young one I think
be careful
you are not wily yet
but my thoughts are of
guns traps poison
as I speed along in my lethal weapon
and when I drive again to work
along the same stretch of road
in the grey brightness of near-dawn
the small ginger carcase
at the roadside
is as saddening and personal
as a death in the family
and I am crushed
by the guilt of my species.

All three beautiful artworks are by Katie Grove.     

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to read your comment, so please do!