Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Thought Fox

The Thought-Fox by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.


  1. Lengthy, but beautiful--and very alive. It almost makes me think of haiku without the brevity and verse format.

    Here's one I wrote. Pardon the arrogance of putting something of my own next to something as pretty and well-done as that.

    Mononoke - By Anthony Lutz

    Mononoke You were to Me
    An apparition—of ecstasy!
    Bakemono: You were
    Of crème and crimson:
    Fox’s fur.

    I loved longed and wished
    For You
    To take Me and I You
    To share that Tryst; that, lovers do.
    But I a man—alas
    Could not!
    And You were; yet a Thought!

    That I and Me could tear this skein—
    And know, Mononoke—from within!

  2. I think I like the line--

    "And again, now, now, and now" perhaps the most out of the entire poem, because it feels like the fox is flitting from position to position, running toward the viewer and watching him curiously.

    Sorry, I know I could have posted that before, but I'm a tad bit of a scatterbrain.

  3. I think it's a pretty fabulous way of looking at inspiration also!

  4. I think it makes me think, that animals have a way of filling the loneliness in our at-times empty human lives.

    But they are a wild thing that must be appreciated free and from a distance, not as pets. It is such a sad thing that a human's measure of contentment is so often in what he can 'hold'.

    The best things run free--almost like lovers in a healthy relationship...

    Sorry, I guess that sounds odd. Oh well.! =D

  5. So then perhaps, to write about something free, and doing what it does best, is better than to have that thing in your possession.

    Inspiration isn't something you can ever own as an object, after all. It just comes and goes, like a wild animal, visiting where it pleases.