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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Urban Foxes

Urban foxes
visiting each night.
A neighbour feeds them,
puts out bowls of food. Expensive food -
and so, of course they come.

Same lady nurtures cats.
Half feral and her own.
Cat and fox devise routines;
avoid each other
like two plagues.

Another neighbour keeps a dog
it loves to bark at foxes.
Incessantly.
With boy soprano bark -
and fear of foxes?

My daughter met a fox
confronted its two eyes
in total darkness late at night -
it having
cat-flapped in.

Weird sounds the foxes make
like babies crying. Times enough
more boy soprano than the dog.
The copulation finished,
they fail to disengage - I'm told.

So are they truly urban when
their homeland is a park -
the sort with cattle, deer
a golf course and a house -
forget the flowery kind?

And after death their spirits wander back
to lodge among the trees.
I see them etched in bark
or curled around a gnarl.
One runs along a branch

but mostly they look out
on where they used to live:
a head or face with paws.
Though one is stuck -
its tail is all I see.

16 comments:

TechnoBabe said...

Nature at its best. I always wonder if it is good to feed wild animals but when humans invade their territory it lessens their natural lunch choices. Nice writing and I can picture the neighborhood.

Tabor said...

Foxes are such curious creatures...that cannot help but make one smile when they peak in a window at night!

Poetic Artist said...

Nature in words of a poet..Foxes are beautiful creatures. The cycle of wild animals and how we sometimes a humans step in to help, but are we taking the wild out of them. The thing we think is so mysteries. Or are we part of the cycle.
Always enjoy your work.
Katelen

Adrian LaRoque said...

This one is great Dave, great!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Very true, the tail or even less is what we see of them, when we look they have always just passed, they are glimpses of fur.

angryparsnip said...

absolutely wonderful.

cheers, parsnip

Rachel Cotterill said...

We have foxes but they're 100% rural - love your vignettes :)

thingy said...

"And after their spirits wander to lodge among the trees."

That is so beautiful. I just love that.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

charming piece ... The critters that transit our (fenced and city neighborhood) yard include raccoons, opossums, and skunks. Mice & birds, of course. The latter occasionally come in the house as cat prey.

David Cranmer said...

Another day. Another top piece.

Shadow said...

kinda like the cheshire cat *grin* i think we are invading too much of nature's space, thus it starts 'invading' ours...

Jim Murdoch said...

When I lived with my parents on the edge of the town it wasn’t too unusual to see foxes and my mother would encourage any animal into her garden including the odd fox. It was only when I moved into the inner city that I encountered the urban fox. In fact I saw more foxes when I lived in Jordanhill that I ever saw throughout my childhood. I once saw three of them at one time on Sunday morning padding along the street and not the slightest bit wary of me; scrawny-looking things they were – made me quite sad to see them. Since we’ve moved back to the edge of the city though I don’t think I’ve seen a single fox – seriously you walk out of my front door and you’re in the countryside – but I did look out of the living room window one morning and saw a couple of honest-to-goodness deer up the hill; that was a first.

Dave King said...

TechnoBabe
I share your doubts re feeding, though we do it for the wild birds... difficult.

Tabor
Absolutely!

Poetic Artist
Yes, I think we are taking the wild out of them, and that's a shame. Thank you for your visit and your comments.

Adrian
Thanks for the feedback.

Tommaso
But I fancy that they are getting bolder.

angryparsnip
Thanks greatly. Much appreciated.

Rachel
Thanks Rachel.

thingy
Thanks for that. Useful to hear these things.

Glenn
AH... for us - so far - it's been foxes and deer. The deer take themselves off in the early hours to a (not very) near-by river - circum-navigating a roundabout in the correct direction as they go.

David
Grateful for the comment.

Shadow
Good point.

Jim
Yes, there have been some interesting programmes about urban foxes on the T.V. over the last year or so. A lot of ambivalent thinking about them, though.

Linda said...

I agree with Shadow and as the population of the world explodes, the situation will continue to worsen. You have totally captured the spirit of the fox in your poem Dave. I like the way the verses wander around the edges of what a fox is really all about.

Your poem reminds me of a Robert Bateman painting of a fox. There is no fox in the painting, only snow, bushes, dead leaves and a wooden fence the colour of fox fur. Around the edges of the painting are footprints marking the trail where the fox has traveled. =D

Lucas said...

A friend of mine who feeds urban foxes, feels that their wildness is not tamed by their taking of food. She gets them bits from the butcher, touggh she herself is a veggie.
For me the poem really takes off with the forms these foxes take in their afterlife, literally becoming part of nature.

Dave King said...

Linda
What an interesting comment! Sorry to be so tardy in reply. I don't know the Bateman painting in question, shall have to do a bit of research, but it sounds fascinating.

Lucas
Thanks for that. Yes, the lady in my poem has bits delivered by a local butcher for the foxes. I was very gratified by your comment on the section of the poem which speaks of the afterlife of the foxes, for that was in my mind from the beginning. When I began the poem I knew that that was where I wanted to go; I just wasn't sure how I was going to get there.