Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Poetry Reads: Thought Fox by Ted Hughes

Thought Fox by Ted Hughes is evocative. The narrator sits down to write at midnight where –

‘Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move'.

It speaks of the poet’s intent to write where ideas seem to pour into his mind really slow. At the same time, ‘something more near is entering the loneliness’. There emerges something, a fox –

‘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’.

The fox walks leaving an imprint in the snow –

‘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’.

The fox’s gait juxtaposes the emergence of ideas into Hughes’ mind. The ideas formulate bit-by-bit and in a bit the page is typed.

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

The fox is visible and Hughes has completed his piece of writing –

‘Till, with a 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’.

It is no wonder that ‘Thought Fox’ is eloquently derived from the way thoughts sprinkle into one’s mind like the walking of a fox into a clearing.

(Review by Kabita Sonowal)

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