Monday, February 15, 2016

The Presence Of A Fox


We will rise and walk away

from somebody else's life.

                                         Lucille Clifton

You drift out of the woods

when yellow burns on the black wick

of evening branches --and stare at me


making a head study

of a woman with the wind. I am indecisive,

afraid to  claim any ground.


You already know yours

as your  feet brand the forest

with sly confidence

casting their imprint among

roots and vines that cannot entrap it.


So why would you , cool vixen, waste time

canvassing  me? Am  I worth

the  hour?  The efforts to trace


and decipher details

that  lead into a lady's soul --

her reluctance to become real,

her glass footsteps that break

into dreams and disappear?


Or  have you come here

in the lamp glow of the sun

as wild literature. Red fur

unscrolling into a feral  

poem. Sleek, muscular lines

I must read and memorize.
This is a poem that I had been tinkering with for quite awhile after reading up on the mythology of Foxes. In Asian lore, vixens can become mortal through two methods, (1) they can seduce a mortal man and steal his soul or (2) they can achieve mortal status by years of patient and intense study. Now the legend never says what they have to study. I extended the second method into this poem where the narrator assumes the fox at sunset is making a study of her. She is a person who lacks self-confidence, afraid to commit to challenge or reality, and who is quite fragile. She can't understand why the fox with all its self-composure, cunning intelligence etc. would even consider studying a human specimen like herself. However, she soon queries if the fox is there for  her to study the tenacious and instinctive ways of the vixen. She begins to believe the animal has come to help her become a stronger individual and someone who can evolve and leave her former self behind. Sometimes, animal spirits in their own bodies are sent to aid and enlighten us mortals.

No comments: