Thought fox

My friends and loved ones call me a crazy silly person.  One of the reasons they cite in support of this diagnosis is my ability to meta-analyse.  Actually I do them an injustice.  It’s more my inability to not meta-analyse everything that amuses (and worries) them.  I like analysis.  And I love the analysis of the analysis.  And the analysis of the conversation about analysing the analysis.  I especially love the following poem and its meta-analytic Hughes.  (The people, they be I right.  I be very crazily silly.)


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 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.

Ted Hughes (Published as part of his first collection ‘The Hawk in the Rain’, 1957)

As you can see, it is a poem about writing a poem.  And it is, in my opinion, the best poem about writing ever written.  It is certainly one of the most successful poems Ted Hughes ever wrote.  And that is saying quite something.    One of my favourite things about this poem is how un-tortured it is.  It is entirely devoid of any writerly angst about the creative process.  I do so love this fox.  Sinister and mysterious perhaps, warm and focussed certainly; but above all: effortless.