Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Elegy for a Fox

Displayed upon the pub’s stark wall,
a small, now silent fox’s head
casts its final blind and mindless stare
across the bar,
where a careless crowd of rowdy men,
cheerfully ignore the fact,
that its tired and tarnished plaque,
proclaims a small, sad,
act of cruel sport.

Caught in the concerns of greater kills,
it’s no surprise that this,
its last and glass eyed gaze
should fail to amaze, or, move their
proven need to seed the air
with failure on a larger scale.

And why; among them all,
should its panting tongue
be sung a dirgeful song?
When all the wrong we’ve done
to each, and everyone,
can teach us to reserve
our highest curve of grief
for the relief of human death.
Where breath has been extinguished
on more distinguished fields,
than those, where hunted foxes
lose the final chase.

In secret places, where
the bloody brush is smeared
on young and hot flushed cheeks.
which future joys of innocence
shall send a blush of coyness,
that will mask the tainted,
painted skin,
that hides within the tender face
the sublimating carnal race,
and their meager fall from grace.

Our belief that the demise
of one small and scruffy thief
merits no surprise, and prompts
no whys of conscience to disturb
the placid path of easy laughter,
The fox’s death is understood,
against the scale,
which needs the ill of greater deeds
to feed the will to action.

But, after all the tall and
bright-eyed-bushy-tales are told,
we still unfold the tragic fact
that whilst we can accommodate
the common fate of one small
and furry pest, then, crest its
tiny severed head, with deadly pride
beside forgetful fruits for all to see,
we shall not mend the mind
which finds exhilaration
in annihilation of a nation state.

The same force, which seeks
a source of joy from the safety
of the ritual death of one small life,
can plunge the knife into a thousand guts.
Or, stand aside, and watch the tide of blood;
flood from the cuts
which bleed humanity to death.

©James Rainsford 2011

Note to readers: Posted as my late contribution to dVerse Poets Open Link Night. 
Your thoughts are most welcome. Please click on the comments tab below. I'll try to respond to all who visit and express their views. Kind regards to all at dVerse Poets.


  1. Yeah I have never seen the point in having such heads hanging on the wall. Shame on dVerse for having in on their wall. Was that the pub you were referencing?..haha...great verse.

  2. nice is a slippery small death in sport can lead to so many more...

    we shall not mend the mind
    which finds exhilaration
    in annihilation of a nation state.


  3. Absolutely brilliant James, beautifully shared from a true poet's heart. I love it!
    I remember seeing a similar fox when a small child of five. My parents purchased a new home, and the first time we got to see it my siblings and I raced ahead through the back door and hallway (we wished to climb the stairs to determine which bedroom we would have.) At the bottom of the stairs we were all stopped in our tracks by a wolf's head at the top - this was in fine shape and making a very angry face as if about pounce! We were all in shock and never thought about the poor animal - until now...

  4. Sad...hate this sport....thank you James for sharing your disdain for such inhumanity.

  5. i like the bit where you say 'a careless crowd of rowdy men'

  6. It's very interesting.

  7. you know when i read this the other day i did not even think about the prompt this weekend being WILD...def fits...nice message in this and how we treat the wild and become it ourselves...

  8. I love that you remember that we as a species are killers of the highest order. Maybe that mounted fox head sumbolizes human wisdom, severed and put on display, but yet a result of cruel sport - is wisdom just another pest or do we justify its continual slaughter for short term satisfaction?

  9. I agree this is extraordinary...
    took much thought of the soul
    of the fox, I feel by the following
    words you wrote:

    "where a careless crowd of rowdy men,
    cheerfully ignore the fact,
    that its tired and tarnished plaque,
    proclaims a small, sad,
    act of cruel sport."


    Thank you,
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  10. this is so sad. we treat animals so poorly. it pains me everyday. this is very good.

  11. stunning and very eloquent words... I love this share and frankly I can't eat or dine with those heads hanging over the wall ~

  12. Amen, brother. And that's one ugly-ass mounted head, which is very sad, because alive I'm sure it was a beautiful creature. It really just reflects our ugliness back at us.

  13. So true, James. The badge of the killer is the head of another killer on the wall. It's all a contest, a sport, a game with some higher claim than it deserves. I like your savvy internal rhymes, and the ending sews up the promise of the strong beginning.

  14. As a dirge for the way we treat animals this would be hard to beat.

  15. ... wonder what side you're on... nice capture of the emotions all around... so true the attitudes which can be part of the event... do wonder what song is being sung now

  16. I'll never understand the death of a single fox, but ignore the deaths of a thousand people. I with Lawrence when it comes to weighing the odds:
    And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might spare a million or two of humans
    And never miss them.
    Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost-face of that slim yellow mountain lion... (let's add the red brush-tail of that slim rusty English fox)

  17. perfectly wild and cool.

    How is your day?

    Glad to land here,
    Amazing poetic muses shared,

    Welcome joining us for poets rally week 57,
    A random poem or a free verse is okay.
    Hope to see you in.

    Happy Thursday.


If you wish your views and opinions to be published here, please be polite and respectful. I welcome feedback on my work and will try to respond if you take the trouble to post a comment. Thanks for visiting 'The Sanctum of Sanity.' Hope you enjoyed the experience, James.