Thursday, November 29, 2007

Feeding Habits of Foxes

Feeding Habits of Foxes

In my poems, I leave you
scavenging in decent people's garbage cans,
pacing behind a zookeepers glass, loping
across other people's lawns. Hungry,
I never let you feed.

Why do I leave you
at the end of lines, picking
at some family's thrown out food?

Another writer
leaves you scraps outside
her door, allows you to ask
why you're not being fed.
Not me.

I know this isn't right, know
you hunt alone. You sink
into tangles of sun dried brush, disguised
in your mottled red and white pelt,
invisible to your prey. Even now,

I can't bear to write
that you kill. In flashes of white
knife teeth, you kill to feed
your sleeping family,
to feed yourself.

I think I am afraid
of my own natural red hair,
point of my teeth, my silent
stalking ways. I never know

when I will leave home
hungry, ready to inflict
necessary wounds to feed
myself. No matter

which cage I put you in
I cannot escape
our common name, our common
wild instincts, afraid
as I am of the animal inside.


This poem is a rewrite of a poem from my thesis manuscript. It's about 2/3 of the way into the book. One of the first poems is this one, which is a ghazal. In ghazals, you have to name yourself or speak to yourself. Since my maiden name is Fox, I put foxes in my ghazals. I rewrote this one several times, and my advisor asked me why the fox at the end was always hungry. When I started thinking about it, an earlier version of "Feeding Habits..." came out.

I've rewritten this poem a zillion times, because it always feels un-done. I don't know if it is still unfinished, but here's version number one zillion and one.


paisley said...

well i thought it was wonderful just like this....

aka Danny Wise said...

I think this is realy well thought out and it speaks volumes - only you know if it's finished or not but I like it, it reads very well to me.

Jo said...

Love's my favourite of yours to date! It is so clever, so insightful, so beautifully worded......shows off your poetic imagination.

tumblewords said...

Absolutely superb, in my opinion. I love the rhythm, the content and the wise comparisons that lead me to a path untaken.

Holly Mac said...

Ooh! Such great images. Really great work.

...deb said...

I love this version. I can see where you would or could redo this work over and over--because of the life. Wonderful juxtapositions.

Thanks for telling the back-story, too. It added dimension to what was already rich.

(My mind went to a PBS special about how creatures manage in the city. In some of my research on nature in the city, Germany in particular has a great deal of these creatures.)

gautami tripathy said...

I like the way you speak to the fox. It is very well written as for as I am concerned.


Linda said...

I couldn't stop reading and rereading this! It's perfect, really, just as it is!

Crafty Green Poet said...

It's wonderful just as it is! I love the connections you make and the way you think about both your writing and your attitiude to the fox

Dennis said...

There's a lot of wonderful lines in this poem. I love the concept of "decent" people's garbage. So easy to get lost in that thought.

"afraid of my own natural red hair." Robert Bly writes at length in Iron John about the power of our hair and all that it possesses. You've tapped the existential here.

And lastly, "ready to inflict
necessary wounds" that's my favorite. I'm just lost in that whole idea - but wonderfully so.

Great poem.


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