“The Fox”

Image result for foxes

(Huffington Post.com)

 

I am to be one of the ‘featured’ poets at the Earth Day Celebration April 26, 2017 at Sevananda Foods, here in Atlanta, Ga.   Poetry readings are to be of a Nature theme, which is proper for the event.  The poetry is from 6-9 pm with open mic after.  In trying to select appropriate poems for this event, I had a hard time culling out poems.  I selected 15 poems.  It should be interesting.  I don’t read well in public so I will have to work on this. Already my vocals are scaring the cats and making the dogs howl.  Posting this early for dversepoets pub Open Link Night on Thursday.

Lady Nyo

PS: I LOVE foxes.  I would have one here if it wasn’t so illegal.  No fox was hurt or injured in the writing of this poem.

The Fox

Yanked from sleep

By a scream

Wrapping around the belly,

Fueled by some instinct,

Long buried thread of ancestors.

Bolting upright

Knowing without knowing

A terrible slaughter was tearing

The soft night apart.

I had heard that sound before.

Coming fully awake,

heart pounding through my chest

I listened again, and there!

The vocals of a hen attacked

By something stealing through

The soft night, waiting beyond

The edge of sleep.

 

Three dogs have I

City dogs, though with

The blood of once-fierce hounds.

Not one of them would

Run out to do battle.

Grabbing the collar of the

Biggest, he turned and bit me-

He was no fool.

There was danger

In that dark night-

He was doing his best

To avoid it.

 

Stupid hounds!

I’ll face the monsters

Out there myself!

And switching on the porch light

I saw the dark flight of something

Fly across my yard and vision,

Take a sharp left and disappear

Into the night where porch light met

A dismal darkness.

 

Running to the chicken coop,

Found a young hen, a pile of feathers

Mounded around her, still alive

Clucking mournfully.

 

How do you comfort a tail- less hen

At dawn, with a crescent moon

Throwing feeble light upon the ground of slaughter?

I’ve raised hens for enough years

To know they are merciless to the injured.

But the events of the night

Had stunned their own instincts

And she burrowed amongst them,

They crowding around, covering with feathers and warmth,

Rocked out of their slumber

Clucking out warnings to further attackers:

Let the night and its beasts hear their rage!

 

In the morning I asked my neighbor

Once a south-Georgia farm boy what to do.

His answer was bloodier than

The attack of this young fox,

For young he must be,

Not to kill his prey on first strike.

 

“Spread poison in the kudzu,

Here, I’ll lend you a shotgun-

Fox be vermin and bred for no good.”

 

There is something mystical

In a fox who dares to live in a city.

Or desperate.

 

Birthed in the kudzu growing

From the leveling of a small forest

Sheltered in one-foot wide drainpipes,

Feeding on rats and rabbits

With a taste for chicken from time to time.

 

No.

I’ll lock up my chickens

Let a dog prowl the fence,

And leave off the

Modern methods of slaughter.

 

There must be a balance in nature

As it struggles to right itself

To bypass concrete and the destruction

Of habitat by mankind.

There will be a balance

And I will stand with the foxes.

 

Oh, it is a marvel and a mystery!

For every species is the center of its universe,

If only for him.

 

We are connected by a fine thread to all else,

Our survival depends upon this,

Yet our eyes are blinded to the truth

And something in the proclamation

Of “Inheriting the Earth”

Lies and trips us up,

And we are no more shepherds

Of these species than wolves

In human skin.

 

The world is what it is,

With its own rules of hunger, survival,

We just a cog in this great Mandala,

And most of us attempt to bypass

These laws of nature, still clothed with

Dead dreams of conquerors.

 

And some of us know this deep in our bones.

 

We are blind to the beauty of life

That we are not alone.

The tragedy would be if we were,

And we deny our connection to what we now proclaim “vermin”,

Believing for some bad reason this makes us more human.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

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35 Responses to ““The Fox””

  1. Dr. Crystal Howe Says:

    Amazing work! It hits home for me. I live in the country, but my family has 5 dogs, I don’t know how many very young hens, and foxes that prowl the neighborhood. We shall see. The eggs may not be worth the price.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    I understand. Deeply. But the eggs are good and when we support and raise hens we are closer to Nature and both sides benefit. It’s not cheap, as a dozen store brought eggs are cheaper than the chicken feed, etc. But we are doing something good I believe, beyond the eggs. There is a balance in nature and we struggle to make it so. But the crow of Goofy the Rooster and his fat, waddling hens, as they raid the dog bowls with the dogs eating, is worth it. A few hens lost to a starving fox is not a terrible unbalancing of nature. I think how we tray, gas and kill foxes, little kits in their dens and it torments me. They are beautiful and intelligent beings, and a species that I admire for many reasons. Their daring to challenge us with their presence for one! thank you Crystal, for reading and your comment. I hope for the best for your hens and your dogs and your foxes. And that you live in the country is even better. I have a 1/4 of an acre here, but it backs up on 9 acres of once woodland that the City stripmined. It took only a year or so for it to come back and the kudzu and bamboo have dominated the once woods. The large and small trees are gone, but I did notice some wild dogwood , Pink! Growing and blooming last year. Nature will find a way. thankfully.

    Like

  3. phoartetry Says:

    You’ll do just find on mic night, I’m sure of that, Jane, and your poem is outstanding. 👍

    Hugs

    Connie

    PS: picking up my puppy Sunday 🐶 💞 😃

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Connie! Congrats on the puppy!! How wonderful! Nothing better than a new puppy. How sweet! Be prepared for a lot of love and licking! LOL!

    Thank you, Connie…actually it’s a little more than just open mic: As a ‘featured’ poet, I am to at least read for around 20 minutes. Yikes! And since I don’t talk a lot to people daily….I find my vocal chords rusty. LOL!~ well, we will see. And thank you for reading and commenting on “The Fox”. It’s my longest poem and that will be a challenge!!!

    Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. phoartetry Says:

    Breathe in breathe out, relax…you’ll do fine. 👍😃. Hugs

    Like

  6. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! I am a terrible public reader…but I ‘m working at it. The dogs are still howling at the sound of my voice, but the cats are getting used to it. And Congrats on the new Puppy! Have a name yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. MarinaSofia Says:

    Congratulations on being selected for the reading, I am sure you will do so well! Your poems are wonderful!
    I am torn about foxes as well: I like them, I understand they have to live as well, and more and more are coming into cities where they can have an easy life rummaging amongst the rubbish (or possibly hunting rats). We had quite a shy one in the garden of our block of flats in South London. At the same time, my grandmother was furious with them stealing her chicks.

    Like

  8. catnip-timoteo.blogspot .com Says:

    …we are no more shepherds of these species than wolves in human skin…”
    That says it all.

    Like

  9. Jade M. Wong Says:

    Good luck on the event, and if this poem is any indication, I’m sure they’re going to love your work!

    Like

  10. kim881 Says:

    Oh, heartfelt congratulations, Jane, on being a ‘featured’ poet at the Earth Day Celebration and good luck! I too love foxes and thoroughly enjoyed this poem. I love the lines:
    ‘…something stealing through
    The soft night, waiting beyond
    The edge of sleep’.
    I feel sorry for the tail-less hen, though.

    Like

  11. hypercryptical Says:

    Congrats on being a featured poet, I admit I would be nervous too.

    I understand you words for all forms of life have a purpose and everything exists to survive. Sometimes we get in the way of each other…
    Anna :o]

    Like

  12. Jane Dougherty Says:

    I agree with your decision in the poem. Everything has to live and foxes eat chickens if they get a chance and if we drive away all their other prey with poison and shot guns.

    Like

  13. ladynyo Says:

    Yep. I would have no other decision. Thanks, Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Anna! We do get in the way of each other….but especially of other species. Thank you so much, Anna, for reading and your thoughtful comment.

    Like

  15. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kim. This poem could probably use editing, but I don’t have the energy right now to do it. so it stands as is. No foxes were injured or harmed in the writing of this poem! LOL! Thank you, Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Jade, for your very kind words. It is one of two very long poems. LOL! There are parts I stumble and start to cry. I have to practice this so that doesn’t happen.

    Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Catnip. I thought so too. Sometimes we write poems that are deeper than we could ever consciously do. LOL!
    Thank you so much for reading and your on point comment.

    Like

  18. ladynyo Says:

    I understand Marina. However, we have destroyed their habitat. It’s not such an easy life for them, though, They are poisoned, trapped and gassed like before. And they are such magnificent animals! I love to paint them, and will do so again. They are extremely intelligent and have to be living amongst us humans. I try to feed them when I think they are in the area. I have seen starved and dying cats, dogs and raccoons and don’t want to see this again. IF you call Animal Control, they are gassed, killed and sometimes the ‘personel’ cut off their tails for decorations on their cars and trucks. Barbarians. I know there is the issue of rabies…but perhaps it is rarer than we think? In any case, I have seen kits up close and they are the most beautiful things on earth. Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Grace Says:

    Congrats on being a featured poet and I am sure you will do well ~ This is a lovely and amazing poem Jane ~ Best of luck ~

    Like

  20. Victoria C. Slotto Says:

    This is a wonderful, thought provoking poem about the balance of nature. We witness the number of baby ducklings diminish here each year, thanks to hawks and coyotes. We watch the nesting, the hatching, the first dips into the water and then the loss. The loss hurts, but then we consider what would happen if each batch of about 13 all survived–there are lots of “batches.” We would be wading in duck poop to be not too subtle. Love this poem. Good luck with the reading…a wonderful opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Victoria. It’s probably the longest poem I have ever written. I am not much for long poems. LOL! Balance of Nature. As poets we surely can attend to that fundamental question with the use of our verse. And planting gardens or flowers or a tree! I think poetry is part of our arsenal for ‘good’ and gardening for the soul. LOL!@ Those baby ducklings….poor little things. But I hear that a mother or father will push the heads of a few ducklings under the surface and drown them when they have too many to feed. Ugh. We have two baby kittens we rescued this last weekend. About 4-5 weeks. There were 4 but a dog got two. (or the mother moved them…) Edwina and Fudo. LOL@ But it’s so much fun Victoria to watch these babies. They are just like human babies….

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Grace. I was thinking about reading this poem but attention span as it is with many in the public, and I don’t read out loud well…it might have to be ditched. LOL! People tell me just to breathe…and slow down. We will see. Glad you liked this poem, Grace. It could use some work.

    Like

  23. frankhubeny Says:

    Nice connection in the last two lines between “vermin” and “human”. I think the poem reads well. It should keep the attention of the audience even though it is long. There was the part about hens being merciless to the injured, but they didn’t seem to be so this time. That was a nice section. The fence sounds like a good idea. This might be something that rotates around the building the hens are in so the land can be fertilized by the hens for a period of time and then become part of a garden when the fence is moved to a new location.

    Like

  24. whippetwisdom Says:

    Congratulations with being a featured poet Jane and this thought-provoking poem is so perfect for Earth Day! I am with you in your decision and love foxes – we can always find a peaceful balance when we are willing to look. Here is a lucky shamrock 🍀for your reading and we send love and hugs your way 💖 xxx

    Like

  25. ayala zarfjian (@ayalazarfjian) Says:

    Congrats! This is wonderful.

    Like

  26. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Ayala! Thank you so much.

    Like

  27. ladynyo Says:

    Xenia! Thank you! I will need that lucky shamrock! And I think though it’s a long poem…I will read this for Earth Day. You have convinced me. Yes, you are right. We can always find a peaceful balance if we are willing to look. You speak the truth. Love and Hugs to you, Darling!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. whippetwisdom Says:

    Thank you Jane and enjoy the ride tomorrow :o) xxx

    Like

  29. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Frank! Thank you for your considered comments about the poem and chickens. I have had to remove an injured hen (broken leg, who died) from the crowd because they hassled her. I was saddened by their actions and this particular hen had gone broody: she sat on eggs when I didn’t have a rooster. I went out and bought her 5 chicks and they would pop up around her feathers! they were so cute. She was an excellent mother, never having been so before…none of the hens were….and she was so good forge ring for bugs, etc. with them. She was a yellow hen, big, and just sweet. And we have a main fence and have had for 20 years at least….but we need to rebuild the henhouse or aleast rotate the pen. That’s an excellent idea. I think the hens didn’t gang up on her because they were all shocked by the visit of the fox….but she did survive.
    I know there is an issue with ‘new’ manure, but frankly, I just throw it around fruit trees or try to integrate it into the garden. I don’t when the plants are growing though. afraid of ecoli. Thank you, Frank, for your crits on the poem. I am going to work on it this weekend to see if I can shorten any passage.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. phoartetry Says:

    We’re picking her up Sunday. About an eight hour drive, but will do it in a two day trip. Can’t be the car that long any more.

    The puppy’s name is Maggie LeRoux. The name LeRoux means the red-hair one. She should weigh a little over 2lbs.

    Like

  31. Linda Kruschke Says:

    What a wonderful tale! Where I live we have raccoons and an occasional coyote who seem out of place in the urban sprawl speckled with mini forests here and there. I’ve even had a raccoon come into my house through a dog door mid-day in search of food for her young ones. Though I shooed her out, I too would never resort to poison to get rid of one just trying to survive in a world we humans have invaded.

    Like

  32. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Linda. Those raccoons are beautiful creatures. the empty two story house next to us….slum lord is holding on to it until gentrification gets in fuller swing here…had a mom and two kits in an upstairs window. They were lovely. Don’t know how they got in but there they were! I know that they can be rabid…but we had one a few years ago who would make the trip from the community garden, straight down the street to my neighbor’s driveway and back into the kudzu field. He thought it was a pet because it was so shiny…like it was groomed. LOL! I love the wildlife around here, 3 miles south of Atlanta center. We have found mini balls from the Civil War here on our property and didn’t realize that in 1865 the breastworks were dug and constructed on the back of our property. Amazing history. Well, besides the Red Tail Hawks, the peregrine falcons from downtown, the raccoons the possums, sometimes rabbits and other wild life, it feels more like the country than an old suburb of Atlanta. fine with me!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. ladynyo Says:

    What kind of puppy is Maggie, Connie?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. phoartetry Says:

    Toy poodle.

    Like

  35. ladynyo Says:

    OH Joy! Smartest dog around. Lucky you!

    Like

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