- for Edward James "Ted" Hughes
In this midday moment's forest
there is something else alive
beside a boy's idleness
and an innocent stare, watching a silent den.
Two cubs arise and sniff the air;
their mother has been killed, no star
of fox to shine a path
through darkness, where they live and are.
With scraps of meat, he tempts the two;
the bolder one pads forth, tentative.
Its brother follows, nervously, and now
four innocent eyes, blind to evil, shine, and now
the first is eating scraps from out
his hand, softly as a dream of fox.
The second dances there behind,
smaller, each pad a moment: time ticks,
and it whines. He lifts the stronger
of the two into his arms. It writhes
and wriggles free. A cracking lingers
in the air, and then comes a metal noise:
a trigger pin. The first is killed.
The bullet enters the lit halo of the other,
the anima mundi shot to rags. He kneels in tears:
the poem's there. The poet's born from out the ether.