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Poetry Pleases: The Fox

In Jackie Mallinson's poem the glimpse of a fox in the night prompts thoughts of the rights and goodness of humankind.

Late night. Late dark smooth hours.
Taste of brandy on my tongue.
The wind has sudden stilled.
Quiet quivers a run of fear on arms.
Corner eye picks movement stealing
Whips alarm along my back.
Eye sharpened seeks knowledge.
It’s only a cat.
But no, it is the vixen -
Or the fox?

I heard you in the night,
Other late hours, wakeful in a soft bed.
‘Armies of the Night’ had laid a spell –
Dialogue imagined –
Till your call. A witches triangle
Species spreading at the expense of all.

I read my interpretation
In your glass frozen look.
You do not like my eye –
Yet I love yours.
In my garden, slunk hard against the wall
You fear and sweat

And wish my eye away.
I let you go.
And in a moment stand where you have stood,
Closed eyes, thinking softly of flags and countries
In this so English night listening air.
Tension wracked, not with distant echoes of strife and war,
But running out extensions of guilt within –
Lives wires to the use
And useless abuse of men.

What do I know in this moment but
That I would stand to honour any ordinary man’s flag,
And know he stood
To link a collective consciousness of what is,
Hopefully, good –
Yet also knowing the rights of man
Displace the likenesses of fox.

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