Friday, August 1, 2008


The words won't come. Much is happening and very little of it translates to a blog post. Thoughts come and go, drift and evaporate. Looking back I see that August has been the month in each of the past two years that I've taken a blog break. Hmmm.


In the middle of the night, last night, I woke up. Power cut. No habitual shadows on the wall from the street light. I reach for the bedside lamp. Click. Nothing. No World Service murmering by my left ear. I shuffle to the window and look out over a sea of total, unaccustomed dark.


Leading onto a middle-of-the-night poem by Ted Hughes. Out of season, but who cares. I've only recently discovered this and I absolutely love it, the symbolism, the physicality of the description of a very non-physical event.

The Thought-Fox

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Ted Hughes


herhimnbryn said...

Oh, you have taken me back to the first time I read this ( I was 16) and like you was enthralled by his words.

Power cuts mean you can light candles, so that's good then!

Zhoen said...

I always loved the storms that cut the lights, and the hurricane candle, red with the plastic netting around it, came out.

Dale said...


Sky said...

there is something exciting yet frightening to me about loss of power, the darkness i cannot control. even with the emergency lanterns lit, i don't feel the same sense of safety. anxiety cuts the air and charges it with frenzy. yet, i like the darkness, i do - as long as i know it is within my control.

did anything highly significant happen in august in your early years? sometimes our psychic minds remember, even if we don't.

thanks for sharing the poem which i had never seen.

Anonymous said...

Hang on in there and take care of yourself.


leslee said...

Finding it hard to post myself this summer. Are you journal writing? I've done a bit more of that (doesn't require coherence!). Hope all's well...

mm said...

HHB: Glad you like the poem as much as I do.

Zhoen: Candles and lamps are good. Soft light.

Dale: Thanks.

Sky: I tend to agree with you about the quality of "power cut" darkness. What it did on Thursday was remind me how scarily dependent we are in the developed world on electricity. I forget so easily.

Ooh, can't place anything particular in August. Will have to think!

Jan; Thank you. I know I owe you an email ... will write I promise.

Leslee: No, even the journalling has dried up. Will press on with the blogposts - not too much of a hardship really.

Dick said...

Such an influential poem, this. It changed my perception of the 'nature poem' entirely. And every time I see a fox I think of Ted Hughes!

mm said...

Dick: I've a feeling I will be doing the same!

MB said...

I need to read more Ted Hughes. :-)

Summer seems to me to give but also take energy. Shifts energy and focus around, somehow, in ways I don't always expect. But it all comes right in the end.