Friday, 20 August 2010

the fox on the beach

between the sunset and the first star - R S Thomas

the bruised eye of the sinking sun
and the roar of the sea's breath
and then the quick clacker of a fox
tiptoeing down the pebbles
through this going-down day
of upturned boats
and stacked lobsterpots
the invisible sniffed and rejected
above the boats
the lonely call of the owl
the bleating of sheep at prayer
it arrives at the stream's trickle
it sniffs the unseen
it likes the answer
it laps the water
it wanders hither and thither
it sees the sea's indigestible debris
if there are people they are silent and invisible
their anonymous aftermath disgorged
along the strand
their hunger is for progress
their appetite knows no bounds
the fox moves on
it vanishes into the sea's fret



  1. A vivid picture of a wily fox about its secret business...

  2. Yes Poet - lovely imagery and a slightly different place for the fox. I like that.

    I have just re-read the biography of RS Thomas by Justin somebody (can't remember the surname and have lent the book to Dominic) - my goodness me he was a difficult man wasn't he? But didn't he write superlative poetry?

  3. thank you jinksy!

    yes, Weaver, R S Thomas as you say difficult to get on with but great poet - he's an inspiration for me.

    I wrote the poem after George Szirtes (on his blog) described a visit he'd made to a beach in Wales. George Szirtes, I have to say, is another great inspiration for me. He is a great teacher.

  4. I agree with the others as regards the imagery - the first line especially is a corker.

  5. thank you Jim, there's nothing to beat a first line for packing the punch! except perhaps the last.

  6. That has to be one of the most evocative poems I've read.

  7. I really enjoyed this.

    "it sniffs the unseen
    it likes the answer"

  8. My thanks to everybody for the comments, as you've picked up on lines highlighting the qualities or aspects of the imagery in 'the fox...' my own favourite particular is the line which introduces him - "the clacker of ... pebbles" as he tiptoes onto the beach. Once again, thanks.


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