Login   Sign Up 



by desdillon 

Posted: 12 March 2014
Word Count: 112
Summary: THis is a re-write of a poem I posted on Every Day Poets now taking their notes into consideration.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

A fox’s frosted coat sparkled starlight
on a snowbound single track mountain road.
I crunched to a halt. ‘The fuck’re ye doing
on the road?’  The universe floated
in her eyes. ‘Do ye want a wee sweetie?’
‘Hungry,’ she said, by a bow of her head.
Dropping it on snow a foot from the car,
I swapped a fox a polo mint for trust.
She looked at me. The mint. Me. Licked. Blinked. Picked
and backed into pine behind fogs of breath.
In dusts of snow five bright fox cubs appeared.
I scattered a packet of minty manna.
I dropped six midnight kebabs in heather
under six twin galaxies peering with life.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

RalphFSmith at 21:14 on 12 March 2014  Report this post

I have travelled at night on narrow snowy roads and have encountered animals whose eyes sparkle in the headlights of the car.  You capture that kind of encounter so well, and let the experience grow into poetic almost spiritual dimensions.  I love the polo mints and the dialogue. 

The only comment I have is about one word near the end:

I dropped six midnight kebabs in heather
under six twin galaxies peering with life.

I understand the six twin galaxies as the eyes of the mother wolf and the five cubs.  These eyes do indeed peer but I think that you mean the galaxies are filled with life (I am not sure what "peering with life" would mean).  A word like "infused" might work well here instead of "peering."

This is really excellent work.


desdillon at 11:47 on 13 March 2014  Report this post
Hi Ralph

thanks for taking the time to comment. That last line was the line I had problems with. I tried to get the reader to see the eyes peering out and that works for you - but I couldn't get the eyes and the galaxies teeming with life into the same image. But you have found the word and that's the word i'm going to use. 

I dropped six midnight kebabs in heather
under six twin galaxies infused with life.

And after typing this I see how Infused also hints at newness - recently given life etc.? The cubs.

Thanks Ralph

James Graham at 20:59 on 16 March 2014  Report this post
Another excellent poem, Des. Before praising its virtues I’ll get this little issue out of the way. It’s something that occurred to me immediately, on first reading. Reverse the order of the first two lines:

On a snowbound single track mountain road
a fox. Her frosted coat a ______ of stars.

This way you would use the line-break to convey the narrator’s sudden sighting of the fox. Driving along, fed up, pesky little road, then wow! A fox! The change perhaps requires the rest of the (new) second line to be changed, partly for the sake of the rhythm - but for another reason too. ‘A fox’s frosted coat sparkled starlight’ is quite literal, saying the fox was literally seen by starlight, reflecting light from the stars. You may smile at this, but if we’re being literal the fox would in fact be seen in the light of the car headlamps, with which the stars couldn’t compete. Now, if instead you say her coat was - metaphorically - a something of stars, I think that’s much more effective. More poetic, let’s just say. As for the ‘something’ word, ‘drift’ seems a good choice, as it obviously relates to snow as well as being a figurative word for a distant galaxy. But you might want to use ‘nebula’ or some other word instead.
How about that? Let me know what you think. One more little hair-splitting suggestion: ‘snowbound narrow mountain road’? It’s just simpler. After these first two lines, which I’ve just mangled beyond recognition, you will be relieved to know that I don’t think there’s a single thing in the rest of the poem that needs changing. Except that I agree with Ralph about ‘infused’. Oh, and in the fourth last line you could just have ‘five bright cubs’.
The transition from the narrator’s brief - very idiomatically Scottish - outburst of road rage, to the ‘swap’ of ‘a polo mint for trust’ is brilliant. This especially:

The universe floated
in her eyes

which is like a quote from a love poem. It wonderfully conveys how the fox wins his heart, as it were..
I like the moments of uncertainty in the first line of the second stanza. From each word to the next, something changes. And this is top-rate:

and backed into pine behind fogs of breath.
In dusts of snow five bright fox cubs appeared

The parallel between ‘fogs of breath’ and ‘dusts of snow’ is very subtle, and each image is visually very vivid. Indeed the whole poem is visually as clear as that winter night, and your cosmic imagery adds another level of meaning.

desdillon at 11:28 on 17 March 2014  Report this post
Hi James - thanks for your comments and taking the itme to comment. I totaly agree with the swapping of the first two lines and the logic of the light from the car vs the light of the stars. So I have to thank you for that. And very happy that you ogt the feeling form the poem I intended because I totally agree with William Empson - the job of the poet is to put the feeling inside the poet's head - inside the reader's head.

I like drift of stars and was also toying with a christmas of stars -but I'm totally autistic re keeping twn syllables to the line in these sonnets i'm writing.  So should go with drifs with it's connexion with snow and(i dind't know) with distant galaxies.

A single track road is a cretain kind of road in scotland - impassable by two cars and usually in high exposed places. Narrow could connote - a narrow but two lane road. 

Also I've changed peered to infuse and now - I think this is on of my recent best poems.

Thank you

James Graham at 17:44 on 17 March 2014  Report this post

should go with drifts with its connexion with snow and (I didn't know) with distant galaxies

You didn't know 'drift' is used when referring to stars because it isn't! It's not a term in astronomy; I meant it to be metaphorical. A whole lot of stars appearing to be close together in the night sky could imaginatively be called a drift of stars. Referring to snow, of course it is the word commonly used. Anyway, even if astronomers don't talk about a drift of stars, poets are allowed to. The more I think about it, the more it seems the perfect word in this line. And it keeps the 10 syllables.

'Crowd of stars' would be quite good, but Yeats thought of it first.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep [...]
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

And I agree 'narrow road' won't do. Not at all the same as a single-lane road with (not enough) passing places. 

I think this is one of my recent best poems

- it's certainly a very fine poem. It does what Empson says.


Bazz at 13:33 on 16 April 2014  Report this post
Hi Des, sorry i haven't commented on this earlier, i thought i had! I really like this poem, the imagery is really strong, and captures an extraordinary yet intimate moment. "The universe floated in her eyes" is a great line.
I had trouble with the penultimate line, though, not sure what's meant by "six midnight kebabs in heather..."

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .