This is how a poet reacts to a scrim of meat dust on a cold black road

I saw a fox get hit by a car. I tried to help. This was the result:

The Vixen in the Grass

I vowed new life

For the fox

On its bier by the road;

My arms swathed red,

I fingered the claw marks.

Its distended eye,

The color of berries,

Twitched in the socket

With implacable pulse

That nonetheless ceased

At the moment its heart did.


I absorbed something of her,

My sister the vixen,

Something other than blood,

As I stood there staring

By the side of the road.

She took something of me

In the breath of her dying;

Some strong, invisible force

From that other world.


I promised a life, of a kind,

To that victim; that mentor

Who led me where none else could

The red-haired lady, flame tipped,

Who leads me on still,

Slinking before me,

Arms open, beckoning

Along the winding pathways

Between bracken and stream,

Leading to the deep places

Where every leaf

Is gold edged with meaning,

And every shadow

Has cutting depth.


They say, those tricksters,

Iconographer poets,

That a lady in white satin

Will meet you, to lead

You to death. Somehow

I do not doubt this, though white

Is so blameless; she must be red.

The color of my arms,

After lifting the body,

The color of fur, flayed

On the road, the color of waste

Of flesh on the bone.


I see a woman

Who is somehow two creatures,

A being made multiple,

Symbiotic, absorbed,

A creature brought forth

By the mingling of blood.

My lover, my daughter,

My death by the road;

A long tail, like a brush tip,

Peeks from the rim of her gown,

Her smile, sharp toothed, dazzling,

And her eyes, like pink yew berries,

Numinous, glowing, brimmed holes

In a down garbed skull,

Leading deep, ever deeper,

To deaths other kingdom,

Leading us onward,

More real that we are,

To that other world.




About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on November 10, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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