Stop Hunting: For Fox Sake

Long, brown face, sharp pointed nose, pricked up ears,
Bright mischievous eyes, sharp white teeth,
Sleek, sinewy body,
Fleet feet,
And, most endearingly, bushy red-brown tail.

Almost, yet not quite a dog,
Almost a friend.

Craning his neck to reach the grapes.
Digging under the wire of the chicken coup.
Throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch.

Almost, yet not quite a dog,
Almost a friend.
Always a twilight enigma.

Rummaging through suburban dustbins,
Flitting like a four-legged phantom through both penumbra and dark shadow.
Living the life of a vagabond:
A scavenger, not a mendicant,
A hungry survivor, not a fattened slave.

Then came the hounds, followed closely by men on horseback,
Black headed men in red coats who drove their charges fast and furious
Not sparing the whip,
Hell for leather across the farmland.

They ran the frightened animal to ground in an allotment garden,
And, delighting in its shrill cries of pain and terror,
Sat astride their mounts licking their lips in a vampiric bloodlust
As the dogs tore it limb from limb
In the name of sport.

Stop hunting: for fox sake!

[The above poem first appeared in We’re Coming For Your Telecom Shares in 1987, and the following year in ALIEN LOST ON THE TUBE, a one-off magazine format publication put out by a guy named Andy Everett of London N19. He - or somebody - illustrated it with a drawing of a fox, and added my credit in biro! And that was the last I heard of it or of him. The link below leads to a PDF file of the front cover and page 6 of Alien..., the latter of which contains the poem. Although the cover is actually blue, the poor quality of the scan of the second page is due primarily to logistical reasons; I didn’t want to cause undue damage to what may be the only copy of this publication in existence].

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