‘The Thought-Fox’ by Ted Hughes, taken from Poems for Children, read by the author.

Spoiler: Ted Hughes is one of my favourite poets.

I own every collection he ever published. He’s a giant of a man in the life of my mind, tramping through woodlands fishing and hunting, never really answering questions directly.

Wikipedia has an amusing grid of who influenced him and who he influenced. How can you ever measure something like this concretely?

So, for your delectation, here’s a recording of Hughes reading his poem The Thought-Fox. The full text of the poem – if you want to read along – is at the bottom of this post.

As always, thanks for reading!

Poems for Children: Read by Ted Hughes. Selected and Introduced by Michael Morpurgo.

Ted Hughes’ poetry for children is as rich, powerful and magical as anything he wrote. This new recording consists of a collection of the children’s poems of Ted Hughes, introduced and selected by acclaimed writer Michael Morpurgo, and read by both Morpurgo and actor Juliet Stevenson.


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.

Critical Thinkers On The Thought-Fox

Read what Richard Webster and James Fearnley have to say about Hughes, poetry, violence, tenderness, writing like a knobhead, and the Thought-Fox.

As always, thanks for reading! Comments are much appreciated.

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