Dominic Fisher Poetry
“As if a tree could stutter briefly into being
lose all its leaves then vaporise”
Bonfire Night from a Loft Window
Late winter fox
It’s hard to hang on when it’s cold, whether you’re a human or a fox, harder still when the cost of food is going up, when the pickings are slimmer, when maybe you’re starting to go grey, have gone past grey. And it’s hard to hang on in February when Government ministers speak about probity in self-assured tones with their fingers crossed behind their backs, when the avian flu that is decimating the birds has crossed over to foxes and otters, when your mortgage has gone up, the roof leaks, or you haven’t got a roof.
Hope is the day getting longer at least. Hope is for a government that actually believes there should be government, to better the lives of us all. Hope is for decent pay for frontliners we were clapping in lockdown, who very sadly the Minister can offer nothing more, because there’s simply no money, because of the war, because of Covid, because the money is simply sailing away offshore.
I’m beyond anger and despair at the moment. Bullying bailiffs have forced their way into homes who can’t pay the fourfold increase in fuel bills, installing pre-payment meters, meaning more expensive electric you can now afford even less. And while some us freeze the world heats up, and there’s a colossal stench of corruption resulting. Hope is what’s left: ordinary kindness, that just might win in the end, the days getting longer, flowers opening despite it all for maybe enough insects surviving to keep it all going. All of it. We’ll be hearing the unearthly screams of mating foxes, soon if not already. They’ve been on these islands since before these were islands. Hope is the mating call of a fox in the city.
A fox’s late winter blessing
May soil go soft beneath your claws
to give you beetles grubs and worms
the alleyways be full of food, the roots
and stones conspire to keep you dry.
May your nose know all the languages
of dead and living. May everything
by its nose learn your range and kin,
your songs shake sleepers from their dreams.
May cats and dogs who think they’re hard
see your teeth and think again.
May seagulls never get there first
and wires and highways not restrain you.
On long green evenings or belated dawns,
may your own kits play on and on,
moon after moon, and even after
this city itself has gone.
(From The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead
The Blue Nib, 2019)