‘Dead Fox’ by Féilim James

Those dead eyes were moulded in hell,
Yellow with the bile of a melted dawn,
Half-shut but not shut, gripped with heaven’s hesitation.

Dead you lie, dead the spread of your red limbs,
Your blacks, your whites, that jaw dismissed from devilment –
Dead. Wreathed in the grey of our streets

Where sky’s eyes do not cease
In their relentless bombardment of the gloom.
The flood nears your limbs,

Making for the dried blood of your mouth.
Dead fox, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Gave thee death and bid thee lie
Still in this lifeless stream of grey?
Dead fox, you bear the brand of hell

With an excess of indifference that borders on the holy.
Your ghost, as I slip inside the shawls of silken sleep,
Slithers like an eel around my unforgetful brain.

Dead fox, gone now from the pavement where you lay –
Have you returned at last to the kingdom of your maker?
Deep, deep, past the drooping elm;

Deep, deep, past Phlegethon’s flames;
And deeper still to Tartarus
Where night is poured without end.

Dead fox, forever dead to all . . . Fox
Dead to nothing.
Under the coins that blanket your eyes

A golden flame is glowing,
A heart within is throbbing
With undying lust for cunning,

Sharpening, sharpening
The claws of hell’s undoing,
Now climbing, climbing

The roots of earth’s existence.
The fox’s red is rising, slow.
Through the ash of night I spy

The morning’s fiery glow.

(An earlier version of this poem appeared in Icarus – view here)

Féilim Written by:

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