Fox in afternoon light

Two Poems by Jane Lovell

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Fox Map

Over time
you become landscape:

something sinking away
to create valleys and lowlands.

I imagine a clear stream
descending in troughs
and eddies

resisted by your fur
                                    to pool
                  in brilliant

Your eye,
clear as glass, green/gold of sorrel
or birch, backlit and evening

is gone
                  sewn in
a scar on a long hill.

Over time
you become stranger:

paths peter out, lost
in contours raised by bone,

the quiet tectonic shift
redefining earth,

the stone and soil
                  and frost

that built you.



Funeral for an Owl

The smoke betrays you, balling out into the room
to hang like a shroud.

Stopped in the flue above the baffle, wings folded
at terrible angles, there is nothing to you

but a beautiful, plumed husk, light as a wasps’ nest,
woven from the thinnest bones.

Outside, a gusting breeze seeks to resurrect you.
We dream your damson heart quickens

at the scurried grass, its possibilities of mice and shrew,
but you are long gone,

deceived by the darkness that shielded you,
the black promise that drew you in.

As the May sun chases shadows across the ground,
to the song of blackcap and wren we carry you

to the far field, its riven oak swarming with ivy,
and prop you inside the trunk: a ball of soft nothing,

one small hole that remembers your eye
and claws gnarled knots that could only scratch and scuff

the dreadful steel, your last glare fixed
on the far circle of stars above your twisted wing.




Jane LovellJane Lovell is an award-winning poet whose work focuses on our relationship with the planet and its wildlife. Her latest collection This Tilting Earth is published by Seren. Jane also writes for Dark Mountain and Elementum Journal. She is writer-in-residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Her new collection God of Lost Ways was just published by Indigo Dreams Press and includes these poems.

Read three poems by Jane Lovell selected by Jane Hirshfield as winners of the 9th Annual Poetry Contest.

Header photo by Creaturart Images, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.