The Thought Fox – An Examination

The Thought Fox has always been for me the poem, the poem which defines what a poem is while still purporting to be a poem of the type poem. It is aprocess and a product simultaneously and hits you with an unexpected force, “the hot stink of the fox”, as you marvel at its unraveling.

It is what I call recursive poetry, a poem within a poem. Perhaps self-referential is the right word. And also it perhaps adheres to the classic definition of poetry given by G.K.Chesterton, “all metaphor is poetry”,

Save for the two lines:

And this blank page where my fingers move.



The page is printed.

there is really no indication of what is being described. Essentially a perfect merging of the literal and the metaphor, and only two lines to give up the game! A superior effort, on these lines, I have not yet seen. Perhaps there exists one, and the reader might bring it to my notice, so we can enjoy together the Muse in all her disguised glory.

Is such an effort even possible? Is it possible to write a poem, entirely metaphorical, yet in-spite of being pure metaphor, accurately maps to a literal reference point, discernible to the reader from the language, the subject being described and the tone and other indirect tools at the disposal of the poet, with which he never hesitates the tease the mind of the reader, suggesting without entirely revealing the meaning and even the purport?

The art of poetry is as much about a teasing and how far a poet can evoke thoughts in the minds of the reader than abrupt revealing of the truth. Hence poetry can properly defined as an art that invokes, inspires and evokes ideas in the recipient’s mind rather than being just a metaphor, metaphor is just the right tool to achieve the desired ends – evocation of ideas in the minds of the discerner. Thus, a certain degree of preparation is necessary to admire and appreciate poetry and this is an endeavour that never ends, for you can be sure that just when you have apprehended the context, connotation and content of the poem, another more sensitive and aesthete mind – and perhaps closer to the poets heart -would not come up with yet another idea, angle or notion, that probably never was even intended by the poet.

Hence this adventure in analysis by me would always be incomplete, and never do I presume to have “understood” a poem, for even should one live up to four score and ten years, there is bound to be an experience that one has not experienced and that lacunae would certainly deprive the individual of the full experience of the poem.

I would always like to know the ethos of her/his country, the milleu that she/he lived in, her/his tastes and hates and her/his dreams and nightmares, before I embark on a reading of any poet’s work and I wouldn’t be temerarious to suggest that I have done justice to her/his work until I had known her/him in full. Yet the desire to delve deep into another persons aesthetic product runs deep in my veins and I hope to mine gold as I focus my Davy’s Lamp on the “widening, opening cave” of clear thought.

With this elaborate defence, I venture furtively and scared, into the dangerous terrain of literary analysis.

to be continued……..

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