In Spring

In his burrow way back in the woods, the fox woke up.

I am the fox, he thought, I am supposed to do foxy things. Well then: let's get started. And he got out of his den, his slit eyes twinkling with mischief.

In the gray of dawn the fox pointed his snout to the east, thus prompting the sky to redden: his simplest trick, and performed for early birds only, but nonetheless stunning. He scented the morning air and set off. Wherever the fox turned in his auburn pelt, the world began to glow.

With one stroke of his brush he coloured the pines' stems a shiny red-copper and gave the birches' a lovely blush as he dashed along. They had been dark and ashen all night, waiting for the fox to renew their splendour.

Now look at us, the birches cried, aren't we gorgeous? Isn't it magic? They swelled with pride so much so that their papery bark peeled off.

Yes, magic! the fox grinned. And off he was, heading for the mire, where he dipped his paw into the brownish water. Thinly trailing clouds appeared across its surface, dyeing it purple, then rosy, then fading away.

Did you see that? the birds chattered. He's got the heavens at his command: they're at his feet!

You bet! the fox grinned. And off he dashed, to bring out the colour and lustre of birds, and the rust-red – or was it crimson? – of the rabbit's neck. Then he dozed a bit and strayed further, until it was time to climb the range of hills for his most spectacular act: tinting the setting sun with the tips of his ears. A pity he couldn't hear all cries of admiration up there.

Looking down at his darkening territory, the fox sat and mused.

In winter
it is the vixens I love
to dally with,
in summer sweet berries
that line my path

Playful cubs
cheer my heart in spring,
but in fall
this coat for a pillow
alas! is about all

the fox thought to himself, as he watched the birds hastily fly back to their nests in the afterglow. And when he hurried to his den, he decided to have the sun take things over.

First published in
Poem Tales, Koyama Press 2010

Last update 01.07.12

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