“The Thought-Fox” is a poem of twenty-four lines divided into six stanzas. The title tells the reader that the poet is drawing an analogy between a thought—specifically, in this case, a poetic composition—and a fox.
The poet speaks in the first person and in his own persona. He begins by evoking the silence and mystery of a forest at midnight. An atmosphere of suspense is created as one becomes aware of “something else” that is alive in the imaginary forest outside. The world of the forest is set against the world of the room where the poet is working, characterized only by the presence of a clock and the poet’s as yet blank paper.
The second stanza intensifies the suspense. The poet shifts his perspective, taking the reader’s awareness outside the room as he looks through the window into the black, starless night. The “something” is approaching, beginning to solidify out of the darkness. The third stanza gives the first tangible sense of the creature in the form of the fox’s cold nose investigating the surrounding twigs and leaves.
The poet introduces the fox into the reader’s sensory field in parts: a nose, then two eyes, as the fox stealthily moves between the trees of the silent, snowbound forest, then the whole body as it flashes across clearings. The fox in its literal sense as a fox is fully realized by the fifth stanza; it is “Brilliantly, concentratedly,/ Coming about its own business.”...
(The entire section is 470 words.)