Fox
Type
Poetry

Foxes strung up on fence on Toodyay-Bindi Bindi Road: in the accusative

On land cleared to a few trees
you say you’re protecting
native wildlife (but not kangaroos,
because ‘they’re feral by any
other definition’); you tell us
that you’re a safe user
of firearms, protecting lambs
you’ll send to slaughter;
you string foxes up on fences
so the public can know
what it’s like to fight for a cause,
corpses of enemies piled high
for the townsfolk to file past
and know the cost of battle.
The cost of the kill,
pride in marksmanship,
celebration and mateship.
Your triumphs are the triumphs
of ancient Rome, of death squads
anywhere anytime; such a timeless
occupation. Good thing there’s
no bounty on animal libbers
and greenies, as you might just
be tempted to break the rule
of robotics not to kill humans;
for the general good, the cause.
Foxes strung out on a fence
show us you’ll stand up and be counted,
O mighty warriors of the farmlands.
We’ve known your spotlights
probe into our houses at night.
We live with that. We catch our breath
and watch our words. The dead fox.
The dead cat. The dead roo.
The dead the dead the dead.

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John Kinsella’s most recent books of poetry include Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems (Picador, 2016) and Graphology 1995–2005 (Five Islands Press, 2016). He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Professor of Literature and Sustainability at Curtin University.

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