The Thought Fox – A Poem by Ted Hughes

The Thought Fox - A Poem by Ted Hughes
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Poetry and Management

The Thought Fox is a poem by Ted Hughes on the process of creativity in the work of a poet. An important lesson on the role of disciplined creativity. Written in 1957, it represents a very personal description of the experience of being an artist producing poetry.

This is the third contribution to my Poetry & Management collection. Poetry has always been one of my favourite forms of expressions, probably one of the eclectic sides of my multipotentialite trait. And I will be sharing more of these over time.


The Thought Fox

I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Ted Huges (1957)

Source: Ted Huges, Collected Pomes


A Short Comment

The Blank Page is the starting point, where creativity needs to creep in. The poem describes the setting (midnight’s moment forest), showing that writing poetry is somewhat a process. Creativity is described as a process that moves from emptiness (darkness and loneliness are the adjectives used, together with the image of a blank page white as snow) to content (in the form of the neat prints into the snow that the fox leaves).

An exciting take of an element, creativity that is often considered fully unpredictable. The idea here instead is that you need to prepare yourself to be creative. Which means creating a setting, but also be able to open eyes to a new reality, coming around with different senses. This poetry is full of references to a fully sensual experience.

A powerful message also in an organizational context, where creativity plays such an important role. It is a very individual process, where serendipity can be important but where more important is the ability of the individual to sense reality differently.

Would love to get your feedback as well on this poem. Please add a comment below.

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Cover Photo Source: The Telegraph

Series Navigation<< I Keep Six Honest Serving Men – A Poem by Rudyard KiplingPoetry – A Poem by Marianne Moore >>

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