Al Purdy

Selected Poems

Canada   1981

Genre de texte

Ce poème, publié originalement en 1981 dans un recueil intitulé « The Stone Bird, » est présenté au complet.


Texte original

Texte témoin

Édition originale
“Red Fox on Highway 500 (near midnight)” Selected Poems 1962-1996 , Madeira, BC: Harbour, 1996, p. 100-102.

“Red Fox on Highway 500 (near midnight)”

All I saw was the tail of him
the dream fox ahead of me
his rump a red light flashing
in a thousand movie still shots
(callipygous screenland special)
forty feet ahead of me
feet red hammers hammering
light as air on the highway
he died or dreamed he did
– his tail a flat red poker
flung straight back toward me
his eyes overtaking his shadow
his tail bisecting the moonlight
he was fox fox fox

It was like a stage play
it was like my childhood nightmares
the guilt-ridden dreams of running
when all the adults chased me
it was like time had stopped for us
and never begins again
His shadow black as a monster
his shadow a soundless monster
stomping the dark ahead of us
suffering when we suffer
dying when we die

And I saw us running
I watched us doing it
the car the fox the shadow
those other selves for witness
– and I wondered about things
his face and what he looked like
apart from a million foxes
the rest of his breed and kin
and whether his foxy character
glowed in his brain and eye
about this damn predicament
and having a dozen bodies
like fascinated observers
all of them watching us watching
deep in the moonlight forest
or under the bedclothes loving
or killing another animal
I was really philosophical
it was almost like a poem
and it had to end precisely
at ten minutes after midnight
so that I could drive to Belleville
keep an appointment in Belleville
and never forget a word

So here we are
and here we have been forever
running and running and running
your mate in the nearby forest
wondering where you got to
and failed to keep you appointment
an hour ago in the cedars
the mystery of why things happen
this way and never that way
the reason you kept her waiting
an hour or was it your lifetime
in case you go under the wheels

Of course I stopped
and gates of the moonlight opened
and lightly he stepped inside
– it was silent that kind of silence
when live event are waiting
jammed at the doors of time
frozen in silver moonlight
the leaped into flux again
– he had to keep his appointment
no matter how late it was
and I had to drive to Belleville
both of us had our plans
plans of the utmost importance
for going on living longer
for eating and drinking and sleeping
and maybe loving someone
for killing other animals
for being noble or human
or fox fox fox

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