The Fox

By Mary Oliver

All night under the pines
The fox moves through the darkness
With a mouth full of teeth and a reputation
For death which it deserves.
In the spicy
Villages of the mice
He is famous
His nose in the grass
Is like an earthquake
His feet on the path
Is a message so absolute
That the mouse, hearing it,
Makes himself as small as he can
As he sits silent
Or, trembling, goes on
Hunting among the grasses
for the ripe seeds.
Maker of all things,
Including appetite,
Including stealth,
Including the fear that makes
All of us, sometime or other,
Flee for the sake
Of our small and precious lives,
Let me abide in your shadow —
Let me hold on
To the edge of your robe
As you determine what
You must let be lost
And what will be saved.

This Poem Features In: