Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A FOX-CUB, by PATRICK REGINALD CHALMERS

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TO A FOX-CUB, by            
First Line: You slipped through the hedgerow's high tangle of bramble
Last Line: To lose you, or eat you, a county away!
Subject(s): Foxes

YOU slipped through the hedgerow's high tangle of bramble,
You knew of the gap by the hazel-tree's trunk,
As sharp as a needle, as red as a Campbell,
Surprised, very likely, but not in a funk;
Demure as a kitten, yet wise and hard-bitten,
You pricked a keen ear to the crash in the scrub,
Where Grateful and Glitter had stirred up the litter,
O bandit beginner—O cool little cub!

You went like a dream, yet an eye of cold yellow
You cocked in a crafty but confident glance,
As much as to tell me, "Now, be a good fellow,
Say nothing about it and give us a chance;
Those lashing white ladies can gallop like Hades,
They'd slate me—at present—in less than a mile;
I'm small, I'm a baby, sit quiet, and maybe
I'll live to reward you with something worth while!"

Discreetly I watched you dive under the double;
I moved not an eyelid, I give you my word;
If out of the belt by the ten-acre stubble
A jay screamed a menace, well, nobody heard;
For far in the whinny, green depths of the spinney
A brother, ill-fated, was biting the mud,
Borne down in a flurry of furies that worry
And bristle and clamour for blood, and for blood!

And so it's a bargain, my boy, you'll remember;
Some day we shall ask you to settle the bill,
Some soft, misty day in a distant December,
When you, a great dog-fox, glide out down the hill:
They'll find you by noonlight, and run you till moonlight,
And I would be with them the whole of the day,
By brook and by village, by grass-land and tillage,
To lose you, or eat you, a county away!

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