The Thought Fox is written in first person, omniscient
narration. You can see this by the way the author is
actually involved with the piece, taking a part within the
tale told: 'I imagine.....' line 1
This poem has a dramatic monologue effect, and the
poets use of hook lines, intrigue and encourage the
reader to discover what is in the forest that he tells of.
'Something else is alive
Besides the clocks loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.'
Here the poet has used enjambment for a pausing
effect, and this is a controlled energy, with a vibrant
immediacy. His personification of the clock being lonely
is hiding a double meaning, the clock being his brain,
The Thought Fox is another of his 6 stanza poems each
containing the four-line format. In the 2nd stanza the poet
uses his poet licence.
'Through the window I see no star.'
This gives the impression that there is only on star,
however I think that the one star the he is looking for is
the one bright spark of an idea. There is then an air of
mystery brought into play with the poets use of a
caesura at the end of 'star' and the next lines.
'Something more near
Through deeper within the darkness
Is entering the loneliness: '
The tone is changed again to a more faster pace as an
animal is introduced, a fox.
Hughes has used a term called euphony in line 9 along
'Cold, delicately as the dark snow.....'
A melodious sound comes from the words, something I
would associate with snowflakes falling.
In the second half of the third stanza, the focus changes
quite rapidly, however the affects are subtle.
'Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now
Sets neat prints in the snow....'
I can see the eyes of the fox now, but I can also see the
eyes of the character. The use of repetition is not just for
effect, it is telling us something more. The character is
trying to remember something and that is the reason for
the repetition, and he is working out in his head how it
would look on the paper. this is what's known as lateral
thought. A way of solving problems by apparently
illogical methods, a thought within a thought process.
This is where the omniscient narration becomes more
At this point the character knows what is going to happen
thanks to the following:
'Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in a hollow
Of a body that is bold to come.'
Hughes uses this term, ' warily a lame ' as though the
animal and the character are unconvinced and the hollow
of the body is the space within his brain. Then again in
line 16, enjambment is used and causes the tone of the
piece to change.
Something is happening, something that poses both fear
'Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness.....'
Hughes uses select words which rhyme and contain two
or three syllables to extend the rhyme and to create a
threatening tone, which creeps upon the words, ready
and uncertain for attack.
'Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head'
The shot is released. The tension has climaxed and the
thought has entered his head with the violence of an
Illiteration features heavily, with the use of the animals
description; the sound is quick and instant like the
movement of the fox.
In the last two lines of this piece, the ending is controlled
and closed, and Hughes draws me back to the
beginning two stanzas, making me re-cap on the subject
matter past, of the star, the window and the ticking of the
clock. Once again, I have gone back full circle to the
'The window is starless still; the clock ticks....'
The use of caesura for pause is again, deliberate, and I
am reminded of the actions of the animal after the attack,
and then we have the final kill, the last line is pinnacle.
The prey is dead and so is his thought.
'The page is printed.'
I believe the poem signifies a change of life.
Whilst the poem has a theme of a second event running
through it, the poem contains images you cannot actually
see; yet we know they exist and happened at the same
time. The use of synchronics is a vital addition to the
The rules used are formality and imagery, the control of
speed, littered with metaphor and simile all to create a
deeper picture than the one being initially presented.
Compared to poems like 'Wind' which has a differing
focus with gothic overtone, The Thought Fox has a
vibrant crispness that contains psychological realism,
this is more composing thoughts and words or being
visited by a muse, whereas Wind is a poem of an
element already trying to change thoughts that have
been acted out.