Apologies to the Fox

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me…'” – Luke 13:32

Many years ago and many miles hence,
I’d follow the gravel track that ran
between the cemetery’s graves, and out
onto the trails that curved their way
throughout the woods of southern Maine.

Before I’d reach the trails themselves,
a grassy field rose up, just slightly,
to a mound, and that was where
the foxes had their den. I’d see the vixen
guarding, and I’d grip the dog’s leash tight.

I’m sorry, foxes, that in another time
and many miles hence, a prophet spat
your species as an epithet, describing
a cruel monarch who had threatened him.
His deed was none of yours.

I’m sorry we dehumanize each other by
insulting other species, as if they, if you,
with your behavior matched the cruelty
of a tyrant. Your prey dies for food.
Our prey dies for pride.

I’m sorry, fox, and wolf, and pig,
and bear, and vulture, too. The greed
and violence we lay on you is ours,
and ours alone. And so, I painfully write:
“Go tell that human.”

A poem/prayer based on Luke 13:31-35, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year C, Second Sunday in Lent. 

The image is Christ before Herod Antipas (1st half of 17th cent.) by Nikolaus Knüpfer – Web Gallery of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15497001.

2 thoughts on “Apologies to the Fox

  1. Wow!!!!!! This is so deeply true. (And a couple years ago we had a family of foxes in our backyard cemetery and we became used to each other. The father got mange and Don went online purchased the medicine and would stick it with a syringe into hard boiled eggs. His small response to human prejudice.)

    • Thank you, Maren. I do feel some sorrow that foxes aren’t part of the Hawaiian landscape. They’d be characters in my stories if they were. Given the chaos that came with introduced predators like the mongoose, however, I’m really glad they’re *not* here.

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