Sunday, July 6, 2014

FOX

Lucian Freud with fox cub. Photograph by David Dawson, Freud's studio assistant. See more here.

Having just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary I decided to dedicate a post to my dear husband who I fondly referred to as M.A. Fox, throughout our courting days. There is a story behind his nickname.... of course.


Fox Hunt by Ken Roko. See Etsy Shop, here.

One of the poems we learned by heart at school was John Masefield's, Reynard's Last Run, a poem about fox hunting which I found quite upsetting. When M, a complete stranger, sat down next to my desk during the first week of my first job (I was 18 and he was 28) he was not to know that I disliked the poem. He proceeded to recite one of the many verses of Reynard the Fox to me. If it hadn't been for his spectacular heart-fluttering grin and the fact that I was intrigued by this stranger's unusual pick-up line I would have turned away in embarrassment. The office secretary had warned me that a "playboy" had seen me waiting for my interview  a month earlier and that he would be back to meet me when I started work. I worked in Town Planning on the 12th floor and he worked in Staff Resources on the 3rd. He waited a few days for me to settle in before introducing himself and returned daily to recite a few more lines from the poem as a prelude to conversation. 


Rien Poortvliet   (Remember the book Gnomes?)

Many of these quotes have become part of our lives. What I didn't realize then was the poem had 339 verses. At school we had studied a portion of the poem which ended on a question mark. Had the fox reached safety? It was highly unlikely but I was relieved to discover that the fox had in fact survived and as the years have gone by we have read and re-read all 339 verses and many of the lines have become my favourites too.


Walrus ivory Fox. Punuk or Thule, Princeton University Art Museum

The air blew rank with the taint of fox:
The yews gave way to a greener space
Of great stones strewn in a grassy place.
And there was his earth at a great grey shoulder
Sunk in the ground, of a granite boulder
A dry deep burrow with rocky roof,
Proof against crowbars, terrier-proof, 
Life to the dying, rest for bones.
The earth was stopped; it was filled with stones.
Then, for a moment, his courage failed.
His eyes looked up as his body quailed,
Then the coming of death, which all things dread,
Made him run for the wood ahead.

-  Reynard the Fox by John Masefield. 
See whole poem and info here


Textile sculpture by Elisabeth Higgens O'Connor . Click here for website

Robert Janz. See more here

Martha Dimitropoulou (pine needles)

 Red Fox by Renee Harris (embroidery, fabric, rice paper). Click for website

Fox Scarf by Sarena Huizinga. Click here.


Nighttime Garden Fox, hooked rug by Dulcy Stewart. Click here.


A Skulk of Foxes by Lawrence Cox. Click


Erica Salcedo. Website here  and blog here

74 comments:

  1. Oh dear, these are so beautiful, and the fox is a beautiful animal in general, but what a little predator it is for chickens. I have one living behind my house and every night it stalks my well protected little chicks. We are trying to live in harmony with it, but it is a challenge!

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    1. I imagine it is a challenge, Tracey! We have wild cats that take chickens here. I myself have problems with the monkeys that are extremely destructive. I love them but would rather they didn't destroy birds nests and eggs or break into my kitchen and cause havoc. What to do?!

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  2. oooo Erica's illustrations ..... joy.

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  3. how romantic, what a wonderful courtship,

    it must be a fox time as I just make a fox platter yesterday,

    something so fascinating and endearing about a fox

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    1. I popped over to see if you had posted your fox platter and found your driftwood handled baskets instead. I imagine making them could be quite addictive.

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  4. super renard rusé... beau!

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  5. Oh, what a treat this post was for me. I loved it.

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  6. What a romantic. A woman, maybe I should say this woman, could hardly resist a man with a cute grin spouting poetry. :) Happy anniversary.

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  7. Robyn, Happy Anniversary! What a delightful story of your courtship and I love the art too and foxes most especially :-). xoxo

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    1. Thanks Annie. I particularly love the photo of Lucian Freud.

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    2. Me too, I loved that man and his art so much and his fox is precious. xoxo

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  8. That's such a lovely story....looks like the fox got his quarry....you were outfoxed. Happy Anniversary!!!! ......and thanks for the wonderful links...you sure can pick'em.

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  9. I agree with Jo, you sure can pick them. I have a love hate relationship with foxes, introduced to Australia they are very destructive but I once had a young one, was never a very reliable pet. I hate them when with the best protection ever they eat their way through wire netting to get to my hens. I admire them when they wander through the garden with such confidence, ignoring the dogs and always out foxing Them!

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    1. It would upset me too if a fox got into my chickens. Interesting that you had one as a pet.

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  10. Happy anniversary!! Love the story of this post...

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  11. Lovely! Happy Anniversary ! I love all the foxes. I have a fondness for them myself.

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  12. I too have a special fondness for foxes. These are beautiful fox images… Congratulations on such a long-lasting love.

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  13. The most tender, most sensitively written, most beautiful and heart warming post!
    I love your blog, your art, your arty and intellectual selections, but this one entry has totally overwhelmed me and touched my heart!
    Happy Anniversary and many-many wonderful moments of reading poetry together.

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    1. Lovely message, thank you so much Anna. I very nearly didn't write about it.

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  14. Lovely story and lovely photos!

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  15. Happy Anniversary - and thanks for sharing the story, the poems and the images. What a lot of delightful foxes!

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    1. Thanks Fiona. Once I started looking I found hundreds of images.

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  16. Forgot to say Happy Anniversary, such a lovely story.

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  17. wonderful! happy years and sad ones make a great life when you can share them with the one you love! thank you for sharing your anniversary with us!!

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    1. Thanks Lyle. So true, I could never have managed the sadness without him and what fun to celebrate the happiness!

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  18. Happy Anniversary Robyn! I've enjoyed so much reading your romantic story and knowing that the magic is still there. This is a Personal History too, isn't it?

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    1. Indeed I still feel the magic.... and he still has the foxy grin.

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  19. What a sweet stroy. Even more because I love red fox. And because I just got married one moth ago.
    Thanks.

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    1. Congratulations and wishing you all the best!

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  20. A very happy anniversary to you both. And a wonderful post. It is always so fascinating to me to see how different artists interpret the same subject -- including the same animal!

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    1. Thanks Seth. It is indeed fascinating that there are so many different interpretations.

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  21. I loved the story and the one just under it..like opening a piece of origami. We would have celebrated our 37th anniversary this past June, but he couldn't wait for me. Long loves.

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    1. So sorry for your loss Deb. I cannot imagine how tough this must be for you. Wishing you strength to help you through. xoxo

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  22. Hi!
    Thank you so much for feature my illustration in this wonderful post ^_^

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  23. Wonderful post and tribute to your beloved... Congratulations on your anniversary.. and thank you for such an interesting post.. x

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  24. What a wonderful post -- love that the sly fox was Mr. Romance for you guys - how romantic. And of course I love all the images.
    xxoo

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  25. Loved the story behind the fox theme. Will definitely have to check out that poem. I love foxes so was so happy to visit here today.

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  26. Congratulations on that anniversary. I am now going to look up that poem and read it.

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    1. Thanks Pat. I'm sure you will recognize the English countryside in the poem.

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  27. I could have sworn I left a comment on this post, but I'm probably just going bonkers... This is such an interesting story, and it's hilarious that you hated the poem! I'm glad the fox survived, though, and that you and your husband got together. What a beautiful variety of foxy art you have chosen for us to look at. Happy anniversary!

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    1. Thanks Sharmon. Surprising how many people create fox art!

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  28. Happy Anniversary to you and your clever Fox. May you have many more.

    Love the Lucien photos
    Not aware of this poem but you two have enchantment within it -- beautiful.

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    1. Thanks M. He'll enjoy the clever fox comment :-)

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  29. Wonderful post and great fox theme!

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  30. It is amazing that one can choose one theme or subject and find such a diverse unique bunch of artists... and the story about how you met your husband is so 'romantic'... happy anniversary.

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    1. It was quite romantic :-) Thanks Donna.

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  31. R - thanks for sharing your story - it never ceases to amaze me how we make connections and the vestries and images that remain so many decades on. May you have many years of joy and memories. Peace. B

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  32. How romantic...love the story of this post. Happy anniversary to you both!!!

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  33. Agreed. He sounds v romantic and not such a playboy if you two are still together nearly 40 years. That's so beautiful.

    I also like the lichen post that comes next - I am trying a dye pot with lichen now but colours on cloth are not the same as on stone.

    Also - best wishes for the daughter's wedding. It's a lot of work, no matter how simple one wants the celebration to be - but so worth it in the end. Lovely memories for so many people. (Just having gone through our 3rd wedding in 3 years).xx

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  34. Thanks so much Judy. Three weddings in 3 years! That's a lot of work!
    I will be very interested to see the results of your lichen dye pot.

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  35. Missed this earlier as I was traveling .... but ooooh, Robin, what a delightful post ! All best wishes for another 40 [or so] years with your fox !!

    Christi

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  36. Thanks Christi. Hope you enjoyed your travels.

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  37. Dear Robin-
    Greetings! I hope all is well with you!
    With today's sad news of Robin Williams, I am compelled to tell you how much comfort I find here, in the wonderful, wondrous images you collect and share with us.
    All the beauty in this whole world can't keep some spirits here...I find that so sad!
    But I am so grateful for that beauty, and so thankful for you and all the ones who say "OH! Look at this!". Your sharing is a precious blessing and I thank you! Sincerely, Mary Jo XX

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  38. Mary Jo, thank you so much for your warm message. Oh how sad I was to hear about Robin Williams early this morning. He will be missed!! All is well here. I am preparing for my daughter's wedding so have taken a blog break. I need all my wits about me so I don't forget anything important :-) xoxo

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  39. Hey Robyn, I'm lovin' this whole thing... you foxy couple were meant for each other.. congrats.

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