Poem of the Month: January 2009

New Year’s circular letter


An urban fox
I have received several this year,
one in particular
admits me and seventy of their closest friends
to the Robertson family doings at second hand;
Jonathan getting a first at Cambridge;
Sarah now in City Chambers, and Alistair on VSO,
[before taking up a place at medical school],
a new baby to Grace, still writing novels,
and combining a career in landscape gardening
with natural childbirth.

Word-processed by Cordelia, it is a scented bath
slopping over with familial success,
of holidays spent in the Burgundy house;
of Tony working so hard in the company
where his employees worship him;
of how lucky she is to be married to such a wonderful man.
Her hand-written conclusion wishes me well,
with all her love as usual.

I resist the temptation to respond in kind;
my sister off heroin at last, and her drinking more stable;
my nephew Darren with a degree in accountancy,
taken while still in prison
now fully equipped for white collar crime;
me, having managed to buy back the negatives,
relieved that The News of the World
is no longer interested in the story.

Because if I were to write, I would describe
the smaller pleasures of my winter garden,
and the fox who shares it with me from time to time,
who one night leaving his neat-pawed tracks in the frost,
turned just once to look at me,
to where I stood frozen behind the glass,
by his yellow uncomplicit eyes.

© James Nash