Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Anne Kennedy’s ‘Fox and Hounds’

Fox and Hounds

1.

In the summer you might end up going for a lager

at a pretty beer garden named for the slaughter

of the endangered red fox by marauding dogs

followed by boomy packs of rich folk on horseback

who own the dogs, the horses, the land where the fox

lived its short life. You might be interested to know

that in the UK it is no longer legal to let the dogs

tear the fox to shreds. It must be killed humanely

whereby the hunters dismount, walk towards the fox

in their high brown boots and shoot it in the head.

Meanwhile hunt saboteurs lay citronella to put the dogs

off the scent, and wires to trip the horses (poor horses).

You may end up wanting to tripwire the property

market because you hate the property market.

2.

You end up at an auction where young people bid

astronomical amounts for dumps in outer suburbs

which they could make into a home with a bit of work.

But the investor in the corner walks over in their boots

and bids and bids until they own all the houses. They

can’t live in all the houses, they don’t need all the houses

but they want them, and they can have them because

the policy-makers say that they can. They say, one day

we’ll build more houses, we’ll limit investing, and also

young people like flatting, they like houses the size of

a cupboard. Not us, but then, we’ve always had a house

we’ve always had a house with two bathrooms, a garden

and a garage in a nice street. Oh, and we have another

house, in the country, and the fox is already dead.

Anne Kennedy

Anne Kennedy is a poet, fiction writer and screenplay editor. Her most recent books are Moth Hour (AUP) and The Ice Shelf (VUP). Awards include the NZ Post Book Award for Poetry and the Montana Book Award for Poetry.

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