The Thought-Fox

This piece was the result of the a series of workshops at Aldeburgh and the Brunel Institute as part of the Aldeburgh Festival. I started sketching piece during a week's residency at Snape Maltings, working with Lavinia Greenlaw, Huw Watkins, Richard Edgar-Wilson and baritone John Savournin on initial ideas, and finished revised version for tenor in time for its premiere at the Aldeburgh Festival by American tenor, Kyle Stegall and UK pianist, Cameron Burns. It was fantastic to have the time and space to think about this poem, and about the creative process that it describes:

The Thought-Fox - Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness.

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf:
Two eyes serve a moment, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow

Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come


Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.


Tenor and Piano
Year 2013
Length 5
Premiere:
- Kyle Stegall and Cameron Burns
Aldeburgh Parish Church (Aldeburgh)
June 2013

Stacks Image 2286