Literary Shelf

Lone Fox Dancing by Ruskin Bond

As I walked home last night
I saw a lone fox dancing
In the bright moonlight.

I stood and watched,
Then took the low road, knowing
The night was his by right.

Sometimes, when words ring true,
I'm like a lone fox dancing
In the morning dew.

An Anglo-Indian poet of British ancestry, Ruskin Bond is one of those writers who can recreate, relive with their memories and reflections deriving from deep ecology and children’s world, man and nature. Mussoorie is the reading and writing desk of his where he burns the midnight oil and which has also gone deep into his heart and writings and he can go nowhere leaving it where he has settled and thinks it be his own. Man and environment, memory and experience form the crux of his matter seconded by the elements which are easily available in Walter de la Mare, Rudyard Kipling, Ogden Nash, Lewis Carroll and so on. Something of Kipling it is there in him if we assess him as a story-teller.

It is not about the fox only, but about Ruskin Bond too, his life and times, how he has fared through, how has life gone by and he tries to see metaphorically in comparison with. The word lone fox means without being a companion; being by one’s self. It means also sad from the lack of companionship or lonely. We may also take for a lone traveler or wanderer.

The poet tries to recapture how did he see a lone fox dancing last night when walking home in the bright moonlight.

He stood and watched, then took the low road, knowing the night was his.

But sometimes when the scenes and situations and images swap, they and none the else but he himself seems to be the lone fox dancing in the morning dew.

Reading the poem, we feel it nonplussed to reach at the conclusion whether he really noticed the fox or himself the lone fox dancing.

A small poem, it is magical, so powerful the impact of it that it leaves us to reckoning, thinking about.

The poem is very, very autobiographical drawing similarities from the animal imagery and lonely tracts shining under moonlight, lonely walks undertaken, sole life spent and the paths of life where do they take to. It is rumination over memory and reflection, narrative and anecdote.

When the fox-like night flies away, dews and green grass remain it and what for those who have wandered and are loveless? It is also difficult to say who will be with and who not. How will life go it? None can say it. How did times slip it by! How the love letter written in red ink could not be posted, dropped into the mail box undecidedly! It is also a matter.

Lone Fox Dancing by Ruskin Bond is very much like The Fox and St. Mawr novellas of D.H. Lawrence.

How the fox which saw he and vanished! How the lands where he sighted it under the moonlit night! Where was he going? The story is life that of Walter de la Mare’s The Listeners and Martha.

We generally see the fox slipping around, living in our close vicinity and can see it coming to during the night time or at eve  from the unforeseen burrows and finally getting ambushed into the bushes. Generally, it howls on the lonely tracts. The eyes of it burn it beautifully. It is really a beauty to see the fox and to feel the mystery of nature. The poem if we try to see it from a different angle and try to compare is but A Hot Noon In Malabar of Kamala Das. Charles Lamb’s Dream Children: A Reverie too comes to the mind. The Kiplingesque world as portrayed in The Jungle Book with Mogli and Bagheera dances before the eyes. Yeats’ An Acre of Grass also flashes upon the mind. 

We wonder, a small poem, how could it be the autobiography of Ruskin Bond in a few words saying it all and this is the truth that he has with the words! A loner on the paths of life he has ruminated over together with the fox at least, not the Alsatian dog holding the belt and rope of it. Thomas Hardy’s Afterwards  too can be referred to here as for nostalgia, homesickness, memory and reflection as for life and its moments, searching for meaning. What we have got, what we have not!
The first stanza is all about how he saw a fox last night, a lone fox dancing in the bright moonlight and here lies in the charm of reading and going through.

The second stanza is all about how he stood and watched before taking the low road, knowing the night was his, as they slip by usually and come out during the lonely time.

The third is all about being alone, all about himself, when all is gone, he is himself the lone fox dancing and so is the path of man and lie sometimes with, sometimes without, sometimes we commit mistakes not but blunders and coax we ourselves, sometimes feel we whom to hold guilty of barring ourselves.

21-Jan-2023

More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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