Lines Focused on:

And the truth of briars she had to have run through

I craved to feel on her pelt if my hands could even slide

past of her body slide between then sharp truth distressing

surfaces of fur

Adrienne Rich’s poem “Fox” is particular in its slight differences from some of Rich’s other poems in her collection. This specific poem is more subtle in addressing its meanings and themes, however, Rich still incorporates several of the same ideas she address’s in her other poems. While reading the poem for the first time the first four lines, of the second stanza, particularly stood out at me. The passage, seemingly about a fox in its natural habitat, is much more than the animalistic creature Rich subjects it to be. The fox may symbolize another individual, most likely another woman, on the account that she regards the fox as female in the first line of this stanza. The speaker yearns for the fox’s, or women’s, attention “crav[ing] to feel her pelt if my hand could even slide.” On several accounts Rich incorporates the erotic into her poems, a sensation that is deeply, yet openly, embedded within her life. In these specific lines, the erotic is exemplified through diction Rich choices to use to describe her desire to be close to this woman (fox). The line breaks are also significant in that between the words “pelt” and “if” we see another hypothetical, an instance of thought that reoccurs throughout Rich’s poems. As she desires this women, in her natural habitat, like the fox in nature, she questions if her body could really allow her to be with her, “if my hands could even slide.” This line makes me wonder if there is something or someone stopping her from letting her “slide past or her body slide between them” because of the use of the word “if,” and this hypothetical scenario.

3 thoughts on “Fox”

  1. I like that you recognized that the “fox” Rich is referring to is another women. She is a lesbian, so she does crave to share emotions, intimacy, love, laughter, and pain with women on very deep levels. I like that you say that “she desires this women, in her natural habitat, like a fox in nature.” I think Rich is very much saying that; I think Rich is saying she wants to recognize women’s truths, strength, and battle scars on their own terms, because she herself wants to be recognize the same way by other women too. To also play the erotic like you say into this, I think Rich is also trying to say that the women that she wants as her partner, Rich wants to be able to recognize her as a fox, vixen, and badass woman, the same way her partner would recognize Rich as a fox, vixen, and badass women and the fact that they both would truly see each other would make their relationship so deep and true. It would also deepen the exoticism they feel for each other when they share their time, bodies, and love.

  2. I loved your introduction of eroticism to Riche’s poetry. I am reminded of eroticism as Audre Lorde defined it. I think it is easy to see examples of Lorde’s eroticism throughout Riche’s poetry. Riche uses her work as an empowering act of exploring the depths of her passions. I think this is very much the type of eroticism that Lorde would have appreciated.

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