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Straight Talk From the Fox

Mary Oliver, one of my many favourite poets, speaks often of our relationship both to and in nature. We are not separate from nature, but a part of it and relate to all its elements, sentient and non-sentient. We relate to nature and all its elements as a participant and not an external, passive observer.

Our observations are not something we can full grasp and write down. The closest we come is expressing what we feel in writing poetry and sharing photography.

Quite often, we are dumb to what happens around us. Other moments, we awake and soak it in through all our senses, embodying what the fox tells us and feeling so close to what we experience in those moments.

Listen says fox it is music to run

over the hills to lick

dew from the leaves to nose along

the edges of the ponds to smell the fat

ducks in their bright feathers but

far out, safe in their rafts of

sleep. It is like

music to visit the orchard, to find

the vole sucking the sweet of the apple, or the

rabbit with his fast-beating heart. Death itself

is a music. Nobody has ever come close to

writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot

be told. It is flesh and bones

changing shape and with good cause, mercy

is a little child beside such an invention. It is

music to wander the black back roads

outside of town no one awake or wondering

if anything miraculous is ever going to

happen, totally dumb to the fact of every

moment’s miracle. Don’t think I haven’t

peeked into windows. I see you in all your seasons

making love, arguing, talking about God

as if he were an idea instead of the grass,

instead of the stars, the rabbit caught

in one good teeth-whacking hit and brought

home to the den. What I am, and I know it, is

responsible, joyful, thankful. I would not

give my life for a thousand of yours.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

19 responses »

  1. “Death itself is a music. Nobody has ever come close to writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot be told”—> Beautifully said!…. Great post!~ Thanks for sharing and best wishes ton you. Aquileana ⭐

  2. Wonderfully written. Blessed.

  3. As if he were an idea instead of the grass… oh I needed some Mary Oliver tonight. Thank you.

  4. Great post to ponder on a Sunday morning.

  5. Thank you for sharing a little bit of Mary, she is one the best poets and if we could all remember we are part of nature, perhaps we would treat her with more respect. >3

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more about nature. Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem too!

  7. …arguing, talking about God as if he were an idea instead of the grass …

    My favorite part of this beautiful post. Yes we are far to often sleep walkers. And when we are awake, isn’t it interesting that we create art with the one that we are. Its as if everything we see is so amazing we just don’t know how to truly capture it. Even the amazing cruelty of the harsh winds and winter storms. I loved this Ivon. Thank you.

  8. Wonderful Ivan — Mary is one of my favs too! “I would not give my life for 1000 of yours” — I must be living rightly, because this is exactly how I have felt for so much of mine. Blessings and keep these beauties coming, Alia

  9. How lovely, Ivon.
    and I just realized from your name that your family is likely French-Canadian originally. Is it?


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