The Fox Dream of Poet Ted Hughes

by Stephen Parker, Ph.D. (Article Selection, Commentary) on August 8, 2010

ted hughes dreamcurrents1 The Fox Dream of Poet Ted Hughes

(This not a “healing dream” in its usual sense, but it is very much a guiding dream.    These dreams often have an intensity and vividness that burn themselves in memory; they also have a very strong, indisputable voice of authority.)

From the writings of Ted Hughes:

At Cambridge University… students were expected to produce a weekly essay…. I soon became aware of an inexplicable resistance… After several hours each day, usually on into the night, I had covered many pages, all torn up, and had retreated again and again to my opening sentence that I had rewritten and rearranged dozens of times… At last I had to give up and go to bed.

I began to dream.

I dreamed I had never left my table and was still sitting there, bent over the lamplit piece of foolscap, staring at the same few lines across the top.

Suddenly my attention was drawn to the door. I thought I had heard something there. As I waited, listening, I saw the door was opening slowly. Then a head came round the edge of the door. It was about the height of a man’s head but clearly the head of a fox though the light over there was dim.

The door opened wide and down the short stair and across the room towards me came a figure that was at the same time a skinny man and a fox walking erect on its hind legs.

It was a fox, but the size of a wolf. As it approached and came into the light I saw that its body and limbs had just now stepped out of a furnace.

Every inch was roasted, smouldering, black-charred, split and bleeding. Its eyes, which were level with mine where I sat, dazzled with the intensity of the pain. It came up until it stood beside me. Then it spread its hand – a human hand as I now saw, but burned and bleeding like the rest of him – flat palm down on the blank space of my page. At the same time it said: ‘Stop this – you are destroying us.’

Then as it lifted its hand away I saw the blood-print, like a palmist’s specimen, with all the lines and creases, in wet, glistening blood on the page.

I immediately woke up. The impression of reality was so total, I got out of bed to look at the papers on my table, quite certain that I would see the blood-print there on the page.   (Source)

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