Tread softly

The dVerse prompt is Expressionism. For me that means an excuse to use a painting by Franz Marc and decorate it.


Tread softly through the night,

star bright,

and watch the cubs play

in pale moonlight.

Roll, the world, a ball,

spinning slow,

the light drops low,

and fox cubs call.

Bend, grass, in the breeze,

brush the sedge

at river’s edge

beyond the trees

where foxes play,

until the day

breaks in a thousand hues

of reds and blues,

and the wind in the trees

calls the vixen home,

and I tread soft

with the song in my head

of beauty fled.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

33 thoughts on “Tread softly”

  1. I liked the brightness in Marc’s painting and you seemed to put this brightness into the poem with the description of the fox cubs playing and calling, I assume, for their mother.

    1. The vixen doesn’t usually stray far. I love Franz Marc’s rapport with the natural world. Even at the beginning of the twentieth century he was seeing the cracks in the pattern, of our making.

    1. Thanks Kim. A lot of his animal paintings are red, red standing for violence, possibly because of his empathy with wild animals and nature in general, and his understanding of the violence we surround them with.

  2. For a brief moment at the beginning I was at Wrigley Field watching the Cubs play and the ball rolling…then I got on the right track and was swept along with your beautiful word imagery. Beautifully written!

  3. Your words softly caress …. the painting is a joy. I agree entirely with what @georgeplace2013 says …. both words and painting are full of motion and yet the effect of both is tranquil and calming.

      1. Yes, I’m a fan of Marc – all I have read of him points to a sensitive and emotional soul. Oddly, yesterday I stopped and really looked at a statue just outside the Jardin de Ville here which I have walked past many times. It is of a boy caressing a dead deer …. Marc flashed through my mind – his Biches dans la Jardin Fleurie has the same achingly gentle spirit. I must find a book.

  4. Such a sensitive and beautiful poem in contrast to the bright fox and angry color of orange, which is not meant to demean the art, but reveals all emotions possible under the sun. I am learning a lot about art today.

    1. The fox is one of those unfortunate animals we have decided are ‘vermin’. Their existence is under a permanent cloud of violence. They are the colour of flames and autumn leaves. Beautiful.

    1. I hope you will, Neel. There are painters who were complete narcissistic egoists and as human beings were not particularly exemplary, and there are painters like Marc and his friend August Macke who were humanists, sensitive and far-sighted. So sad the war destroyed their lives so young.

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