The Grand Finale of Mr. Fox

A long time ago, someone wonderful (was it Sonya Taaffe? Amal El-Mohtar? Caitlyn Paxson? S. J. Tucker? Francesca Forrest? Jessica P. Wick?) introduced me to John Pole and Terry Yarnell’s “Mister Fox.”

It is the creepiest, gorgeousest, FOXIEST Mr. Fox song EVER!

You can hear it for yourself at this soundcloud link, sung by Jenni Cargill-Strong, and read the lyrics/sheet music at Mudcat. Anyway, I adore it.

And then, for some charity art event sometime, I wrote a pastiche/sequel to it. Not for money or anything, just for love and continuing the conversation.

I ran across it today, since I had cause to use the word “potash” and I remembered I’d learned the word “potash” in order to write this song/poem. So I thought I’d dig it out and give it all to you. It’d be sung to Yarnell’s perfect tune, filk-style.

The Grand Finale of Mister Fox 

Outside Mister Fox’s garden
Two maids gazing at the wall
Jenny of the Ax says to Suzie Long Bow:
“For Mary and her golden ball!”
The wall is high
Sometimes girls can learn to fly

In they ran to fetch the ashes
All that’s left of Mary now
Iron and rust her little casket
Buried ‘neath the willow bough
The wall is high
Past barbs and shards they slip on by

“I see you, Suzie! Jenny, I espy thee!”
Cries Mister Fox from tower tall
His teeth are white, his fine braid glistens
His eyes are gold as Mary’s ball
“The wall is high
We built it well, my ghosts and I.” 

Murdered ladies, shades and shadows
Here a peasant, there a queen
Shield-maids all, in brazen armor
Their wounds a bright and bloody sheen
The wall is high
None enters who returns thereby

But three strange things did Jenny carry
Nitrate of potash, sulfur, coal
Suzie had flint, her steel and tinder
Both girls shared a common goal
The wall is high
A hail of boulders from the sky

The house it shakes to the foundation
The garden gate blows open wide 
The willow cracks right down the middle 
Mary’s casket lay inside
The wall is high 
Mary, don’t you weep or sigh 

They hunt him through the empty hallways
Bowstring taut and blade edge keen 
Mister Fox, he taunts and teases them 
Always laughing, never seen
The wall is high 
The dead say, “Seek — your prey is nigh.” 

At last they found the thirteenth bedroom 
Suzie galls him toward bed 
With her silver ax and her strong heart singing 
Jenny chops his pretty head 
The wall is high 
Suzie shouts, “Bleed!” and Jenny growls, “Die.” 

Now Mister Fox, he wanders restless
One haunt more in that doleful hall
From his shoulders trails a big black counterpane
He cradles close his bloody skull
The wall is high…

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