May 11 2011

Ivan M. Granger – City Fox

Published by at 9:41 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

City Fox
by Ivan M. Granger

      true native
his land has grown
strange about him

      lean with life
on silent steps
through twilight
he glides

by chance
or by patience

he stops
in the alley

for you
      to pass

/ Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service /

It’s a rainy day here in Colorado, green spring leaves darken beneath gray clouds. A time for quiet, for inturning, and for shadowy memories.

When I was a teenager, something about the world around me began to feel alien, unnatural, even threatening. And these feelings mixed with the normal teenage angst to create an explosive and desperate spiritual instinct. I came to the grim conclusion that the world has as its primary purpose making us unknown to ourselves, that it steals something fundamental from us in order to create conformity and a shared, but bland reality. Everything began to feel false, artificial; I wanted to know what was true and real.

I became reclusive. I was determined to not be hemmed in by the common assumptions of how the world works, what is real, and what is spirit. I turned inward. I sought solitary places. I sought nature. I sought quiet.

While this period forged my spiritual will, it was also a difficult time. I was depressed, isolated, and lost. But, amidst that struggle, hard, hidden parts of myself began to open. As I learned to trust my own spiritual unfolding, I became less severe in my judgment of the world around me. I slowly lost the need to hold myself in stern separation. I began to recognize myself in others. I discovered in myself a growing compassion, not only for people, but for the world. I came down from the mountain. Ever since, I’ve been learning what it means to really inhabit the world, and share it, and hopefully nudge the boundaries of those common assumptions.

These ruminations reminded me of this poem…

I view the fox in this poem is the Real Self, our inherent, free, divine nature.

The “strange” land that has grown about him, the city of the title, is the construction of thoughts, projections, concepts, and artificial divisions imagined by the busy mind. It is the human world of convention and consensus.

Yet, even in this unwelcoming environment, the fox, the Self, remains. He is the “true native,” present before the mind’s constructions. He belongs right where he is. He knows all that has grown about him is transitory, that it cannot endure.

In this city, genuine sustenance is often limited, so the fox is lean. From the viewpoint of the city dweller, the restless mind, the Self seems to hardly have any substance at all. Yet its very leanness is the proof of its authenticity, its uncompromised, untamed life. Through its leanness, life radiates fiercely!

The Self is silent, and known in silence. Without a sound it moves through the artificial world, true to its essential nature.

It is active in the realm of twilight, the stalking ground between the conscious world of daylight and the unconscious world of nighttime. If you wish to catch sight of this one, you must keep watch in twilight, at the meeting point between the two worlds.

If by chance, or through determined, patient spiritual practice, we catch a glimpse of the Self, the hidden fox stops in plain sight, revealing himself in his full, living, wild glory. Actually, it is not so much the Self that stops; it is we ourselves who stop, the ego, the false self. The sight of such essential life, the realization that it has been secretly sharing the same world with us all along, brings us to a complete halt.

The fox is spied in an alleyway. This alley is the path ignored in the world of the city; it is there, but forgotten, overgrown, avoided, and this is where the fox dwells and hunts. We have finally learned to look into the hidden places we’d trained ourselves not to see.

Once seen, the Self waits. It waits for us to “pass,” to drop the ego sense of self as no longer useful. It waits for us to recognize that we are not ourselves at all but That. We find we are the fox, the real Self, and none other.

Now that’s an encounter worth some strange turns down unknown alleyways…

Have a truly beautiful day today!

Ivan M. Granger, Ivan M. Granger poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Ivan M. Granger

US (1969 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

Ivan M. Granger grew up in Oregon and Southern California. He has also lived on the island of Maui. He now lives in Colorado with his wife, Michele.

When asked why he writes poetry, Ivan says, “Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drum beats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”

He adds, “My poetry is not fixed. When I read my own poems, I say them aloud, I repeat random lines, change the words around. Sometimes I sing them or chant them. I play with these poems until my mind relaxes enough to let the sacred spark shine forth.”


Poetry Chaikhana readers often ask me about myself. Who is the guy behind all those poetry emails? What drew you to sacred poetry? And just what does “Poetry Chaikhana” mean?

As a way to answer some of those questions, I thought I’d post an audio interview I did a couple of years ago. I talk a little about myself, and a lot about poetry — the transformational power of poetry, the ways poetry naturally expresses the sacred experience, the non-dogmatic nature of poetry. And I read a few poems.

I hope you find it inspiring and thought-provoking…

Click to listen: Interview with Ivan M. Granger


Ivan M. Granger is the creator and webmaster of the Poetry Chaikhana website.

Email Ivan M. Granger

More poetry by Ivan M. Granger

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “Ivan M. Granger – City Fox”

  1. Dick Holmeson 11 May 2011 at 11:56 am

    Ivan, love this poem and your reflections on it. I sometimes encounter a fox crossing the road on twilight bicycle rides, and the sight evokes a very similar response in me.

    Tons of lighthearted thanks to you for your poetry and Poetry Chaikhana. I can’t begin to tell you what a difference this teahouse has made in my life.

    Hugs & blessings,


  2. Beverlyon 11 May 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Ivan, you have captured something so real and powerful here. And I thank you. I have to admit that I worry about this — where will the fox go when we destroy all the alleys? I worry for my Self and all others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. So glad you are here to keep us awakened. Beverly

  3. Gerryon 11 May 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you, dear Ivan, for sharing a poem of yours with us and for sharing your experience of early enlightenment. You have given me something memorable today!

  4. Afton Blakeon 11 May 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Hi Ivan, I enjoyed this poem when I read. But only with your deep and expansive interpretation could I really feel into the poem and capture its greater meaning. I thank you for sharing your own personal struggle in adolescence with spirit and self.


  5. Edithon 11 May 2011 at 1:49 pm


    I’m so very grateful for the depth and richness that you so openly share with us all. My heart thrills to see the blog messages in the e-mail and to be so beautifilly encouraged in opening to fresh and more expanded perspectives for life.

    Such appreciation,


  6. dave tateon 11 May 2011 at 2:30 pm

    A beautiful poem to be sure. I consistently love your interpretations or these poems and it’s a treat to hear an interpretation of your own work. Thanks for sharing your gifts.

  7. Atma Advani Sufion 11 May 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Dear Ivan,
    Your early life: I would call that as “Blessing in disguise”

  8. Alice Whooleyon 11 May 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Ivan,
    You have just renewed my strengh to carry on.
    Thank you.


  9. Tiaon 11 May 2011 at 8:08 pm


    You are wonderful. What you’ve done here with the Poetry Chaikhana blog is wonderful. I’m grateful to you. This poem came to me today during a series of moments when I was caught up, and it helped me take a breath and come into my Self. Thank you for what you do.

    With gratitude,

  10. Terez Stolzeon 12 May 2011 at 12:11 am

    Thank you Ivan!
    This poem brought back memories, reflected once again what is true and what is not!
    I hope to meet the fox again and again and again!

  11. Carol Burnson 12 May 2011 at 4:46 am

    Ivan – thank you for this beautiful poem and your insightful commentary. A wonderful explanation of our true and false selves – the fox
    will give me a visual image to
    hold on to. We have had much
    rain in Ohio in the last month – brings time for introspection and catching a glimpse of the
    city fox.

  12. Kimberlyon 12 May 2011 at 10:43 am

    Ivan – So beautiful! Wonderfully felt.
    I take so much pleasure in this blog.

  13. yohannanon 12 May 2011 at 12:13 pm

    First,i tought you where waiting for me to pass in the alley,i found that so beautifull,already and then,having read your comments,i become just a lover of this poetry and your comments.Have a nice day and the peace in your heart dear friend Ivan.

  14. Val Leventhalon 13 May 2011 at 6:24 am

    Ivan. Truly enjoyed your poem. At the moment, I’m reading a book (published in 1955) I missed in my voracious, but random reading list: The Sane Society by Eric Fromm. Your poem reminded me of Fromm’s theory that a sane society must be one which includes the deepest yearnings of human nature, and encourages the development of adult, fully realized humans. Rather than the Freudian idea that in order to be civilized, man must supress his true nature, Fromm proposes that to be truly civilized, society must include the true nature of man. While some of the book (specifically the somewhat chauvinistic approach to animal intelligence) is a bit dated, the overall concept makes me want it included in every college freshman sociology course. Thank you as always for your intelligence and your mindful example. (Next, I have to read “Buddhism and Psychoanalysis,” also by Fromm: intriguing, no?) Peace, Val

  15. nanetteon 13 May 2011 at 2:12 pm

    it is a true blessing to have a soul stronger than the ego… quote: nanette rodriguez

  16. sajidon 14 May 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Ivan,
    I read your poems regularly and now I want to read your emotional poems I hope you will do so.

    Best Regards,

    Sajid Bhutto

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