In the auction room – once a Methodist Chapel –
on the Holyhead Road to Llangollen,
above the gorge the River Dee cut
before the last ice age, Lot 59
is an Arctic Fox: in the catalogue:–
‘A good example of Victorian
taxidermy, with some discolouring
of the tail. Circa 1845’.
That year, Franklin’s expedition left the Thames
to chart the North West Passage: lead poisoning,
learning nothing from the Inuit, ice
killed them all. Now, as the fast ice retreats,
year by year, and the pack ice diminishes
new expeditions weigh anchor in the sounds.
The deniers are drilling for gas and oil.
The fox, immortalised in winter pelage,
is about to pounce – on some imagined
vole or lemming beneath the fictive snow.