Here I have illustrated the shortest of stories, or a poem, by the writer Aniqah Choudhri.
‘The Fox and the Woman’ by Aniqah Choudhri ~ Illustrated by Blanche Ellis
On the road one summer‘s evening
A fox met the woman he would marry.
She smelt like otter blood and barley
With top notes of sage and honey.
He followed her all the way back
To a sleeping village where men spat
Whiskey on cobbled streets and
Cats urinated to mark their territory.
Go away they hissed to the fox
But the fox slept behind the rubbish bins
That his bride threw orange peel
and chicken bones in.
He killed a rat to woo her
and laid it on the kitchen floor,
And heard her scream of delight
when she opened the door.
His bride threw a butter knife,
A wine glass and an apple core.
Dragging his loot behind the bins
He knew their love was for evermore.
A wonderful mix of the mundane and the imaginative, a folk-tale of subtle simplicity. I hope to collaborate more with Aniqah on her writing and poetry in both illustration and song.
Let me tell you a story.
Tonight it is hot, and the people, strolling and sauntering, occasionally rolling or rambling, down the street, catch like threads on street corners as they swing between the bars holding beers or tubas or flannel towels – to wipe off the sweat.
There are four crates set out in a rectangle on the side of the pavement. Typewriters on two of them. “What’s a ‘Poet for Hire’ man?” comes the question…
It’s each to their own, and the man with glasses and the wide brimmed hat has a knack for the poem, writes his thoughts that way, fast and brief as bird wings on the back beat of flight. But if you take my advice, you’ll talk to the other, the one with bands of ink below each shoulder. Without keys on his carabiner. Tell him your story. It will be easier, more open and more full than you think. And, when you leave, and have returned some minutes later, he will give it back to you, on a thread of receipt paper, in pressed black ink. You may pay him what you feel, he will only suggest.
Tell him your story. I never did, I only watched. And they all walked away, with more than the paper in their hands.
I said I would be back. I haven’t been back, yet.