Wednesday, 28 August 2013



snuffled out by Millie, late at night. I didn’t believe her when she said she’d found a ball and would I please throw it for her.

By morning the hedgehog was long gone, alive and well, not like the one in Philip Larkin’s poem:

The Mower

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.


  1. Brown Ball, Spiky Small. Sharp Snout, Peers Out. Car's coming, Small Feet Running. Bang! Dead.

    Happy to hear your hedgehog got away.

  2. What a beautiful, wrenching little poem. I'm glad your hedgehog fared better.

  3. Great shot of the hedge hog - I don't believe I have ever seen one out here in the Atlantic.

  4. i am glad your hedgehog sad to be caught up in the mower is busted right now...ugh...gotta work on it more this weekend....

  5. Oh, how sad to read this little poem. I'm so glad your hedgehog made it safely back to wherever it is they live. :-)

  6. Now that is a truly evocative, heart-wrenching poem. And I am very glad that your hedgepig lived to scuttle away.

  7. OMG, how sad... that almost made me cry. I always worry about the feral cats and kittens getting up under the car or truck motor. We always check.

    and I never would have guessed that was a hedge hog. Thought it was a large thistle.

  8. I must re read Larkin now....I'd thought him devoid of kindness in his life.

    People here have hedgehogs as pets....

  9. The Larking poem definitely wants my eyes to water, but right now I am thinking of lively Millie's discovery and her reporting it to you. Thinking that Millie helped another beautiful creature to survive.


  10. A real hedge hog. Not something I see around here. Looks like botanical alien in that photo. You and Millie are great communicators.

  11. I don't think I've ever actually seen a hedgehog, dead or alive! Good for Millie, ferreting it out like that--and the Larkin poem is a beauty.

  12. Beautifully said, beautifully sad. Poor little. Hedgehog. But Millie's survived?

  13. Glad Millie et al are OK!

    ALOHA, Friend
    from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^= <3

  14. Richard Wilbur, "The Death of a Toad" (1950)


    A toad the power mower caught,
    Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got
    To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him
    Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade
    Of the ashen and heartshaped leaves, in a dim,
    Low, and a final glade.

    The rare original heartsbleed goes,
    Spends in the earthen hide, in the folds and wizenings, flows
    In the gutters of the banked and staring eyes. He lies
    As still as if he would return to stone,
    And soundlessly attending, dies
    Toward some deep monotone,

    Toward misted and ebullient seas
    And cooling shores, toward lost Amphibia^Rs emperies.
    Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
    In the wide and antique eyes, which still appear
    To watch, across the castrate lawn,
    The haggard daylight steer.

  15. Tell Millie I said, "Good dog!". And give her a biscuit.


  16. Probably not Millie's first sighting of a hedgehog, but your first time seeing her with one. I'm glad it protected itself from Millie, who might have killed it just by stepping on it in her excitement, but those spiky bits hurt. I hope it is happy under a hedge somewhere.
    Luv, K

  17. So glad your little pincushion survived.

    In the backyard/garden where I work there is a family (maybe more) of hedgehogs and to me, a perfect night is seeing them scurrying and grubbing about, perfectly fearless and perfectly delightful.

    Anna :o]

  18. Hi Friko - how lovely to see a live hedgehog - Millie is definitely very clever. So pleased it didn't suffer the same fate as Larkin's ...

    I haven't seen one in years .. on the other hand I live in a town ... albeit with green around - the boundaries are closed, til the foxes make plans!

    Lovely weather for them at the moment, plenty of grubs and insects about ... and gorgeous for Millie and her walks across your fields .. cheers Hilary

  19. I haven't seen a hedgehog in ages - and we live in a very rural area. Worrying. Glad your chap is OK

  20. I'm very glad that your hedgehog had a happy ending. I have never seen a hedgehog in the wild and I've always wanted to. Have a wonderful Thursday Friko :)

  21. hij heeft zich mooi opgerold.

  22. Well, Millie's insistence on ball tossing certainly saved this little hedgehog. What a sad little poem.

    We don't have hedgehogs in these parts, but, we do have lots of frogs, though, this year, they are not hopping about. Unfortunately, during times when they were hopping about, they would, unbeknownst to us, hop under the car while it was moving. I've found more than enough flattened toads on our driveway over the years.

  23. Friko, I love this poem! You took a nice photo, although Millie didn't get her new spiny ball.

  24. Love the Larkin poem. Was thinking about you yesterday as I had a CBC at the hospital. Dianne

    CBC= Complete blood count.

  25. Halo Friko,
    Igel treibe sich auch regelmäßig in unserem Garten herum. Wir wissen, wo sie sind, daher lassen wir sie in Ruhe. Auf Straßen finde ich es schade, wenn ab und zu zermatschte und überfahrene Igel zu sehen sind.

    Gruß Dieter

  26. Hi Friko, hope things are going good for you all. We must all be good to each other. Love that poem.

  27. How perfectly round the hedgehog is. That's a poignant poem.

  28. So glad your hedgehog didn't meet the mower... that a sad, sad poem. I have a lovely little hedgehog pin I've had forever. They make me smile.

  29. Dear Friko, this line from the poem--"we should be kind/While there is still time"--so speaks to me. Thank you.

    By the way Friko, I left a comment on the posting preceding this one--the one about Gardener. He's quite a character and I enjoyed his opinions and his story. Peace.

  30. So glad your pin cushion survived and didn't meet the same fate as the one in the poem. Lovely last lines there.

  31. 'We should be kind while there is still time' . . . indeed.

    I was delighted to discover that our next-door neighbour has a hedgehog in his garden. It's years since I last saw one.

  32. It's so long since I saw a hedgehog in our garden. I need a Millie. Larkin's acutely observed succinctness is superb here.

  33. Love the sad poem. I've never seen a hedgehog ball before. I wouldn't have known what it was, tell the truth. Glad yours got away safe and sound. :)

  34. So pleased the hedgehog was okay. My first thought on seeing your photo was that the poor thing was more like a pancake than a pin cushion! (A fault of my eyesight I suspect rather than your photography skills.)
    I haven't seen a live hedgehog for years, but then I don't go snuffling around gardens in the dark, unlike Millie.

  35. A remarkable picture and I would never have guessed what it is if you hadn't said!

  36. They are such cute little critters. I'm glad it was alright. Good Millie for not doing it harm.

  37. Fascinating photo. Glad all is well for Hedgehog, and that Millie had some fun.

  38. So glad the hedgehog survived. And thank you for sharing Larkin's poem -- the last line is wonderful.

    Re your comment on Blue Willow pattern -- we had some (very cheap ) years ago when our boys were young. Eventually it all got broken. Last year my grown up younger son gave us a set of much nicer Blue Willow for Christmas -- he had missed it.

  39. Awe. But what a lovely, sensitive poem. Nice photo! (my dog would want to play ball too)


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