Friday, July 1, 2016



Aeroplanes, I never thought I'd fly in one.
Climbed on board and I was gone.
For the first time in my life,
I was lifted off the ground.
Outside, only muffled engine sound.
Nothing but air beneath the floor,
I was taken far higher than the paths
of the eagle and the condor.
Only the pilot and the crew knew
how it was done, how that winged contraption
flew me to you.
I looked at a stretch of clouds below,
my eyes followed the trail of a white vapour rod.
The serenity I was aware of, I could not describe,
sensed I was inside the mind of God.
Midnight long past, we landed in black air.
Lines of lights let me see the runway,
the windows of the airport halls.
At the arrivals gate, I was so relieved to meet you there.
Aeroplanes, we never thought we'd fly in one.
Up the steps and we are gone.

Come on, hedgehog, spiky urchin,
sniff your way from the bush shelter,
onto the lawn, fore paw the grass,
try to jerk back a blade,
as you did yesterday.
Watched you through the window,
took me by surprise.
Now sat on my wood seat,
here in my garden,
my hope is to see you again.
With enough patience
to sit on with a torch in the dark,
I know I may not see you.
You may not pay me a visit.
And why should you?
You are a small wild animal, not a pet.
If ever you do, you will show when you want to.
From garden to garden, you like to go.
"Thrice and once the hedge pig whined."
A witch from Macbeth I quote.
Good that Shakespeare mentioned you
in a line he wrote.
But you belong not in a tragedy,
maybe a history, that scene with the gardener
in Henry V1. Perhaps a comedy,
a mention by a lover in a greenwood.
Here in the twenty first century,
you are free of folk lore,
free of Elizabethan witchery.
Yesterday, I smiled to watch you
crawl over the water hose tangle
by the shed wall,
near the drain pipe and grid,
your long, thin snout, I studied,
your almost absent chin,
your tiny, black eyes, good as blind,
for I hear you rely on smell not sight.
I can see all that you did.
Would like to see you again, that is all.
Nocturnal neighbour, quieter than twigs,
grass and leaves you sniff by in the night.

Herbert shall I call you,
for short, Herb or Bert,
hedgehog, led by your snout to sniff
for bugs and grubs in dirt,
under my back garden bush?
But Herbert sounds too human,
a country gent who likes his pipe and beer,
rural life not lived in a rush,
like an attempt to anthropomorphize you
into a whimsical tale or cartoon.
If I could I would, on fiddle and flute,
compose for you a twig thin tune.
Truly, earthy, son of the soil,
you slumber much with little toil.
A mansion's grounds a paradise for you would be,
with well established, long rooted hedgerows,
and many a shady tree,
bushes, flower beds, finely mown lawn,
secluded, bordered, silent,
to wake there with sunset,
sleep on through day from dawn.
Unobtrusive, small, spiky coated mammal,
a peaceful, quiet life you lead.
Needful to the perfect garden
as root, sod and seed.

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