Snuffling under a weeping hedge
(locals swear, each year, the council
trims it an extra inch or two),
a hedgehog emerges.
Spines pointiest of points, fur dusty brown.
His nose leads him onto a path
of tantalising, fat slugs,
glistening under lamplight;
perfect for a late-night bite to eat.
A single course in, raucous laughter snaps
across the evening air.
Hooting, shrieking, yowling two-leggers
stumbling ever closer.
Back into shadow he goes,
reflecting flapping laces and muddy soles.
An empty bottle hurtles
under the hedge,
lodging in the gap of a broken fence;
on the other side, a cosy stack of wood.
but not for him, not again.
Once, fumbling hands jostled and upset the stack,
woke him, sent him scurrying.
Lucky they did, for each branch
he’d nestled between
later blackened and popped,
licked by orange tongues
encouraged by cheers and whoops.
A pungent, delightful odour.
Next garden up, behind a tiny archway
(his size, no less).
He steps through into the dampening hush
of gangly grass,
sending a myriad of nocturnal insects
up to the moon.
No clunky boots or sudden staggers
to mind here;
free to venture to the odour’s source:
bowls of cooked potato, mealworms, crushed nuts,
Not often does he find a banquet
for main course.
This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!