One day, we killed a snake with the lawnmower. It was a big deal for me. (I wrote about it here. ) I wasn’t able to throw it off easily – you know, collateral damage for a lovely lawn. That just didn’t jive. So when I discovered this poem, a few weeks ago, it snagged, and the last line echoed over and over.
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.
Philip Larkin, “The Mower” from Collected Poems. Copyright © Estate of
Philip Larkin. Reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber, Ltd.Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)