The quiet, self-contained life of a hedgehog seems romantically preferable to the noisy world in which we abide. As C. H. Sisson notes in the poem that appeared in my previous post: "The noise is more/Than ever it has been before." A great deal of this noise comes in the form of "news" (an extremely loose term in this day and age). The following poem by Sisson may serve as a further comment on the theme of "noise."
They live in the excitement of the news.
Who is what? What is that? And is the noise
I hear from an important quarter? When
Is what to happen? Who is what, finally?
Finally nobody is anything.
That is the end of it, my busy friend
And just as what you hear has no beginning
It has, assuredly, no certain end.
The end that comes is not the end of what,
The end of who perhaps, and perhaps not;
The rattle and the flashing lights are over,
Death is overt, but all the rest lies hidden.
Think of what you will, nothing will come of that,
What you intend is of all things the least;
As you spin on the lathe of circumstance
You are shaped, it is all the shape you have.
C. H. Sisson, Collected Poems (Carcanet 1998).
Perhaps one of the secrets of freeing oneself from the news -- of becoming hedgehog-like -- is to come to the realization that there is no "important quarter" from which one can expect to hear news. There are no important quarters out there. All perspective has vanished, along with all credibility and decency. Mary Coleridge has the right idea.
Where, to me, is the loss
Of the scenes they saw -- of the sounds they heard;
A butterfly flits across,
Or a bird;
The moss is growing on the wall,
I heard the leaf of the poppy fall.
Theresa Whistler (editor), The Collected Poems of Mary Coleridge (Rupert Hart-Davis 1954).
Mary Coleridge wrote "No Newspapers" in 1900, and thus had not yet encountered radio, television, and what not. Hence, perhaps we may silently consider "newspapers" to include a host of evils unknown to her.