Monday, March 5, 2012

Life Explained, Part Twenty-Five: "The Hedgehog"

A sweet-smelling garden at night.  Beneath the stars, a hedgehog makes its rounds.  Enough in themselves to provide a perfectly suitable Explanation of Life.

                  The Hedgehog

The garden is mysterious at night
And scented! and scented! in the night of stars.
The hedgehog snuffles somewhere among leaves,
Just by the arch-way.  So it is with time
-- Mute night and then a voice that says nothing,
Busying itself, complaining and insisting:
When this has end, silence will come again.

C. H. Sisson, Collected Poems (Carcanet 1998).

                              Robin Tanner, "Wren and Primroses" (1935)

To think of Time as a hedgehog making its patient, imperturbable way through a garden, beneath a starry sky, is a fine image indeed, and is quite comforting.

"Those of us who have allowed our minds to be besotted by the pressure of personal affairs, who perhaps are wasting our time in amassing wealth that we can never hope to enjoy, might well have our folly corrected by an accidental glimpse of this self-contained individualist in his shirt of thorns moving out of the cavernous shadows of some cool odorous flower-bed.

Through the trembling leaves of the garden trees the summer stars shine bright on the outlandish back of the small quadruped, impressing the conscious intelligence with a clear comprehension of the wealth of earth-poetry revealed by the mere existence of so fabulous an urchin directing its activities by the light of the Milky Way."

Llewelyn Powys, "Hedgehogs."

                                    Paul Drury, "March Morning" (1933)


S R Plant said...

Yes, hedgehogs are special, they seem to symbolise so many things, 'timelessness' for one thing, but why not 'time' too. I had hedgehogs breed in my garage a couple of years ago (a happy result of never tidying up), but they have since deserted the environs. I miss them.

Merisi said...

I love the image of time moving like a hedgehog in the night. I dreamed my bed was moving last night, must have been the hedgehog, losing its way for a moment.

Stephen Pentz said...

Mr Plant: good point -- "timelessness" fits them well. Unfortunately, we don't have them over here, so I haven't been able to see them go about their patient business.

Thank you for visiting again.

Stephen Pentz said...

Merisi: thank you for stopping by again, and for your thoughts. Yes, that is a nice image that Sisson came up with, isn't it?