Poem of the day

The Tale of the Hedgehog

by Bernado Atxaga

In his nest of dry leaves the hedgehog has woken

his mind so suddenly filled with all the words he knows.

Counting the verbs, more or less, they come to twenty-seven.

Later he thinks: The winter is over,

I am a hedgehog, Up fly two eagles, high up,

Snail, Worm, Insect, Spider, Frog,

which ponds or holes are you hiding in?

There is the river, This is my kingdom, I am hungry.

 

And he repeats: This is my kingdom, I am hungry,

Snail, Worm, Insect, Spider, Frog,

which ponds or holes are you hiding in?

However he remains still like a dry leaf, too,

because it is but midday and an old law

forbids him sun, sky and eagles.

 

But night comes, gone are the eagles; and the hedgehog,

Snail, Worm, Insect, Spider, Frog,

disregards the river and undertakes the steepness of the mountain,

as sure of his spines as a warrior

in Sparta or Corinth could have been of his shield;

and suddenly, he crosses the boundary

between the meadow and the new road

with a single step that takes him right into my and your time.

And given that his universal vocabulary has not been renewed

in the last seven thousand years,

he neither understands our car lights,

nor realises his forthcoming death.

19 September

Sharks in Sharp Suits

by Oren Hodge

18 September

Glastonbury Song

by Dennis Gould

17 September

Howgill Fells

by Jenny Swann

16 September

from 'How to Carry a Poem'

by Diana Hendry

15 September

Glimpse

by Jennifer Wong

14 September

Birds in the Blue Night

by Hannah Lowe

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Image Credit: 
INDIA ROPER-EVANS
Southbank Centre Poetry Library.Royal Festival Hall.Library, rare books, visitors