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Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
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,
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,
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.