Larkin’s Hedgehog

The garden is such a sad place to be
Where once a creature dared to cough
Like a cancer patient impatient for tea
Scoffing down worms and shuffling off
Sloughing soil from his house of fleas

The business of mowing too is ghastly
Dust and pollen irritating oesophagus
Sneezing and wheezing under bay tree
From my attic window I hear him cuss
The hedgehog wedged. An amputee.

 

(Philip Larkin was born on this day in 1922. From 1956 to 1974 he rented a second floor flat in Hull, England. He died in 1985 of oesophageal cancer. My poem is a reimagination of these basic facts and two of his poems – ‘Home is so Sad’ and ‘The Mower’. Hope you like it)

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