Mighty Life List
Aug 29 2007

The Mower

by Philip Larkin
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

23 Responses to “The Mower”

  • Meg Says:

    Lovely. True. Thanks for that reminder.

  • Holy Schmidt! Says:

    That is really depressing, but oh so true.

  • superblondgirl Says:

    There is something lovely about the simplicity of this. Poems that don’t bury their meaning behind fancy wording are my favorite kinds (Billy Collins is one for that, too).

  • sprizee Says:

    I bet you would love Paul Hunter.

  • Jamie Says:

    Depressing and sweet at the same time. I’m not quite sure what to think.

  • Maggie Ann Says:

    Oh Maggie,
    Thank you so much for posting this poem. I had been feeling something so similar to these sentiment earlier today when I passed, on the road, a small kitten that had lost its life. It almost brought me to tears. I am so glad to be sensitive to those things, though it is harder than just passing them without a second thought. The world needs us to be kind. And this is a sad but beautiful reminder of that.

  • Josh G. Says:

    Be kind. Not just to ourselves, but to the balance of mother nature…

    Also, remember that rodent would still be devouring the lawn if not for the act. In turn that is what he does to survive. If more perished in that manner who would naturally rotatile our lawns. Oh the pain…

  • slouching mom Says:

    I love his poetry.

  • denise Says:

    that made me remember my freshman poetry class in college. the professor had just finished reading a larkin poem and he asked the class what it made them feel. there were giggles and a few snickers, smart-assed answers and still in a sort of trance i said, “joy”.

  • Joe Says:

    Deep. But apparently not deep enough, as the little critter got mowed.

  • stacey Says:

    hey, that’s sweet. thanks.

  • SusieJ Says:

    It’s all so fragile, and we forget.

  • sue Says:

    Something to ponder today. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mariam Says:

    I love that. Thanks for posting it.

  • Weremonkey Says:

    a reminder to be more thoughtful

  • James Says:

    Philip Larkin is awesome.

    I think only his poem “Myxomatosis” has this one beat for pure, unadulterated depression :)

  • Julie Says:

    I love the daily photo today — Little Girl Blue. Adorable.

  • BOSSY Says:

    Now if it had been a squirrel… Kidding… Bossy is totally kidding.

  • MontanaJen Says:

    ouch. my heart hurts. poor thing.

  • courtney Says:

    damn. but a great post all the same. :)

  • Julie Says:

    I love that poem – thank you for posting it.

  • gillthebean Says:

    Oh Josh G. Hedgehogs aren’t rodents. They don’t “devour” lawns. They eat slugs and other bugs which destroy plants. That’s what makes the poem so sad.

  • cry it out! Says:

    “Get stewed — books are a load of crap.” Thanks for the reminder that i should read Larkin more often. Just amazing.
    Mike