The Mower

29th August 2007

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 thoughts on “The Mower

  1. superblondgirl

    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).

  2. Maggie Ann

    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.

  3. Josh G.

    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…

  4. denise

    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”.

  5. gillthebean

    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.

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