The day blushes, declines
all further dalliance with the light,
and the small folk of the night
peer forth, timid for their life.

The hedgehog goes tapping
tip-toes along the path
then, silent in four wheel drive
across the grass.

His panoply of prickles swaying,
he rolls from side to side,
shy and rotund,
black button eyes twinkling,
like a character from Dickens.

Damp chamois nose crinkling
at the delectable smells
that surge and creep
from the compost heap,
and new-turned earth.

Ears hidden like dark shells,
swivelled on soft sounds
of deliquescent slugs,
and worms that squirm,
and round shiny bugs
in an ungainly panic.

9 September, 1998