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.
Once when I was driving in the woods I hit an owl. I can’t possibly describe the feeling, of how I didn’t belong there with my stupid machine, how I had mauled the owl’s unobtrusive world. A car is a loud, hard, ugly, cruel, selfish, stupid thing. It is propelled by a kind of metallic flatulence. Yet in the collision it is the owl that dies. This seems a horribly apt metaphor for the way things often are. The final couplet of the poem is all there is to live for.