There is a wildness still in England that will not feed
In cages; it shrinks away from the touch of the trainer’s hand,
Easy to kill, not easy to tame. It will never breed
In a zoo for the public pleasure. It will not be planned.
Do not blame us too much if we that are hedgerow folk
Cannot swell the rejoicings at this new world you make –
We, hedge-hogged as Johnson or Borrow, strange to the yoke
As Landor, surly as Cobbett (that badger), birdlike as Blake.
A new scent troubles the air to you, friendly perhaps
But we with animal wisdom have understood that smell.
To all our kind its message is Guns, Ferrets, and Traps,
And a Ministry gassing the little holes in which we dwell.