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By Paul Muldoon

The snail moves like a

Hovercraft, held up by a

Rubber cushion of itself,

Sharing its secret


With the hedgehog. The hedgehog

Shares its secret with no one.

We say, Hedgehog, come out

Of yourself and we will love you.


We mean no harm. We want

Only to listen to what

You have to say. We want

Your answers to our questions.


The hedgehog gives nothing

Away, keeping itself to itself.

We wonder what a hedgehog

Has to hide, why it so distrusts.


We forget the god

Under this crown of thorns.

We forget that never again

Will a god trust in the world.


Paul Muldoon, "Hedgehog" from Poems 1969-1998. Copyright © 2001 by Paul Muldoon. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC,  http://us.macmillan.com/fsg. All rights reserved. 

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Source: Poems 1968-1998 (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)

  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Paul Muldoon
Considered by some the most important English-language poet born since WWII, Paul Muldoon writes an ingenious, allusive and musical verse that is extremely playful yet also capable of high seriousness. Born in Northern Ireland, he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the BBC from 1973 until 1986; since then he has lived in the United States, where he teaches at Princeton University. In 2003 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his ninth collection, Moy Sand and Gravel.  See More By This Poet

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