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This poem is taken from PN Review 190, Volume 36 Number 2, November - December 2009.

Hedgehurst David Morley

Romany

So out stepped this young man - half hedgehog and half human being. And the king stood and looked: he’d never seen a creature like this in all his days.

He said, ‘What type of being are you that could do all this? Have you anyone to help you?’

‘No,’ said the hedgehurst, ‘I need help from no-one.’

‘You mean to tell me,’ says the king, ‘that you built this place by yourself and you cut all these trees, built all these things and made this place like this?’ It was the most beautiful place the king had ever seen.

‘I have,’ said the hedgehurst, ‘I’ve done all this myself. But anyway, getting back to you: what is it you want of me, for I am king of this and this is my kingdom.’

‘I want nothing from you,’ says the king. ‘But I am amazed! Tell me, what are you?’

He said, ‘I am a hedgehurst.’

                                                                                                                                               Duncan Williamson, Fireside Tales of the Traveller Children

I am Hedgehurst. I, snow-
slumbering, the loaf of my body
ovened in a bole beneath
a flame-leafed sycamore,
uncurl from my coiled hole.
Whose is this scorned skin?
What weather rouses me
...


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