PNN/Young Poets Network “ways to be wilder” poetry competition. Highly Commended poems. “the writer comes across a hedgehog at midnight or the hedgehog comes across a writer” by Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer

This is another of the highly commended poems in the People Need Nature/Young Poets Network “Ways to be Wilder” poetry competition, hosted by the Young Poets Network. We are also publishing judge Jen Hadfield’s notes on the poems.


the writer comes across a hedgehog at midnight or the hedgehog comes across a writer

Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer (23)



little wolf in grandma’s bonnet and dress

sways at an easy pace across pavement space,

a two-step beat for four tiny feet –


but then, under sudden lamplight,

splits at a stroke, turning into


two dancers, each looking to lead:

the first is keen to effect a pause


to worm for well-earned sustenance;

the other, unsure, tightens its grip,


quickens the trot, heading from spotlight


scuttle… snuffle…


language falls away like

lace, the weight of human significance

breaks in mud, in darkness


Comment by Jen Hadfield:

This poem opens with an irresistible image, then unfolds like a puzzle ring. I appreciate that you allow a satisfying element of disorientation to persist. The poem has all the hallmarks of a dance with the wild: the witness agog, rapt, confused; language faltering…as if the hedgehog(s) were dancing with the writer. There may be scope to make some very delicate edits, maybe letting the poem settle into courtly (but teetering) couplets. I feel a bit of a wrench out of the voice in the last stanza. Could it end at ‘scuttle…snuffle…’?