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THE CONDEMNED

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 public pleasure. It will not be planned.

Do not blame us too much if we that are hedgegrow 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.

From Poems

Poems. Copyright © 1964 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface copyright © 1964 by Walter Hooper. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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