As part of their Cultural Olympiad project, the Scottish Poetry Library has selected Richard Price’s “little-known poem,” Hedge Sparrows to represent Team GB. See Guardian article here.
With Britain’s long history of great poets (e.g. Shakespeare and Wordsworth), it must have been a difficult task. I am not familiar with the poet, Richard Price. At first, I thought they might be referring to the novelist, but that Richard Price is American. In selecting the poem, the Scottish Poetry Library said they were looking for a “snapshot” rather than an “oil painting.” The poem looks like a block paragraph and is written in “one continuous breathy sentence” and reads like prose which leaves me feeling a bit poetically unsatisfied.
You don’t see many hedges these days, and the hedges you do see they’re not that thorny, it’s a shame, and when I say a hedge I’m not talking about a row of twigs between two lines of rusty barbed wire, or more likely just a big prairie where there were whole cities of hedges not fifty years ago, a big desert more like, and I mean thick hedges, with trees nearby for a bit of shade and a field not a road not too far off so you can nip out for an insect or two when you or the youngsters feel like a snack, a whole hedgerow system, as it says in the book, and seven out of ten sparrows say the same, and that’s an underestimate, we want a place you can feel safe in again, we’re social animals, we want our social life back, and the sooner the better, because in a good hedge you can always talk things over, make decisions, have a laugh if you want to, sing, even with a voice like mine!