Badgers.       by Jay Mountney.     January 2012.

When the badgers came to our garden
they slipped in silently
in the dark,
ghosts with rough fur, claws and a sharp bite.
First they burrowed
under the shed but found
it was not quite
the des res they’d hoped for and so they went
via the lawn (and a fine game
of plough-your-own-furrow)
to the greenhouse. Beneath its foundations
they deliberated but decided the same
drawbacks applied and finally
they settled on the raised fishpond
where they spent the winter safe
under a kind of manmade ground,
dreaming of summer scents and the stars beyond.

When the badgers came to our garden
they dug out the conventions of gardenhood, the strife
between flowers and weeds,
the military precision of design,
and made it a haven
for their own version
of wild life.

When the foxes came to our garden,
hard on the badgers’ heels
(because after all, the place
was now a kind of haven),
they were not as particular.
They moved straight
into the tunnels under the shed;
the ones, you remember, the badgers had abandonèd
as not quite good enough.
The foxes didn’t care.
Looking for meals
or maybe fun,
they chased a few of the neighbour’s chickens,
not killing them,
just causing terror and and a rain
of feathers everywhere.

When the the badgers (followed by the foxes)
came to our garden
the squirrels, who had lived there peacefully
for quite some time,
chattered disdainfully
from the sycamore tree and then
left to seek better lodgings
on the other side of the fence,
telling the magpies they should consider moving while they could,
before the whole neighbourhood
was turned into a wild park.
The neighbour’s cat watched,
her furred expression
showing a kind of domesticated pain.
Her tail whisked.
I think she wished
the badgers had never come
to our garden.

As you can see, the fishpond isn’t finished. Also, a lot of the fish died last winter when we were away during very cold weather and something went wrong with the pump. So it is currently more of a white elephant than a feature, But the damage the badgers have done to what used to be a lawn has to be seen to be believed. And of course they are protected so we can’t evict them.

6 thoughts on “Badgers

  1. Ooooh poetry! It’s a treat! I really, really liked this. I liked the repetition of ‘when the badgers came to our garden’ which coupled with the inclusion of the other animal life brings a charming ‘old tale’ feel if that makes sense. Also, the description of ‘domesticated pain’ on the cat’s face is awesome.

    • I’m so glad you liked it! And you have actually seen the mess they have made, and Patsy, the cat who doesn’t approve of them… so hopefully that all adds layers of meaning for you!

    • Well, I like your poems, so yes, maybe we have some styles/tastes in common?! Glad you enjoyed it. I used to write more – recently I haven’t felt inspired very often.

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