Set: Opening

2 sonnets for badgers

Artwork by ATM streetart -

The holy night-wanderer John Clare loved badgers. So do I.

Today their communities are being decimated by an anti-life policy which, taken to its logical conclusion,will doom all farms to become zones of sterility as agro-business declares total war on nature. Logically birdlife will have to go next, and the wonders of 5G will soon be on hand to assist with any requisite faunal cleansing.

But our herds are going down with bovine TB because immunities have been compromised by discredited methods of farming. And meanwhile poor old badger's being held to blame.

Rebuilding an intuitive relationship with the land does not mean science thrown out of the window, not at all. But the head must bow to the heart; and we must stop the cull!

Mad John Clare loved badgers and so do we.


The badger's grand set, opening
like a tunnel of the Northern Line
only lacking mock-Doric coping;
and the pungent smack of his urine
hitting, an aromatic barrage
not the stench of a pissed-up carriage
somewhere between Morden and Burnt Oak.
He must be an industrious bloke
excavating in the small hours
not unlike some nocturnal poet
hollowing-out, when all is quiet
underneath his ivory towers
making room for good supplies and stores
to keep barren winter from his doors.


Long-striped in his lunar night-field
big thickset badger's underdog
in this day: his fate is sealed.
Roaming once East Warren in the fog
he used to prowl behind these hills
digging up coneys with claw-drills
dustclouds under his tail, grunting
power-shovel with bloodlust hunting.
Now you find him on the verge
as roadkill of the juggernaut
fine-tuned nostrils sunk in asphalt
where three flashing highways merge
a strange two-dimensional corpse
emblem of the natural world's collapse.

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