His beauty traps her breath
in her throat,
as she watches, unmoving;
and he looks at her, without seeing.
His secrets are hidden in darkness,
dusk-time creature rummaging and rooting;
heavy and strong, yet he glides
lightfooted over the earth.
He goes about his business in private,
is confident, solid,
self-contained in his honest life.
He lifts his head, nose-twitching.
Ears prick, a stick cracks …
He’s off, the stocky swagger
powers forward … and disappears.
He is free to breathe
his noble and gracious air
as he travels in darkness
through his world.
He knows only his night-places,
lives in the underground;
and has no need of us.
Yet he is significant to us,
so vital-essential that we
call our ills his fault,
we reproach him
for our shortcomings
and seek to damage him blamelessly,
simply because he lives.
‘Knowledgable’ men and women argue about him,
discuss his trapping and killing.
Misguided, mistaken, ill-advised —
They will shoot him.
This is a revision of a poem I wrote last year after the badger cull was prevented from going ahead in Wales following court action by The Badger Trust.
Now, the killing has started in Somerset, and soon will in Gloucestershire, so this is the rewrite for England.