The Badger wandered out that night;
he loved to see the stars and moon.
The landscape in their special light
seemed sweeter than at noon.
For badgers left alone will sleep
by day, and wander through the hours
of darkness quiet, slow and deep
filled with the scent of flowers.
He found the houses all around
were boarded up, and few showed lights
amidst the churned and cratered ground
filled with unpleasant sights.
He wandered off a few more rows
beyond the shattered fences till
he came to where a willow grows
beside a little hill.
“Good evening,” said a mellow voice.
It spoke from deep within the tree;
“If this can make your heart rejoice,
you’re much the same as me.”
The Badger craned his silver neck;
not far above, there perched an owl.
“You say you like this wretched wreck,
wherein I’m loath to prowl?”
“Indeed,” replied the bird. “And yet
I’ve never seen a Badger here
before. What made you leave your sett,
to seek some new frontier?”
“Gas,” snarled the Badger. “Home is gone,
and that’s the only reason why
I’ve left the country. Yet there’s none
can make you leave the sky.”
“My home was in the woods,” the bird
replied. “But since men cut them down,
though country life I once preferred,
I’ve learned to love the town.”
“Brown Owl,” said Badger, “why is that?
The town is such a wretched place,
beloved alone of dog and cat,
yet full of empty space.”
“Town Owl,” the bird corrected. “So
I’ve taken to this different world.
In sheds where men no longer go,
the countless mice are curled
in corners where they know no owl;
and thus I swoop as pale as death.
Across the empty lands I prowl,
far quieter than breath.
Now men have claimed both field and sky;
we must adapt, and thus survive;
some animals lie down and die,
but I, like others, thrive.
We shan’t be eating anything
the other eats; so let’s be friends.
Shall you begin a sett next spring,
or when this summer ends?”
“I’ve found a house,” the Badger said.
“A Mongoose found it first; and so
we’ll build it how we want instead,
and men need never know.”
“Don’t be too sure,” the owl replied.
“I’d love it if you get to stay.
But animals that go inside
get trapped, and sent away.”
“I’ll take my chances,” Badger frowned.
“I’ve lost one home, and all held dear.
This time I’d rather stand my ground;
I’ve had enough of fear.”
“Best wishes,” said the wide-eyed Owl.
“I’ll tell my friends, from fox to wren,
a Badger has begun to prowl
within the homes of men.”
He flew away, and swooped like night
across the wrecked and shattered land;
so, other creatures shared his plight.
Badger would make his stand.