A truck arrived next day; too small,
the Badger thought, to carry much.
The driver dropped things in the hall,
and nattered on with such and such
as if the Badger cared to watch
the football games, or smoke a pipe,
drink beer or cider, stout or scotch –
until he saw the whitest stripe
down Badger’s nose, and then at last
he looked him right between the eyes;
he dropped his clipboard, muttered, “Blast!”,
and hurried off in great surprise.
The Badger took it in his stride,
for badgers are a gentle race.
Excitedly the Mongoose tried
to move the parcel into space
where little teeth could gnaw the string;
but Badger frowned, and waved a paw;
“If we’re to live this human thing
as you suggested, never gnaw
the string, but get some scissors. See!
The parcel bears a curious name;
‘Nirmala Newla’ ” – “Yes, that’s me!”
she huffed. “To play this human game
two names are needed. All should know
in India, the Newla’s me;
Nirmala’s nice enough, and so
I told the bank that I was she.”
“Well, I’ve no name,” said Badger. “Can
you conjure up some useful line
that serves to make me like a man,
when answering the door to sign?”
“Granville the Badger,” she replied.
“That’s what I’ll call you. Write it down,
your signature’s another stride
to humanhood. Oh, please don’t frown.”
The Badger, who quite liked the name,
was sad to think that ever yet
he seemed to come to be the same
as those who gassed his lovely sett.
The Mongoose nodded. “Sad, it’s true;
but here’s a life that we can make.
The lives we loved, and once we knew,
are gone. This chance we have to take.”
He sadly shook his head. “Ah well,
let’s see if we can make a start
repairing where we have to dwell;
but setts are ever in my heart.”
They tore the paper off. Inside
they found a lovely willow tree;
a ghetto blaster large and wide,
and paper hats, all printed “Free!”
The Mongoose gasped; “So where’s cement?”
“Look here,” said Badger. “One of two;
another parcel must be sent -
today, this lot will have to do.”
They both agreed the tree was nice.
They squeezed it through the old back door,
and had it planted in a trice,
to give them shade that they’d adore.
They heard a truck arrive; in hope
they bounded to the window; there
they saw a bright blue van. ‘J Thrope -
We’ll move your home with tender care!’
At that the woman down the road
they thought had called them vermin, came
outside to tell the men to load
her things inside. “So that’s her game,”
the Mongoose snapped. “Can’t stand to live
by decent creatures. Thought us rats –
well since she’s gone, and can’t forgive,
come on! Let’s wear those party hats!”
“I’d wait,” said Badger. “Don’t be cross.
There’s something strange a-going on.
Although we can’t regret her loss,
I want to know quite why she’s gone.”
He made his way outside, and asked
the driver, while his back was turned,
whyever he had been so tasked;
his face was grim, when he returned.
He told his friend: “This little bit
of sanctuary we found is dead;
the Council are destroying it
to build some better homes instead.”
The Mongoose wept; then dried her tears,
and said; “Well, I was born to fight!
In spite of all our foes and fears,
I won’t give in! This isn’t right!”
They went to sit beneath their tree -
the first improvement they had made.
They played some awful free CD,
and sadly sheltered in its shade.