On a Devon Road by Glyn Maxwell

June 26, 1998

Whatever thoughts there were for me on a Devon road,

nothing knotted them suddenly to one spot

like what lay up ahead, flopped and brownish,

too much of it for a bird, too much for a fox;

one wound as I went by its snouted head

had trickled; the slightest movement was beyond it.

It was a badger. I looked back over my shoulder

twice at it and a third time turned, I was staring:

its stillness had a force and a beat that nothing

green remotely had. It was pulsing

with having been. It was not what was around it:

where it and the world met was a real edge -

like someone thumping "badger" to the page

with a finger and old Citizen had banged

a hole with b clean through, and couldn't mend it,

that dumb dot in his title word, and had to

use his hand to stop light coming through it.

GLYN MAXWELL

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