On a Devon Road

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 Remington 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.

from The Breakage (Faber, 1998), © Glyn Maxell 1998, used by permissiion of the author.

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