Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Beleaguered badger
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Creep out, badger, bright-striped snout
And brindled back, from your sandy sett,
Wade through the shade of the twilit wood
Where the tireless dunnock jangles yet,
And the chiff-chaff’s sweet monotony
Re-echoes late from tree to tree.

But hark, badger, on deepening dark
Drifts garish noise of the village hop
Two stiles and a mile down the bosky hill,
An advancing dance that will not stop
Till the shrinking forests of our land
Are flat beneath macadam’s hand.

Beware, badger, or do you care
In your narrow, snuffy, donnish head
That men with a pen who loved you well,
Grahame and Lewis and White are dead,
And Wild Wood, Narnia, Gramarye
Depend on such poor clods as we?


Oxford Times, 26 June 1964
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983