These creatures that one does not see often:
The badger that I saw under a gate
As I leaned upon it, sudden, surprised
While the badger looked up but did not move.

Then, yesterday or the day before, that otter:
As he swam in the distance, I thought, ‘a moorhen’;
Then he came out of vagueness into sight,
Sinuous and sleek, swimming with all assurance,

His bright wet fur and only brighter eyes
Advancing and manoeuvering like a fleet
And so he came to land under my nose,
But I stirred once, and he was gone.

Inhabitants of the unpublicised world
Whom no word can foul, who eat and kill
According to the nature of the beast:
Give us example of discretion.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 2 Number 9, on page 54
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