The Badger Dig - Poem by Francis Duggan
They came with shovel, pick and bar
The three men from the south
And along with them in Shannon's motor car
They brought three terriers for to drag the badger out.
Tom Hardy brought his wheaten dog named Crown
Of strength and fighting skill
With tousled coat of lightish brown
And powerful jaws to make the kill.
Ned Canty brought his fiery dog Dave
Of short legged Sealyham breed
A white and brown and truly brave
And a great earth dog indeed.
Bill Shannon brought his bull terrier Jack
A powerfully built dog
Last month he broke a fox's back
In a field near Blackstone Bog.
The grey badger lay sleeping
In his dark underground set
Unaware that men had come with dogs
For to savage him to death.
The voices of men and the barking dogs
Roused the badger from his sleep
And he snorted like a startled hog
In his set sandy and steep.
Said Tom this is a sandy set
And the brock's a long way in
A steeper set we've not yet met
And I doubt that we'll get him.
Ned Clancy in reflective mood
Said we may never get him out
He must be in at least one half a rood
But it's worth a try no doubt.
Said Bill there's no need to lose heart
Why we've yet to begin
We've come to dig so lets make a start
And we'll see what happens then.
They started in to work all three
Ned dug with pick in hand
Whilst Tom made holes with his hunting bar
And Bill shovelled out loose sand.
Whilst the men were working over head
The badger used his paws
And burrowed deeper into his sandy bed
With his long and powerful claws.
After two hours work the men took a break
And had a bite to eat
But the badger went on tunnelling
In his under ground retreat.
Whilst the men enjoyed their sandwiches
And drank from their flasks of tea
The badger went on burrowing
He worked on tirelessly.
After tea break Bill said unleash the sealyham
Ned let his dog go free
And he crawled into the badger set
Displaying true bravery.
Said Tom this badger's way in deep
And he's far too deep for hope
And in such a steep and sandy set
The terrier with him will not cope.
Said Ned my dog has not yet failed to draw
A fox or badger from the ground
He has got great strength and powerful jaws
And I will bet with you ten pound.
Said Tom I will accept that bet
If so you wish to choose
Today you won't see badger death
And this is one bet that you're going to lose.
Said Ned the bet is on provided
That the dog and badger clash
And if he fails to reach the badger
Then we both can keep our cash.
Said Tom well that's okay with me
I'd have it no other way
For he who wagers money
Is entitled to fair play.
The badger prepared himself for fight
As the terrier to him drew near
He had to fight and claw and bite
This was no time for fear.
The badger had fought for life before
With poacher's Corbet's bull terrier bitch
But he left the terrier feeling sore
When she jumped him in a ditch.
The terrier grabbed hold of the badger by the scruff
And tried to drag him out
But with his paws the badger cuffed
The terrier across the mouth.
Outside the wheaten and bull terrier were yapping
In anticipation of blood spill
With excitement they were panting
As they waited for the kill.
The terrier held on to his firm grip
And tried to drag the badger fro
But the badger used his claws and flesh did rip
And canine blood did flow.
The sealyham uttered forth a painful yelp
And he backed out of the set
And the badger had won his fight for life
And Ned had lost his bet.
Dave the type of dog that all badger baiting men admire
Had met up with defeat
He lay there looking weak and tired
Badly bruised and truly beat.
Said Bill we'd best be out of here
As the moon will soon be up
And we'll stop on the way home in Dromleer
For a thirst quenching sup.
In Dromleer Village they stopped at a bar
And there had a couple of drinks
And then Bill he drove the motor car
Towards their homes in Rossalink.
Stars twinkled in the November sky
And the moon shone round and pale
As the badger crept out of his set
In lonely Dromleer vale.
He'd come unscathed from the underground strife
And he'd proved himself quite brave
And he'd won the battle for his life
And humbled the great dog Dave.
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