A Disaffected Old Man

Christopher Reid

The spider in her hanging theatre;
the patient villainy of cats:
the afternoon foretells disaster,
now we have time to sit and watch.

Outdoors, lulled by the sun, I berce
the sticky brandy in my glass
and contemplate the apple-tree,
that writhes like a family history.

My grandchildren are playing cricket
with a beachball and tennis-racket.
My ancient wife sits on my left.
Leaning, we kiss with cigarettes,

to make a tremulous bridge for love.
This yawning book. Its foxy breath.
I pluck out phrases like stubborn teeth,
only to mislay them – and soon enough.

Now, yoked to her bib, a baby crawls
a number of yards, but then stalls,
seeing the next-door cat dash past
with his foolish, fat, feathery, false moustache.