The old boys pitching boules
on the dusty patch of ground
outside the café – round-
shouldered, measuring, pauseful –

play a subtler game
than the lithe lads booting their ball
against the petrol-station wall,
but it means much the same:

territory, whether marked out
in ponderous lobs, or held
like the fire-crossed corner of a battlefield,
is what it’s all about.

Christopher Reid is the author of many books of verse, including The Song of Lunch, Non- sense, Six Bad Poets and The Curiosities. Earlier this year, the actor Robert Bathurst presented A Scattering and The Song of Lunch as a theatrical double bill under the title Love, Loss and Chianti. As the tenth anniversary of the loss of his wife Lucinda Gane approaches he has re- turned to elegy in ten poems addressed directly to her in Anniversay published by Enitharmon Press.

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