Dogs have leads, but cats ? Lead doesn't sound right for a cat. So let's say leash. For today on the Common we see a cat on a leash, a Siamese, walking daintily with its tail in the air. Behind it, holding the leash, is a young woman. She kneels to release the cat, which wanders off to inspect a tree. The woman is nervous and probably fears that her cat will take off or climb the tree, for she speaks to it, coaxingly. She speaks to it in French, which may or may not explain a lot..
Through the wide open window of a pub I watch young men watching football. How do I know they are watching football, because I cannot see the screen, on which their attention is fixed? It is because of the noise the make and the way they jump and and down and wave their fists. As I watch them, I think of Barrett Bonden's recent sonnet on football fans, written if I recall correctly, to demonstrate that any subject could be a subject of verse, and which, the same time, revealed a contempt for the breed, which had been building up for many years.
It was in fact a villanelle but you're entitled to the mistake since in those days I used to spell it vilanelle.
"Building up for many years" - and no sign of the pressure diminishing. For soccer has brought yet another irritation. As a scene-setter before a big game TV news cameras are often used to test the views of so-called fans. A cruel practice. The modern-day equivalent of those visits the middle-classes used to make to Bedlam for Sunday afternoon entertainment.
Silly of me. The repetitive form of the villanelle lent itself well to the chanting of football crowds, with a fine note of irony.
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