So, he’s a scholar; decent chap too — takes his small
granddaughter to the movies (the family’s in town
for a week); chooses ‘Sleeping Beauty’, cartoon
version, faces of evil now merely ill-tempered.
The lights dim; but she’s restless. ‘Want more
chippies — ’ ‘Yes, later — ’ Regardless, she pulls out
her wallet (wallet? At five?), pushes off down the rows.
‘Chill out Grandad — ’ He squirms; should he follow?
Sit still? Uneasy ruminations crowd in his head.
Maybe Milton, his idol, longing for his
scrupulous Latin, heard riff-raff English like this
— crass, earth-bound, reeking of the hectoring self.
Or fastidious Erasmus. He sighs for his books; there’s
a lot of footwork in growing old, chasing after your
habits, civilization grabbed and screwed up by
the barbarians. Of course — that’s what they’ve always