THROUGH CITY VEINS


I am there now. I see the town, St Leonard’s across the Inch,

prison walls threaten behind me, they don’t hold me back - I am born.

I’m free to think, to play the game. I can feel the grass.

I can hear them, seagulls circling, mocking us.

We, this odd bunch of men in shorts - students of football.

The cricket bats in a bag, in a shed, for another day,

for another team. For now - I am St. Johnstone.

I am born to reach over the Inch,

to run through city veins,

to bubble up through the mouths of grafters.

 

I was uncertain of everything – rules, tactics,

the opposition’s efforts matching mine - unsettling

the stumbling steps of my new found stride

but my mind was sure of this – defeat would not kill me.

It would feed me. I am born St.Johnstone.

I’m living and growing beyond your quickening lives.

My blood would spill, to run through foreign fields – for

King and Country they said. I left myself there but returned

in broken parts to be born again. I am St Johnstone.

I would breath again because you would breath with me.

 

I am there now. I can see the Stand, the Ice Rink,

the barriers, the Ormond boys. The signal letters –

DRYBURGHS - rippling across the corrugation.

Defiant, bold, brainwashing, calling across city roofs,

through the smoke of industry, calling to the loyal /

the curious, the rich men, poor men, big men,

wee men, fair maids, old maids and the etceteras

who pumped their blood into me and we ran together.

We stood up together and became more than our yesterdays.

I am St. Johnstone. I live beyond your narrow days.

 

Then he found me in the slump. Not dead but tired,

bruised, where the juice had been sucked

from my bones. He lifted me up, nurtured me,

took me to green fields, built me a home.

I am there now. In the four Stands, the Suites /

the weave of tartan. I am the grass, the cotton,

the blue, the white, the zipped up effort of youth.

Its brittle edge and fiery stew of energy where my

tomorrows will be born. The seagulls circle but no longer mock.

I bristle with possibilities. I am St. Johnstone.

              

I am St Johnstone until I die but why should I care of death

when I am re-born every day? I am the smudge

on the polished curve of the Scottish Cup.

I was born again in the outstretched hands of my Captain

and the banners tied to an open top bus.

I’ve spun the roulette wheel in Monaco,

walked to the edge of the Arctic Circle,

dipped my toe in glacial waters, by alpine shores.

Every day, I reach the far side of this earth,

secure in hearts. Every day, I am St. Johnstone.

 

I am there now. In the shop window

and the bar shelf to the right of the optics.

I am in the queue – at the checkout, at the bus stop,

on the oak lined road to the next departure

from the Crematorium. I’m all the Lotto Numbers.

I’m the spare peg in the Dressing Room. I’m every blade of grass.

I’m the first goal, the last point, the air in the nets,

the corner flag flutter of every game, the reach of every word

in every column inch. I am there now. I am the echo

of studs in the tunnel, and the last floodlight fading.

I am St Johnstone. I’m in the checked in holiday baggage.

I’m on Sugar Loaf, Table Top, and every postcard sent home.

I'm on the walk down from Letham, the bus up from Muirton.

I’m in the sparkle of early arrivals, the slump of early leavers.

I’m the burst of East Stand opinions, the lift of song /

the bounce of bare chested Unity. I am all those beating hearts.

I’m players not yet Legend, dreams not imagined -

adventures not planned. I’m manifest destiny.

I will breath tomorrow if you will breath with me – forever.

For we are St. Johnstone.