Early June, and at odds with the day.

There's a JCB digging at the Ormond end

scraping the red ash back, exposing sores:

the missed chances, the soft goals aching

and the Celtic defence where it was buried

by themselves, before they headed home.

It's beyond post-season.

It's not pre-season.

It's non-season yet it's busy, industry

swarms around the ground, puddles

into laughter and a single voice calling

the play - the demand to stay off the grass.

Sparkies cherry pick the lights, bouncing

but not in Unity, and adverts come and go.

I breathe in the sweet air off the grass

and watch the shadows of gulls replay

random moves of a season still echoing

in the ranks of seats, blue, red - waiting.

I can hear the grass breathing,

roots of memory gently disturbed:

shoots of anticipation and ambition swell

under the sun's lazy impress on the pitch.

A shadow curves out for a throw

opposite the eighteen yard line, unmarked.

No goals. No nets but the spots

where Cummins tapped in

where Scobs rescued, lifted us

where Spoony found the line

where Macca found his curve

where Ando and Joe stood firm - still there.

Each one seeded with a loyal purpose

in the soil, the shine of grass, and ourselves

so we can return to the dream, quenched

with fresh hope, and unplanned mysteries.

A whistling burst of Oystercatcher blows

full-time. I pick up the shadow. I'm ready.