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Sport 10: Autumn 1993

♣ Andrew Johnston — Fool Heart

page 59

Andrew Johnston

Fool Heart

1. The evergreens

Rich scents, guess—yes, the evergreens,
there is something in the wind,

it is blowing from the Dwarf Conifer Collection,
whistling I wish

I wish I wish
and never completes the sentence ...

Shapes, shades, the Garden of Remembrance,
something out of stone—a hard look

at your fool heart, printed
with warnings.

page 60
2. Sensible shoes

Gravel, an avenue, a gate thrown open—
we've been down this path before.

Here you are, and
here: note this footprint's

toehold on the real, the whole
an accurate absence: it's yours

and so are these, where you went
in your sensible shoes, each neat outline

getting you ready
for the next step.

page 61
3. The shallows

A shag shakes, dives—for its other name
and comes up with cormorant, a bottle

rolls in the shallows—it's empty
for a moment—it's clear

you can't stay serious here.
The bay breaks into laughter, its surface

nervous as Mercury—god of scholars,
travellers, thieves,

is he after
your heart, the fool.

page 62
4. True north

North, true north, magnetic north—
don't ask the heart for directions,

lost in the forest. New leaves
put themselves out for you,

for your trouble, for your
fool heart, filling itself

with meaning.
Tell it to stay

an obedient tree
whose roots yet crack the path.

page 63
5. Stern bird

Stern bird sings—at the top of its twig
'I've come to see the done thing done'

Stern bird in the undergrowth,
listening ...

A man goes by with a noisy heart—
I wish IwishIwish

he might need a new frame of mind,
something to fit the facts:

stern bird in its tree,
fool heart in its cage of ribs.

page 64
6. New view

Sea like a lake today,
strait like a door, water

leaving of its own accord.
Here's a new view,

a hill of shale for a lover to look over,
a slope, a slight rise, a house over-

looking the harbour, its
points of departure, a port.

Here's a boatload of hope held up by customs,
a courtship caught before the boat could sail.

page 65
7. Old magnolias

A mind made free in the Main Garden goes
slowly over the sense of what you've said.

Old magnolias burst into Latin—
white flowers flare, fall silent, leaves all

point to their divinity, a pink tree
thinks nothing of such perfection. The eye

leads naturally to where the sky is clearing
above the Sundial of Human Involvement

which can be located next
to the Observatory.