In time in space

In time in space

Let it be known
           that wherever we go
we are walking
           among stars
seen and unseen
           and that there are
no limits to the space
           around us

and that every silence
           is cosmic
and that every declaration
           of love rings out
through the universe
           and that one day
on some distant planet
           who knows how far away
our tender words may be heard
           and that the moment
when our bodies first met
           the shudder may be felt
in the four corners
           of infinity

John Lyons

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Silent land

Silent land

Silent land
           under harsh frost
grass brittle underfoot
           all surfaces slip
and slide
           the cruel east wind
raucous in our ears
           our voices hoarse
as we struggle
           to converse before
falling back
           into silence

Winter can be
           a bare place
intemperate unforgiving
           the dark night skies
no consolation
           pricked
with the dead light
           from distant stars
All this without love
           would be true misery

John Lyons

 

Connecticut recollection (1976)

Connecticut recollection (1976)

I remember a forest of copper and gold
and wide lakes in which the water lulled
and a radiant blue sky and a bitter wind
and a song that every radio station played

endlessly about leaving and the heart breaking

and I thought that it would pursue me
to the ends of the earth and it did
but I looked closely at the leafless trees

and saw that the buds of new leaves

were there in place ready to burst forth
and it reminded me that nothing dies
no matter how challenged and that life
is endless and love too if it is true

John Lyons

Variation on a winter day

Variation on a winter day

How shall we survive
           in the thin-streaming
winter light through
           the days of hard frost
when our breath curls
           from our mouths
and our skin shivers

We who are born alone
           and seek only the company
and acceptance of others
           how shall we use our days
to further the pursuit
           of warmth and affection
how shall we bring colour
           where nature is stripped
to the bone or beneath
           the black sky where
shimmering stars fill
           that frozen space

We on the wide earth
           who do never know
where our steps will end
           nor what form it will take
nor by what rules of clemency
           our lives’ work will be judged

John Lyons

 

A portrait in oils

A Portrait
Portrait, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

A portrait in oils

Once in a while
           you may come
to resemble
           the portrait I painted
of your youthful face
           using principally
burnt umber
           upon titanium white
with a hint of cerulean blue
           for the eyes
and a trace of red
           for the lips set against
a deep cadmium
           yellow background

Of course it’s not you
           but merely a series of strokes
hints of what you might be
           or might were once
mineral and translucent
           or opaque and of the earth
and of the sky
           the body and soul of you
of what you are here to express
           in your thoughts
and words
           and in the flesh

It means nothing
           as it lies on canvas
and awaits
           an appreciative eye
a smouldering mirror
           alive with intent
devised with all the warmth
           of my hand and deficient
only insofar as it betrays
           the limitations of my gift

John Lyons

 

Improvisation in two tongues

Improvisations

Beauty ingrained in the soul
           that we carry through our time
in the world
           and everywhere we invent
a sea and mountains
           and deep river valleys and listen
for the changing seasons
           our minds bathed in words
We see roses shiver on their stems
           gulls cavorting down by the pier
sparrows hopping
           from branch to branch
and watch at night
           as the stars tell tales
of our lives
           and what is beauty
but the mystery of life
           the pulse and the beat of breath
on our faces and the sense
           of all that may happen
and the memory
           of all that has

John Lyons

Improvisações

A beleza enraizada na alma
           que carregamos no nosso tempo
no mundo
           e em todo lugar inventamos
um mar e montanhas e profundos
           vales fluviais e ouvimos
as mudanças das estações
           nossas mentes banhadas em palavras
Nós vemos rosas tremer
           em suas hastes
gaivotas brincando pelo cais
           pardais pulando de galho em galho
e assistimos à noite
           enquanto as estrelas contam histórias
de nossas vidas
           e o que é beleza
senão o mistério da vida
           o pulso e a batida da respiração
em nossos rostos e a sensação
           de tudo que pode acontecer
e a memória
           de tudo que tem sido

versão de John Lyons

 

Lake Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua

Blue sky reflected
           in the blue waters
of the lake
           Slow ripples of water
moving upon water
           creating rolling waves
of brilliant sunshine
           breaking gently
on the shore
           here in the lake
where we fished
           just after sunrise
before the world awoke
           before the heat rose
small fish
           with gleaming scales
created from sunlight
           fried in a pan
devoured in a flash
           and a smack of the lips

John Lyons