Fire and brimstone

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Small World, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Fire and brimstone

A text in every texture
           but texts for nothing
the sinews of my soul
           laid boldly here in the lattice
formed by my many deeds
           and misdeeds
strokes that have
           gone astray
paths that led
           into dark ground
where bearings
           were soon lost

I see too the flickering flames
           of reds and yellows and orange
with streaks of black
           that burn in self-recrimination
a mind charred
           in the failing honesty
of its art and upon it all
           the criss-cross
of patterned purity
           with which I still hope
to redeem myself
           in my time
in my place
           in my life

John Lyons

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Fabric 1

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Fabric 1, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Fabric 1

A synthetic poem
           a tissue of words
that I find within me
           the reds of passion
in all their shifting shades
           woven upon a web
of blacks and whites
           and one colour dripping
into another
           here clear here opaque
a pigmented narrative
           latent with mystery
laid thickly or scraped
           to the bone
the interplay
           of light and dark
text upon textile
           a soul laid bare

John Lyons

Fabric 2

fabric_2
Fabric 2, oil on canvas

Fabric 2

A biopsy of my brain fabric
           reveals a few dark traces
scattered among
           the dull orange cells
there are too
           brief flashes
of inspiration as evidenced
           in the white synapses
yet underlying it all
           is the highly structured
chaos that seems
           only to resolve
in a deep love
           for you

John Lyons

 

A lone gull

A lone gull

A lone gull
           inland hovering
above my skylight
           with its wide wingspan
gliding as it scavenges
           the ground below
slowly majestically
           it turns and veers
to the right
           and then to the left
perfectly at ease
           I see its eyes
sharp and precise
           but does it see me ?
and if it did
           would it care ?

John Lyons

 

The ruins of time

The ruins of time

Face of the orphan
            earth
that feeds us
            ashes to ash
dust to dust
            womb to tomb

ingate of birth
            mere taste
of happiness and mirth
            advancement
and honours vain
            great labour
and long-lasting pain
            this flesh
a bubble-glass of breath
            trophy for devouring death

for deeds die
            however nobly done
thoughts too decay
            but wise words may
perchance outlive sad days
            of sorrow and decay

John Lyons

Perfect silence

Perfect silence

The silence in which I sit
           the geometry of my desires
the circle and the square
           all perfect and the silence
against which the birds sing
           and the stars

Whoever heard
           of an imperfect star
or a sparrow or a bee ?
           Perfect the silence
in which I sit
           a silence of the mind
in which only words
           are heard only breath
in silent rhythms
           A would-be sonneteer
I lack discipline
           have only 
the abundance of an idle brain
          to offer

Soon daffodils and wild hares
           diving beneath hedgerows
and counting the days
           until love returns
soon day will break
           and night will fall
and swathe me
           in perfect silence

John Lyons

Good fortune

Good fortune

The particulars of this day
           with yesterday’s wind and rain
now behind us and today a blue sky
           with a smattering of thin cloud
and for some reason I’m thinking
           of the approach of spring
followed by summer days
           and wondering where I will be
what shores I will be gazing upon
           or what number of swallows
will fill the air and whether
           good fortune
will finally
           come my way

It has taken me a lifetime
           to understand myself and I admit
there’s still plenty of work
           to be done on that score
not that I consider myself
           to be a suckered soul
the victim of adverse stars
           and imprinted tea leaves :
as long as there is light
           there is hope and as long
as in the night the lamp
           burns bright at your window

John Lyons