Petals of snow

Frost on the windows   easy air to breathe
Down by the river gulls swooping swirling
in the bright sunshine  
                           My legs have carried
me all my life to places I never
imagined   Now   silently   age has crept
up on me  If I look to the east I
can see where the estuary opens
out into the empty sea   I have my own
winter’s tales to tell    times when my life
blew hot and cold    love on the horizon
the 3 ships that sailed by one Christmas day
petals of snow falling gently   settling
on the dry rose bushes—the beauty of
it  Silent promise
                    of all things to come

John Lyons


Pale flowers dry tears

Is there poetry outside of love I
wonder   knowing that somewhere yes
in the distance lips are pursed and tears
are running down her nostrils and the full
moon has passed into the clouds and all hope
has been lost    Like a subway train   the act
of love passes
                      and the flicker of lights
on 6th Avenue serves only to deep-
en the misery of self-awareness
The truth comes in several colours   you
take your pick but the consequences are
invariably the same    Pale flowers
because the day is long and so much space
to fill with words and silence
                                         and dry tears

John Lyons

And Sirens sang. . .

Springshine on a rainsome day   time to break
bread and habits between clouds and flowers
Delicate ephemeral sky-blue of
descending evening     tears all dry now
Words behave yourselves ! 
                            Stand to attention !
If it can be done     if it can be thought
She loved distance and sand and wind to dry
her golden hair and she swooned in soft dreams
spoke nouns and adjectives shaped in the pain
of her ancestors     Her white cotton dress
her broad-brimmed hat completed her disguise
as she strode in and out of love    in Nice
where Oedipus tossed stones into the sea
and Sirens sang
                for their sordid supper

John Lyons

A beautiful beam of light


Tell me Alice, what is the difference
between right away and a pearl? A pearl
is milk white and right away is at once:
this is a good explanation indeed
Happily very happily Alice
embroidered linens and Gertrude threaded
strands of silken words
                      through page after page
Neither woman felt interdiminished
For Guillaume Apollinaire crystal tears
were shed. Pin ware, fancy teeth, stout caesar.
Wet syllables in the rue de Fleurus
Picasso painted sobs for the deceased,
Alice pickled plums while Gertrude admired
a beautiful beam
                  of light in the room

John Lyons

Revised version

Solace – Molly Rosenberg




WB dominated my thoughts,
His ‘Bee loud glade‘
Buzzed through my mind,
Bringing such longing ,
To go far away to that
Special place.


WB still dominating my thoughts,
Another century indeed,
Now I have my own,
‘Bee loud glade’

No plane, no car, no sea to sail,
Just an open door to,
A special place,
Where the bees buzz,
In the lavender,
Landing on the Lilly pads,
In the cool greenness,
They sate their thirst.

We truly have had our
Wings clipped,
Our horizons
The world holds
Its breath,
Yet there is a
Solace and a
Quenching to be had,
If only we can find
Our own ‘Bee loud glade.

Molly Rosenberg

Molly’s beautiful lyric is inspired by W B Yeats’

Pablo Neruda – Sonnet 44


You’ll be aware that I do and don’t love you
since there are two modes to life,
the word is a wing of silence,
and there’s a cold side to fire.

I love you in beginning to love you
to reengage in what is infinite
and so as never to stop loving you:
that’s why I still don’t love you.

I do and don’t love you as though I held
in my hands the keys to happiness
and an uncertain fate of unhappiness.

My love has two lives with which to love you,
that’s why I do love you when I don’t
and why I do love you when I do too.

Pablo Neruda

From One Hundred Love Sonnets

Translation by John Lyons

In praise of petunias


The violet, white and pink flowers
of the petunia      a hardy plant from
     the tobacco species

The roots of its name derive
from the tupi-guarani
language of Brazil in which
     pety signifies tobacco

It reached Europe
in the mid-16th century
whence petun an old
     French word for tobacco

Its unassuming beauty
rises up through the light
into the air  :  its powerful
scent was believed
     to ward off evil spirits

Though petunia flowers are
symbols of anger and resentment
they are also a symbol of comfort
     and feeling good with someone

John Lyons


The Tower

                  St Leonard’s Tower, West Malling

The Tower

Hot sun

Tinging the grey rag-stone

With gold.

Standing proud against,

A blue, blue

Perfect sky.

The sound of thrushes

In the surrounding parched trees,

Two buzzards wheel overhead.

Ancient stones

Laid down long ago,

By men from history

Gundulph or Odo of Bayeaux,

The detail is lost,

In the realms of time.

Casting its shadow

Over the valley

Of long lost hop fields,

And orchards now depleted

Of their succulent fruit.

Molly Rosenberg

For other poems by Molly Rosenberg search “Molly”

Love that sets the path

Light that reaches back
to the origin of light
the original species
of light from which
all emanates

Has time ever stood still ?
Has movement ever ceased ?
The universe that expands
within our minds
within our hearts
all energy recycled
all growth turned
to advantage

So too love
in all its leisure
and our internal life
governed by purpose
and by attraction
by what we call desire
the passion that fires up
the humbled penitent soul
to action

Love that reaches back
into all our yesterdays
Love that sets the path
for all our days to come

John Lyons