Norwalk in the Fall

Norwalk in the Fall

Years that come and go
          —through Harlem
on a train out to Norwalk
           in the late Fall of 1976
the lakes brimming with sunlight
           the trees decked
in richly variegated
           copper tones
the air dry and cool
           unbreathed

Chicago singing on the radio
           If you leave me now
met by my father’s second cousin
           her hair the deep rust
of autumn leaves
           her house in a clearing
in the forest
           her voice soft in the silence
my heart aching
           for a lost love

John Lyons

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Love’s dying flame

Love’s dying flame

In the drift of days
           in the swirl
of autumn leaves
           I tabulate her absence

Smoke rises
           into the pale September sky
and butterflies in their final hours
           coast on the gentle flow of air

Love once shaped our lives
           and our bodies
burned with desire
           but time has reduced us
to memories
           of better times

The butterflies
           will return in spring
when we will rekindle
           love’s dying flame

John Lyons


Revised

Love is what it is

Love is what it is

It is what it is
           love that is
a universe
           to which not a jot
can be added
           or taken away

Budapest Paris
           Venice Chartres
these were stellar
           moments that will
illuminate my life
           forever

Just as we left a trail
           with traces of love
wherever we passed
           through the streets
of London

This quantum love
           is what it is
it cannot be denied
           it cannot be erased
it cannot be undermined
           or usurped
it is as though it had
           a life of its own
and that in its energy
           and its mass
it will run on for all eternity
           and it will

For my part I forget nothing
           I have forgotten nothing
her hair her eyes
           her lips her subtle smile
embedded in the depths of my blood
           in my altered DNA

and whether in the days and months
           and the years to come
we are side by side
           or far apart and
whether we’re talking still
           or have been engulfed
by silence
           it is as it is
and as it always was
           and as it always will be

John Lyons


Revised

Autumnal love

Autumnal love

Autumnal love
           that which never dies
which weathers the winds
           the harsh storms
the hail and snow
           but always comes through

How brittle
           these autumn leaves
you can hear them
           crackle under foot
the chlorophyll spent
           the epidermis
once green and supple
           turned to rust
now flaking and soon
           to be lost in the dust

But lovers
           though their skin ages
and their hair turns
           grey and brittle
have nothing to fear
           from time : the spirit
is immortal
           and the glow of passion
in their eyes
           and in their hearts
is as everlasting
           as love

John Lyons


Corrected text

Autumnal feast

Autumnal feast

Small birds
           blue tits finches and sparrows
on a frenzy of feeding
           devouring the orange berries
so abundant on the bushes
           at this time of year

They come in their twos and threes
           their light weight
barely bending the branches
           and they peck at the fruit
as though there was no tomorrow
           and for them perhaps there is none

John Lyons


Revised

The mess of love

daub
Daub on yellow cadmium, John Lyons (30 x 30 oil on canvas)

The mess of love

The under-painting
           was more complex
more contrived
           had more definable colours
occupied the whole
           of the canvas

What’s presented here
           is a stripped back version
paint removed
           by the application of turpentine
and a rub with a rag
           so that the initial gestures
of the first intentions
           are not shrouded by excess

Here the daub
           is actually a disapplication
to leave virtually nothing
           but the bare bones
It’s a messy canvas
           because life is messy
Cadmium yellow
           is the colour of love
and love as we all know
           is messy too

John Lyons

Autumnal ode

palette portrait 2
Portrait, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Autumnal ode

September rain
           the pavements
strewn with leaves
           a dampness
that reeks of decay
           the dwindling light
of a year winding down
           after a long hot summer

And yet there is a comfort
           in these relentless cycles
all life and death
           in a nutshell
the lush green fields
           the swollen rivers
the long trails of birds
           flying south
while the rest of us
           batten down the hatches

And she is constantly
           in my mind
her hair the rich colour
           of autumn
her eyes too
           the beauty that lies
beneath the pale skin
           the love
that makes life
           worth living

John Lyons