The president

The president

They say that
           the president likes to get drunk
they say that
           he was educated abroad
they say that
           his habits are from abroad
they say that
           his tastes are from abroad
and they say that
           the president likes to get drunk

He appears on tv
           glassy eyes that fail to focus
anywhere, on anyone
           The camera does not dwell
long enough for us to realize
           if his hands are trembling
if his lips are slobbering
           rancid drooling drips :
but
           his glassy eyes
fail to notice anything
           fail to notice anyone
and the moment we hear his words
           we realize
why it is
           -absolutely-
that the president
           likes to get drunk

John Lyons

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Ulysses and the revisitation

Ulysses and the revisitation

His mind awash with words
           he knew not whence they came
other words
           or others’ words
he knew not
           lapping over him
the pebbles and sand
           white foam
filtering through
           down
under
           and all the years
and all the voices
           heard not in a void
but within a pained
            illuminated word silence
salad days
           promise of youth
great expectations
           and the waters roaring
off the forty-foot
           on a cold December
skies grey
           no bathers that day
his father shivering
           climbed the tower
and gazed out
           the snotgreen sea
read as a timeless book
           mournful
gulls wheeling in the wind
           never again to return
to be sure and knowing
            only what he wanted to do
without doubt
           the lingering kiss
under the volcano
           if only

John Lyons

 

Words in time

Words in time

Poetry that grows
out of deep need
words taken to shape lines
To inflect significance
butterfly-words
The wings of which
ripple on the summer air
To ascribe some meaning
to this thing we call life
the four corners
filled with words
all of which are
as a second creation
reaffirming the first
Before the word
there was the unvoiced void
a soul-silence
that feared the roar
of lions and other beasts
those creatures
who in the hunting
stole the light away
words then
that sprang up
in the cranial cavity
and were breathed
through the open mouth
sibilant syllables
fed by the desire
to touch others
with the mind
to share the delights
of consciousness
around an open fire
quantity and quality
ardent language that cuts
through the mist
that levels the earth
and along with the birth
of the mind the creation
of devils and angels
and a heaven out of hell
words with which to warm
the wayward heart

John Lyons

All that time brings 

All that time brings 

The simplifications
      that come with time
the slow build
      of experience
of knowledge
      the remembrance
together with the forgiving
      and the forgetting
after all
      life is too short
or too long depending
      on the perspective

In time
      the frenzy abates
the struggle
      to make one’s way
less intense
      the hot head cools
there is room for love
      with all its gentle acts
of affection from sunrise
      to sunset

John Lyons

The business of life

The business of life

Undone
this business of life
this day to day
this thirsting
for more knowledge
for greater understanding
this desire to be loved
and to love
ever more deeply
each action held
up to the light
each thought
each word
under scrutiny
the business of living
of going out into the world
making sense of it
where sense is to be found
nothing complete
all in transit
in transition
everything to play for
still

John Lyons

The dissolution of bones

The dissolution of bones

Who is to say
           that a poem that grows
in the mind
           is an abstract creation
if indeed that word
           has any meaning
and abstracted from what
           one might ask

Does the rose not grow
           in its mineral bed
secretly building the beauty
           of its texture and colour
until ready to present itself
           in all its glory

A congery of particles
           in the smallest branch / plant
fern and roots that nervously
           delve into the depths of the earth
and all things prosper in the warmth
           and retreat or die in the dead of winter

Experience isolated and observed
           picked over and measured
and raised in words that are
           as pincers in the scientific cage
Othello’s handkerchief a specimen
           examined in the Shakespearean frame
Duncan lives on but for a perverse prayer
           Caesar dies in the cold doing of the deed

Flakes of snow alight
           on an impressionist canvas
reality revealed in oils
           thinned with turpentine
and in every gesture
           a remembrance of the destiny
of flesh and blood
           the hue and cry of complaint
in the wilderness and love
           the single solitary comfort

John Lyons