Oxford days

Magdalen College

Oxford days

What are years
       and days and hours
as you stroll hand-in-hand
       through the streets of Oxford
on a late November Sunday ?
       What is history
and education and knowledge
       and where will it all end ?
Humanity is in the earth
       and it rises and falls
with the generations
       in the spice of summer
and the shiver of winter
       in the shimmer of ice
in the gutter

She of the stars
       and he of the stars both
washed up from Ireland
       both longing
for the red ripeness of love
       Rose and wisteria
and hydrangea in the quad
       in Magdalen College
and tight tiny buds
       already formed on many
of the trees and bushes
       in Addison’s Walk
Nature is conserving
       it resources
silently rearming
       in preparation
for the spring offensive
       when explosions
of leaf and flower
       will reassert its authority
over the territory

We are self-made
       and out of the earth
and out of love
of heavenly bodies
       who admire the deer
as they carelessly
       stare back at us
species under the same spell
       of carbon and oxygen

And time —
       what of time
in the grand scheme ?
        Time is the quarry of passion
and dust is the only secret

John Lyons



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