Flowers

Flowers

The bouquet that you brought me
the beautiful tulips and sunflowers

have wilted and collapsed
scattering a fine dusting of pollen

over the table where they stood
: the water in the crystal vase

has turned cloudy
the stems are now nothing more

than a spineless mush
The soft velvet petals

curled and wrinkled with age
have entirely lost their allure

They were a gesture in a moment
for a moment that could not last

and yet in time beyond time
our affections are untouched

and the kiss that they inspired
will outlive the driest dust

John Lyons

The garden

The garden

Days of lavender
         a new mown lawn
the bushes trimmed
         the earth turned in the flower beds
the peach tree heavy with fruit
         so too the pear and the bramley :
the centerpiece a bed of roses
         white and red and yellow petals
adoring the sun that made them

He sits on a wooden bench
         smoking a pipe
the smoke curling up
         above his head
: in silence he sits
         and admires his handiwork
A dragonfly darts back and forth
         over the surface of the pond
the constant chirrup of birds
         goes unheard lost as he is
in his thoughts and in his feelings

Where does love begin
         where does it end ?
The nurture of nature too
         is an act of love
a garden made of and with love
         love that is our Eden
our paradise

John Lyons

Dawn chorus

Dawn chorus

Sometimes
         although we have the words
the words are not enough
          Enough words
but they are not enough
         for all we want to say
to express all we feel
         all we hope for the future
the intensity
         of what we are living
in the moment
         the joy

there is time enough for words
         when words are enough
but for the moment
         they are not

John Lyons

Wake-up call

Wake-up call

The west wind has nagged
         through the night
it has howled and whined
         and whipped the rain
into a frenzy
         subsiding now and then
only to return with a vengeance

The ferocious March wind
         that rattles doors
and rocks fences
         that pores over structures
searching for looseness
         for the slightest imperfection
for whatever may be torn
         from its bed and thrown
down to the ground

The bravado of rain and wind
         a rule unto itself
defiant and disdainful
         of all who sleep
a loud mouthy leveller
         it has uttered its call
throughout the dark night
         while the moon stood by
and the earth was unmoved

And yet it means nothing
         it is a process that will pass
a depression that will lift
         and the lovers that it wakes
in the early hours
         listen a while before turning
on their sides and dismissing
         its empty bluster with a kiss

John Lyons

Second attempt

Second attempt

A watery moon
         seen through
the sultry eyes
         of a midnight
awash with
         dissolved light

All is bound to fade
         life being neither here
nor there
         and yet at hand
in my hand and by my side
         the moment
that passes unendingly
         between us
time rescued
         from the march of time
in the love we make

The tulip and the rose
         blooms of the self-defined
gold standard
         I am who I am
and in my kiss
         in my embrace
in my body
         merged with yours
I define my love
         that love that is
the subterfuge
         outwitting the dust
that love seen in your eyes
         heard in the whisper
on your lips
         felt in the breath
shared between you and I
          passing from lung to lung
felt too in the deep
         shudder of ecstasy

John Lyons


 

Meditation

Meditation

A watery moon seen through
         the eyes of midnight
as though dissolved
         as though all light
is bound to fade
         as though all life
is neither here nor there
         and yet I know that true life
is here by my side
         in my hand
in the moment
         that passes between us
in what we rescue
         from the march of time
in what love we make

The tulip and the rose
         have their standard
their self-defining
         quintessence : so too
there is a gold standard
         to the kiss
to the embrace
         to the bodies that merge
into one
         a definition that states
that love is the one thing
         that escapes the dust
I see it in your eyes
         I hear it on your lips
I feel it in the breath we share
         and I believe

John Lyons

Reveille

Reveille

Wake at sunrise
breathe in

a full lungful
look at her

lying there
beside you

listen to her breathing
admire her beauty

and with gentle
fingertips

brush her hair
to one side

and kiss her
and give thanks

John Lyons

Siblings

Siblings

A night stroll by the Thames
         the dark waters
moving silently
         under the rain
no visible moon

We have grown old
         untouched by age
altered only by our knowledge
         and by the love we have known
and the love we as children
         shared

Our memories are
         comparative fictions—
were those the years
         were those our parents
were these the events
         worth remembering ?

The times of suffering
         and the time it took
to deal with the past
         and to heal
An understanding
         at times at odds
but an affection rescued
         from the debris
from the this and that
         of incomprehension :
but that we were
         for so long estranged
and have now
         renewed our bond
is a matter of celebration
         and a love worth living

John Lyons


 

Maquette

calder
Alexander Calder, Big Red (1959)

The words wired together below were inspired by a visit to the irresistible Alexander Calder exhibition at the Tate Modern which runs until 3 April 2016. 

Maquette

These evocative geometric shapes
     with rounded edges
some large and small leaves
     some artist’s palettes
all wired together
     so that they hang
in perfect equilibrium
      : the movements are gentle
a glide more than a dance
     though they turn
around each other like dancers
     or lovers locked into
patterns of paths
     lovers driven
by the same premise
     guided
by the same promise

Love is the framework
     that binds and liberates
the third dimension
     that completes the trinity
along with beauty and truth
     for a purpose
Permanent adjustment
     to the shifting shadows of time
to the essential choreographies
     of the day and the night
It is kinetic colour
     essential and minimalist
a sun and a moon encapsulating
    the music of the spheres

In love all things are relative
     a constant to-and-fro
between energy and mass
     motor and motive
hand-held lip-locked
     hair in the wind
eyes awash with emotion
     the flutter of a heartbeat
no-nonsense art
     nothing overly complex
but in your face
     possibility above probability
self-perpetuating
     renovation and replenishment

And the hierarchies
     are so simple

either you have it
     or you don’t—
the bones know
     ask the bones

John Lyons

A poem going nowhere

A poem going nowhere

We who are descended
     from the oldest stars
are a law unto ourselves
      : shadowless
we disown the symmetries
     of our days to embrace
the faultless perfection
     of the rose
the effortless harmonies
     of the nightingale’s song
we scorn those
     who have grown gaunt
with the sins of ambition
     whose lovelessness
renders them unfit for burial
     in the hallowed earth
We who grew
     beneath soot and steam
reject the slaughter of hours
     the merciless murder of flowers
the corruption of innocence
     the treacherous kiss of agony
beneath the ticking towers

Love sweeps up
     through every fibre
of her being
     her soul parcelled out
in the soft caress of her hand
     eyes ablaze
she utters undying words
     and her body sways
as her golden tresses
     coil and uncoil in the vortex
Unblemished
     she breathes a fresh pulse
into the day
     A Lazarus along the promenade
salutes her discerning beauty
     and white gulls dip their wings
in deference to her grace

John Lyons