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


 

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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

The body politic

The body politic

It’s a marriage
         of sorts
sometimes the body
         nags at the mind
sometimes the mind
         feels obliged
to tear the body
         off a strip
but they get along
         they’ve been together
for sixty-five years
         grown used to each other’s
idiosyncracies and special needs

The body could do
         with a little more love
the mind with a little more
         discipline from the body
The mind says to the body
         pull your weight you oaf
The body says to the mind
         show a little respect
or I’ll dump you
         but it’s been good
and I’d hate to see them
         go their separate ways

John Lyons

A poem for the hell of it

A poem for the hell of it

A poem for the hell of it
         with nothing to say

no agenda no axe to grind
         just shooting the breeze
with a few words
         loitering without intent
counting the days till Easter
         five pigeons sitting in a tree
five fat plumed pods of cotton
         parrots out of their context
in the livery of accident
         and emergency dart across
my air space

As the dawn chorus strikes up
         I think after all these years
I’m beginning to recognise
         the tunes they sing
cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo
         there’s a message in there
somewhere but I refuse
         to strain my imagination
yesterday was better
         than the day before
and today will be better still
         and so it goes

I have no complaints :
         could she be more loving
could she be more fun
         could she be more tender
more full of the joys of spring ?
         I don’t think so

Simplicity sits on a stool
         and sighs « this is the life »
I’ve no complaints
         period

John Lyons

The unquiet heart

The unquiet heart

A world of moving energies
             —nothing is still
in this animated universe
             no thing :
just as the matter of my mind
             is restless and moves in a stream
sometimes of consciousness
             sometimes not
back and forth
             in time and place
so that I am with my thoughts
             wherever they may be
but never still

Stillness is an alien concept
             it simply does not exist
from birth the child hungers for play
             and the heart pines for love
for the movement
             of thought
word and deed
             the bodyliness of the mind

So too the salmon cavorts
             in the crystal waters
as it fights its way upstream
             to spawn and so soon to die
in the begetting of life

So too beneath the shifting moon
             the mind roams seeking out the light
the radiance of another being
             feeding not on shadows and tears
but on touch and gesture
             and the warmth
of naked flesh upon flesh
             the tight-lipped embrace
and arms that enclose
             muscles that contract
and the deathless leap
             into the depths
of an ecstasy that subsides
             in a diminishing tide of sighs

John Lyons


 

The rainbow within

The rainbow within

The rainbow is within you
         the full spectrum of life
: it is in your thoughts
         and in your words
in your every action
         you are your own wealth
your own aims and ambitions
         and your beauty
is the truth and honesty
         that you embody

Yes your skin is soft
         to the touch
and your dark eyes glisten
         with the eagerness to live
and to experience love
         in the moment
a hand held in defiance
         of more troubled years
Your mouth shapes
         gentle words
as your narrative unfolds
         this is who I have been
this is who I am
         this is who I hope to be
and you stake your claim
         in the world of possibility
prepared if need be
         to take the bit
between your teeth
         and when you kiss
when you gently press
         your lips against mine
I know that you are bestowing
         your seal of approval
and it thrills my heart
         and I thank you for it

John Lyons