Perhaps

Perhaps

Perhaps it will be spring today
perhaps the sky will be blue

and the breeze gentle if at all
Perhaps I’ll see the first butterfly

of the year flitting from flower
to flower or the first bee clinging

to the petals of a bright red rose
Perhaps the sun will raise

a sweat on my forehead
or on my far too pale forearms

now bared to the elements
Perhaps I’ll hear the rowdy

laughter of wild children playing
or the sound of mowers

mowing neighbourly lawns
and maybe in the early afternoon

the familiar tang of badly charred
meat will drift through the balm

and whet my appetite for a life
that just isn’t the same without her

John Lyons

Sculpture

garden
Henry Moore

Sculpture

Beauty
in stone or metal
or wood or paper
bronze by gold
just as in skin
capturing
a quality of time
of space
of weight
and of balance
thrusting rhythms
with energies
that push outwards
that overcome fatigue
failure and collapse
so as to dynamically
unfold
in spacious time
and thus grow
exponentially
in the mind
Postures
rich in suggestion
that excite curiosity
and so well executed
that a rich dialogue
is engaged
thereby animating
the apparently
absurdly
inanimate

John Lyons

There is a sea

There is a sea

There is a sea
         an ocean between us
air miles and nautical miles
         it all adds up to distance
You walk along the shore
         look out across the calm waves
and I am entirely landlocked

Your night falls
         slowly simply
you are tired
         and you need your rest
perhaps there is a drizzle
         though here we had sleet
people huddled in their coats
         tied scarves around their necks
wondered at the lack of spring
         in springtime

At daybreak
         you will look out
across a deserted beach
         and in the silence
you will hear the gulls
         their timeless chatter
such a comfort to you
         You will think of me
and I will think of you
         and you will think
of all the necessary tasks
         you need to complete
before you can return

Yes there is distance
         but it is only physical
emotionally we sleep
         beneath the same stars :
the trace of your body
         upon mine of mine
upon yours is indelible
         and soon you will be home

John Lyons


 

Silence

Silence

Listen in silence
to the beating
of your heart
to the purr
of your breath
to your hands
as they brush
together
or your thighs

Listen in silence
to the creaking
of the wooden seat
upon which you sit
and in the silence
recall
the last kiss
you gave
the last loving word
you spoke
your last gesture
of generosity

John Lyons

Recollections

Recollections

Bring me
        the wild flowers that bloomed in my childhood
                the daisy and the dandelion :
        bring me the thrush and sparrow that sang
                the songs of my infancy

Bring me
        the fallow fields in which sombre
                cattle grazed and where between
        cow pats rank with steam we gathered
                mushrooms and so breakfasted away

our Sundays
        along with eggs and bacon and the juice
                of summer ripe tomatoes      Bring me those
        careless dreams which drifted in on subtle rays
                of sunshine— the smell of woodbine and

crushed grass
        Bring me those days which turned so soon
                to night, those nights which turned
        so soon to years— those years that are
                the very dust of all our memories

John Lyons

Eternal beauty

Eternal beauty

Who will find a way through this silence
         to the word to the warm breath
at the centre of this labyrinth of tears
         and tribulations ?

Who will count the sparrows with
         moving lips or number the budding
flowers on the English rose
         as they open to embrace the light ?

There is no destiny other
         than that shaped in the words
we act out
         in the narratives we carve
from life

Love is an address of the heart
         a shifting domicile of tenderness
in which our most precious words
         are guarded
a tabernacle of the soul
         venerated in our daily gestures

There is one altar
         the body upon which
our blood is partnered
         skin and bone bound by muscles
that coalesce rhythmically

likewise the passing seasons
         that bind us to time
and in which we must learn
         to extemporize / to improvise
humbled by the sparrow
         by the marigolds that adorn
the fields

Beauty is breath returned
         a kiss peppered with passion
a shiver down the spine
         a spasm of eternity made flesh

John Lyons

Sweet combustions

Sweet combustions

The ebb and flow of the days
              within the blind crucible
of endless space where so much
              pointless process prevails

the fume of fame
              of empty ambition
of energies expended
              on the trivia
of a star-glittered existence

Her lips beckon me
              she takes me into her arms
I see myself mirrored in her eyes
              flesh caresses flesh
soft-whispered words
              are exchanged
and the planets are realigned
              Wonderment as we explore
the labyrinths of our being
              the truths of our breath
the honesty of the passions
              folded within our breasts
a belfry of blood
              raised in celebration

time breaks over us
              beats at the lucid silence
in which we lie shrouded
              and all the earth shudders
rocks and stone and trees
              are in this moment
meaningless— so too
              the mighty river that sweeps
under the bridge
              unacknowledged
a prisoner to its own destiny

such is the power
              of love’s amaze
that soars above
              the old persuasions
my hand in hers
              as we scale the skies

John Lyons

Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple

As a child
         in the woods and parks
the games we played
         the endless hours
and such a simple life
         hunting for chestnuts
or mushrooms in the early
         morning dew :
cycling down to Sevenoaks
         cakes for a penny
at the end of the day
         the sun on our faces
and never a care
         in the world

Up at the crack of dawn
         energies unabated
earth to be turned
         plants to be lifted
trees to be pruned
         tomatoes to be watered
grass to be cut
         and never a care
in the world

John Lyons

An answer to some questions

An answer to some questions

What dream came with you
         what dream lies before you
what words have paved
         your path through the years
what promises made
         what promises unbroken
what flowers bestowed
         and which ones withheld
what questions answered
         and which ones remain
Will love live at last
         forever and a day

Lives written
         not in the stars
but in the intimacy
         of the moment
Her hair her lips her eyes
         the air displaced by her beauty
her bold stride through the day
         the decision within her words
her gestures that dispense
         hope and consolation and love
life-affirmative
         to the very core

What of the rose ?
         The rose withers and dies
its beauty is brief
         and it leaves no trace
Others hold the key
         to lasting beauty
others the key to truth

She lives in the moment
         that transcends the moment
little is left to be desired
         other than to be
her companion

John Lyons

The brigantine

Brigantine

The brigantine

She is wise as she is beautiful
         a level-headed beauty
to turn men’s heads
         and history upon her heels
: disparate fragments
         that have accreted to her
though she has learned
         above all else
to value focus – But what is it
         that she hopes to achieve ?

Yes – all is measure
         trochee and spondee
dactyl and anapest
         iambus more than any
To be or not ?
         Now or not, so to speak ?

Her father laid bricks
         one upon another
to cement a life
         to construct a clay niche
on the shores of New Jersey
         Atlantic County
where the sea sometime rages
         and tears at the land
clawing back what was once
         its undisputed dominion

A brigantine once set forth
         on the ungodly ocean
proud masts and wide sails
         to brave the white foam
to flee from the breakers
         to transform the treachery
of the storm
         into destiny and distance

Measurement
         in time and space—
years lived in the shade
         of an unwieldy sword
bombarded by fractured starlight
         whence they came
to a place of safety

Dignity from fabrics
         made to measure
assembled and sewn
         with needle and thread
pride in the flotsam jetsam
         of flimsy summer dresses
and dances in long braids of hair
         the fine colour of quartz

It is enough to live
         among ordinary men and women
to aspire to humility
         to wear the badge of modesty
and to tread the musical path
         measurement being
a sinuous melodic journey
         in space and in time

A mind that can contain
         the rich proportions of harmony
that can turn inert steel and stone
         into warm breath and instill words
with the pulse of eternity—
         laws of creation that outflank
the very laws of creation
         Who determines
the sparrow’s stature
         or whoever dreamed
the soft-fleshed pleats
         of the unfolding rose ?
Thoughts that might live forever
         words perfectly preserved
within a hoard of words
         Love teaches love
love endows the world
         with desire and tender possession
and poetry frees us from the banality
         of the immoderately mundane
from the downbeat humdrum
         of material mummification

Life is a fluted instrument
         to be played upon
it begs improvisation
         and joyous innovation
it abhors the safety of sainted replication
         and fields of dainty daffodils
in the grounds of stately homes
         Life opts for the wild side
for the beauteous being
         that will not be reproved
She who has a mind of her own
         whose body shapes a compendium
of pleasurable emotions
         with a soul of intelligence that flies
an independent articulate flag
         Death and failure
are all in the mind
         : the air trembles at her beauty
that tugs at the core
         of all who behold her

Though my words
         may seem extravagant
I merely inform a truth—
         so much a rarity
in this misbegotten world of confusion
         indeed I could go on
and on and on
         but today I simply won’t

John Lyons