Ancient woodland

Ancient woodland

The humble bluebells are out in force
         in the ancient woodlands by Shooters Hill
along with primrose and lesser celandine
         wood anemone and yellow rattle and violets
and the delicate umbels of bear garlic

Underfoot the ground is soft
         from the covering of leaf litter
and as the sun rises a strong
         dank smell hangs in the air
amid the dense shadows

Hazel and beech and alder
         and oak laden with acorns
and here and there
         how the mighty have fallen
trunks decomposing
         the wood damp or dry as dust
covered in mould and fungi
         and lichen and overrun by ivy

Here is a hotbed of life and death
         teeming with centipede and spider
and all manner of creature
         each caught up in its own cycle
now feeding now nutrient
         but free – mercifully free –
from the arbitrary hand
         of human intervention

Here under the dense canopy
         each species has its origin
here all reach for the light
         here the very fittest survive
if only a little longer
         here all die and are reborn
here is a lesson for us all

John Lyons


 

A Saturday soliloquy

A Saturday soliloquy

Who writes of the unfurling
         of fresh green leaves
of cherry blossom
         of daffodils and tulips
arrayed in all their glory
         writes of the force of life
that runs through nature
         and of the elemental energy
that drives our world
         through its cycles
of loss and abundance
         of growth and decay
of moments won and lost
         of hope and all its challenges
the warmth of flesh upon flesh
         and the coldness of the boneyard

Process
         the joining of dots
the ABC of life
         the synthesis of light
the triggers of desire
         one body that longs for another
birth and creation
         the genesis of words :
in the beginning the word
         the coupling of words
the procreation of words
         the notation of sentiments
of feelings that demand expression
         because we are nothing
without our words
         we are empty gestures
unless clothed
         in meaningful sounds
our silences – our very silences –
         teem with unspoken words

Into the intimacy
         of your inner ear
I will pour my words of love – my love – 
          as I stroke your hair
and I will raise
         a monument of affection
to your gentle beauty
         that freshly unfolds before me
I will drive my whispered words
         deep into your heart
my arms tight around you
         and not a single sigh
will escape
         my ardent attention

John Lyons

The snares of love

The snares of love

These are the snares of love
         the all-knowing eyes
those deep brown pools of light
         the lusciously soft red lips
that flicker and curl
         with every enticing smile
that quiver and purr with emotion
         the tongue darting back and forth
the teeth against which the tongue
         dashes time and time again
shaping the sweet sounds of love
         the elegant ears that peep
from beneath the flowing strands
         of her honeyed hair
the long white neck upon which
         her balletic beauty is poised
the voluptuous breasts
         the curve of her hips
the sturdy legs upon which
         she strides through her world
the cut and thrust of her hands
         that punctuate all the passion
she feels : her self
         nothing more nothing less

John Lyons

Musing on school days

Musing on school days

This is the great conundrum
         that we are cinders
ash and dust
         from a paradise of stars

We take comfort from beauty
         but beauty passes
just as rose petals fade :
         age erupts on the skin
the muscles lose their tone
         sight grows dim
and though we struggle
         the slope slips downwards
always and away
         to the wild open sea

An old man in a tattered coat
         carries a sturdy ash cane
totters past the old schoolroom
         where first lessons were learnt
—chalk on slate
         and raffia mats

Young hearts and minds
         now fill the space
their euphoria echoes
         through the air
and in the playgrounds
         their hop and skip proclaims
the innnocent assumption
         that they will live for ever

In my hand I have held
         sharp fragments of flint
and wondered at the lives of those
         who shaped these tools
The hardness of that stone
         and the softness of love
immutable stone in the warm hand
         of enduring love

John Lyons


 

School days

School days

This is the great mystery
         that we are cinders ash dust
We take comfort from beauty
         but beauty passes :
just as the rose fades
         the skin shows its age
the muscles grow slack
         the eyes gradually lose focus
and no matter how much we struggle
         the slope is always downwards
a river that runs to the sea

An old man in a tattered coat
         carrying an ash cane passes by
the old schoolroom
         where first lessons were learnt
chalk on slate
         and raffia mats

Young hearts and minds
         now fill the space
their lively chatter echoes
         through the air
and in the playgrounds
         their hop and skip
proclaims the innnocent assumption
         that they will live for ever

In my hand I have held
         sharp fragments of flint
and wondered at the lives
         of those who shaped them
The hardness of that stone
         and the softness of love
immutable stone in the warm hand
         of enduring love

John Lyons


 

Midnight prowl

Midnight prowl

Under a bright moon the streets
         are bathed in mystery
A fox ambles down the road
         heading for the railway
but there are no trains at this hour
         The fox sees me and begins to run
it darts across the bridge
         to the other side of the tracks
and by the time I get there
         it has vanished into the crisp air

The stars follow me home
         they have been there all my life
and they mean so much to me
         but they have not been decisive
I make the decisions round here
         just as I make the mistakes
and I get some things right

I think of her and the smile
         she brought into my life
barely two months ago
          She has turned my world
upside down and filled it
         with love : nothing will ever
be the same again
         nothing need ever
be the same again

John Lyons

While you sleep

While you sleep

My words are drawn to you
         helplessly hopelessly
drawn to you :
         my words form clusters
around you as you lie there
         sleeping perhaps dreaming

My words want to be
         with your fine hair spread
upon the pillow
         my words want to cling
to your soft pouting lips
         close to the sibilance
of your breath

My words want to rise and fall
         along with your breasts
to stretch the length
         of your legs
to curl around you
         hug you to their heart
and rest alongside you
         until you wake

John Lyons

Out of Emerson

 

Out of Emerson

Poetry repairs the decay of things
: the filaments of the flower

stand proud for all time
in the words of the poem

which creates a new self
standing apart from the poet

a ripeness of thought and feeling
detached and fearless and sleepless

and deathless that becomes fixed
in the heart of the reader

a clamorous song with a melody
that steeply ascends and leaps

in rough odes or seamless sonnets
that pierce into the ageless infinite

John Lyons

Nothing fades

Nothing fades

Nothing fades like flowers
nothing lives like love

so the luscious white lilies
have withered and dried

after a week in which they lived
their full-funnelled glory

The sag and droop of age
the tissues wrinkled

the leaves that have begun
to detach and litter

the base of the vase :
the purest of beauties

has had its day of universal
admiration and with a sigh

must now be discarded
its remains bundled

sadly out of sight
but love will survive

this minor tragedy
love will survive

there is no comparison
none at all

John Lyons

Revisiting Friday night

Revisiting Friday night

Friday night colour
         of companionship and love
congregations at bars and restaurants
         down by the riverside
buzz of their conversation
         flowing out into the cool air
fervent relaxation
         an end to the arduous week

City lights shimmer
         on the river surface
the Tower at Tower Bridge
         beautifully beheld
If not made for love
         what is life’s purpose ?
To stroll hand in hand
         to pause to kiss
to love your life away

To be a destination
         arms into which you hurry
at the end of the day
         A definition—names
destined to be coupled
         lives led in common
a rhythm shared
         fed with words that
flow back and forth
         a deep well of emotion
a heartfelt longing
         for the simplicity
for love never to end
         to be the making of them
for all time

John Lyons