A walk in the park

A walk in the park

That we live in kindred spheres
         or shall we say parallel worlds
the world of beauty in diversity
          Nature pulling out all the stops
to impress us with its strength
         and its intrinsic delicacy
This world teems with survivors
         of every species
with plants and animals and birds
         that refuse to lie down
and give up the ghost :
         the parrots high up in the beech
removed from their native
         environment screech
above the sonorous cacophony
         to make themselves heard
to and fro they dart
         spreading the gorgeous plumes
of their tail feathers in flight
         kings of the pile
commanders of an air space
         they have made their own

The grass is soft under foot
         and lurking in the distance
moving stealthily behind bushes
         the glimpse of a fox
taking in the lie of the land
         a head count of the geese
and the ducks
         and their tiny fledglings
on the banks of the river
         the fox nursing its appetite
biding its time
         which we know will come soon
under the cover of dark

This is a cohesive radiant
         wilderness illuminated
by sharp blades of light
         drenched in shadows by night
when subtly the tables are turned
         and the gentle game is changed
The patient disposition
         of days and nights
in which the maple weaves
         its red loom and the red rose
silently amasses all the minerals
         it requires to send forth its bloom

John Lyons


when finally we go to sleep to sleep

when finally
we go to sleep to sleep

when finally
         we go to sleep to sleep
we will know
         that we have grown old
we will shudder
         as the snow
melts from branches
         and bury ourselves
beneath warm blankets
         to bide our time

when finally
         we go to sleep to sleep
we will know
         that some dreams
can be spent
         once and for all
and may never return
         we will remember then
the days and nights
         when nakedness
signified a constellation
         of delights
and a consummation
         of every caprice

when finally
         we go to sleep to sleep
we will regret nothing
         not a sparrow not a starling
not a rose nor the icy scent
         of lavender
on fresh laundered sheets
         having had the thrill
of our fill
         our fill
of the thrill

when finally
         we go to sleep to sleep
we will be content
         that we gave love our all
that we covered every base
         that not a single rosebud
was left unculled
         not a single bale
remained unmade
         and not a single kiss
went astray

John Lyons

On just such a day

On just such a day

So the rain fell
         and the river rose
and ducks swam freely
         in the road

The sun that day
         was an afterthought
almost forgotten
         behind the dense cloud

A young child
         in a pushchair
waved his arms for joy
         when he saw the ducks

There was lilac blossom
         in the gardens
I spotted a red-breasted robin
         scavenging for food

and across the river
         I could see the park
with its monument
         to those who fell

in Spain in defence
         of the Republic :
so many memorials
         to so many fallen

in so many wars
         That night the moon
shone full – exemplary
         in the black sky littered

with its tiny pinpricks
         of silver starlight
and the wind changed
         blew up from the south

Anything might happen
         -or so I thought- in this world
where so often the easiest lessons
         are so hard to learn

John Lyons

Shaping the calculated chaos

Whatever else it is, poetry is a work of art, emphasis on the word work. The poem below is a reworked version of the poem posted earlier this morning. I have said before that all these poems I post are part of a work in progress, they are all work that will be reworked into a larger scheme which will also take some work if it is to work as a poem. Poetry is a work of work in which the tools of the writer are words and feelings and experience and observation and readings from the cultural context which includes the work of other poets and of other writers: in other words, it is a discipline, which is work. The reading of poetry is also work, and I am grateful to all those readers who give their time to work through the poems I put up each day. Today’s reworking was inspired by the work of Louis Zukosky, the great American objectivist poet.

the calculated

At daybreak
warm sun
invites us
to rise
to reassemble
the world

Empty eyes
longing for
the countable
above love’s

Early hours
her blithe body
beneath sheets
her breath
her stillness
her silence

of memory
of time
and place

to feel
to focus
sweet briar
hedgerow elms
a dog barking
amid shrill birdsong
fresh-blown roses
washed in dew
by the frolicking

of children
off to school
and distance
from a train
and a plane

and then
there is

John Lyons

Daily devotion

Daily devotion

This thin spun life
         that hangs by a thread
that sleeps beneath
         the embroidered sky
that wakes to the cooing
         of the dove and the chirp
of countless sparrows

Each day is counted
         in the steps we take
fame is no plant
         that grows on mortal soil
ambition and the sun set
          Here we go hand in hand
here love lolls and lingers
         in the moment
as the vagrant dust
         settles all around

Life is rigged
         a story told
of a ragged rose with petals
         that in time decline
forgotten as they flutter
         in the felon wind
its pointlessness
         its saving grace

These are but words
from the breath of dust
         that pant against the hour
poor weanlings
         that must make
their stubborn way
         until they are heard
no more

John Lyons

Just imagine

Just imagine

Imagine a world
         without imagination
without words
         without the beauty
of melody and song
         without design
or representation

imagine a world stripped
         of eye-catching detail
of small gestures
         of finer points
the delicacy of lace
         the softness of silk
the creamy taste
         of an hollandaise sauce
on smoked salmon topped
         by two poached eggs
on buttered toast
         to add to your waist

imagine a cut and dried world
         in which all is repetition
in which nothing
         moves forward
and nothing recalls the past
         a humdrum world
in which Helen never lived
         and Troy never burned
a world in which
         every labour of love
was lost and no one kiss
         meant more than another

imagine the worst
         and be grateful
for whatever it is
         that you have

John Lyons



Sometimes a poem
         is just a thought
a single phrase
         or a single word
perhaps even a word
         that does not exist
or did not exist
         until it was invented
an essential word
that defines
let’s call it

John Lyons

Lost for words

Lost for words

Poetry is feeling sorry
         for itself
can hardly speak
         has a sore throat
is shivering
         should be in bed
or wrapped up
         if venturing out
needs to take it easy
let the cares of the world
         go over its head
the greed and corruption
         the self-serving politics
of trumped up politicians
         the contempt for the truth
and beggar my neighbour

Poetry could do with
         a shot in the arm
a pick-me-up
         a change of air
a dose of the warm south
         and a little love
and a little less talk
         and a lot more sleep

John Lyons

Over Doughty Street

Over Doughty Street

Over Doughty Street
         this white gull glides
its wide wings
a vehicle merely
         for its eyes that peer
in through the window
         where I’m sitting
at a desk on the fifth floor
         It veers in a wide arc
and returns this time
         closer to the window
its wings still not moving
         nor its beak
just its eyes
         that appear to look
deeper than ever
         into my soul

What can it possibly know
         this streamlined beauty
what can it possibly feel
         what curiosity drives it
forward and onwards
         in its day to day
what traces of perception
         remain within its brain
what sense of awareness
         has brought it to this state
of satisfaction with its life
         which it pursues with all
the nonchalance of those
         that nature has taught to fly ?

John Lyons

O but the rain

O but the rain

This is what the rain does
         when it comes in heavy bursts
that last a day or more
         it catches us by surprise
and seems to be an affront
         to our carefree natures
how dare the heavens
         rain on our parade
it drives us into self-reflection
         and the remembrance
of rains past
         when we were children
and the summer games
         were suddenly suspended
or when we were lovers
         about to embark

It is a spanner in our works
         necessary rain
that swells the fruit’s
         sweet succulence
perks up lush lawns
         of chlorophyll
yet is so often cursed
         through windows
stained with the bitter tears
         of broken dreams

John Lyons