Time is a river that runs through the rose
so where one rose falls another rose rises

just as another rose rose where another rose fell
and so time and the river and the rose on it goes 

roses are red my love violets so blue
where one sweet red rose fell another rose grew

roses are red my love this you should know
wherever red roses fall others will grow

John Lyons

Our self-made magic

Our self-made magic

Old poets’ idle prattle
         words that would wound
the wayward wind
          Lives hollowed
by the wearing
         of cheap trinkets
all celebrate
         in sanctimonious ceremony
the abject anecdote
         and view
with sour-eyed disdain
         the truth of beauty

So saying
         disentangle the nets of being
cut down the webs
         of intrigue and deceit
shun scarcity and want
         release the ensnared foot
and invoke the majesty
         of the magic we make
Throw out the baseless fabrics
         of fame and fortune
the trumpery
         upon whose nature
nurture can never stick :
         from spider learn
the fragility of life’s ladders
         and scorn the cankers
that lie
         within the body politic

John Lyons

Poetry apologises

Poetry apologises

Okay I’m sorry
         a bit late today
late night
         what can I say
         searching for a subject
I’ll get there
         don’t worry
it’s not easy
         a path I’ve chosen
but give me a break
         day after day
crack of dawn
         hoping for inspiration
crying out
         for a new idea
for something to say
         to those who are
sick and tired
         of the dawn chorus
tired of all the roses
         the falling rain
of the errant foxes
         that live by the tracks
and forage in bins
         and back gardens
tired of reading
         about hazel eyes
and silky skin
         and tender lips
and flesh on flesh

Well sorry
         what are dreams
but appetite for a difference
         I’ll get back to you
in the meantime
         I apologise. . .

John Lyons

Paul Éluard – Poems for Peace (1918)

Paul_ÉluardThe French poet Paul Éluard (1895-1952) was mobilised during the First World War. In June 1917, he was dispatched to a military evacuation hospital at Hargnicourt, 10 kilometres from the front line.

There he was tasked with writing to the families of the dead and wounded. He wrote more than 150 letters a day. At night he dug graves to bury the dead.

from Poems for Peace (1918)

A world dazed
a world stunned


All the happy women
Have their menfolk home – such warmth
as though back from the sun.
He laughs and says softly hi
Before kissing his darling.


Gorgeous, your breast slightly arced,
My blessed wife, you’re more mine than back in the day
Where with him and him and him and him,
I once clutched a rifle, a billy-can— our life!


All the comrades of the world,
O! my friends!
Not worth my wife and my kids
Sat around the table,
O! my friends!


When combat was over amid the throng,
You fell asleep amid the throng.
Now you’ll feel but single breath on your face,
And your wife sharing your bed
Will bother you more than a thousand mouths.


My child’s capricious –
All these tantrums are an act.
I’ve a beautiful spoilt child
Makes me die laughing.


My ten fingers work and my brain works,
God’s work, beast of burden work,
My daily life and our hope,
Food is our love.


Darling, we need to see the white rose
of your milk bloom.
Darling, you must soon be a mother,
Make a child that looks like me…


For a long time I’d a good-for-nothing face,
But now
I’ve a face to be loved,
I’ve a face to be happy.


I need a lover,
A virgin lover,
A virgin in a light dress.


I dream of all the beautiful women
Who go out walking at night,
Very calm,
Under a roaming moon.


Fruit blossom brightens my garden,
Trees of beauty and fruit-bearing trees.
And I work and I’m alone in my garden.
And the Sun singes my hands with dark fire.

Translation by John Lyons

Eight lines

Eight lines

Knowledge and experience and expedience
These are the supposed touchstones

but it’s really all about the blood
about how mineral became sense

how breath became expression
about how the world was made

to sit up and take notice :
about the emergence of truth

and how beauty captivated the emotions
in the evolution of this human universe

John Lyons


Short poem

Short poem

Years amid the frailty of fallen blossom
of winters that have come and gone
dust and ash blown across the universe
a little less pain when love allows
life bled from the earth
breath blown into a new body
the confusions of physical desire
my life in the shape of a soul
and all the time that nagging doubt
that root curiosity that propels me on
summer when spring is dead
autumn when all growth is gone

John Lyons