Insofar

Insofar

Insofar as yesterday
         no longer exists
let’s not cry over it
         it’s gone
but we’re still here
         whatever blunders
we made
         they’re gone too
all in the past
         and nobody can
ever live there
         you know that
only too well
         don’t you

Sure we all make mistakes
         things we wish we’d never done
but love is a corrective
         it’s the balm that soothes the soul
and it renews the face of the earth
         every day without fail
love forgives and forgets
         and moves forward
on to the better things
         the day has to offer

Insofar as your beauty
         does not diminish
nor my love for you
         let’s make a day of it
let’s make a night of it
         let’s take eternity
one step at a time
         and enjoy each moment

John Lyons

Lines thrown away

Lines thrown away

There are no secret codes to love
nor does it ever defy understanding

simplicity is as inherent to it as beauty
to the rose or sweetness to honey

we know what it is though we may
at times wish it was something else

or someone else or another time
or another place or just another face

John Lyons

Roses

Roses

Roses are naturals
         
they bloom from year to year

first the tiny bud
         that bides its time
almost imperceptible
         until it swells in spring
and as summer enters
         splits apart
to permit the petals
         to spread in all their glory

Roses are naturals
         they have no agenda
other than to be 
         what they are
to add a little glamour
         to the garden
or to the parlour
         to welcome the honeybee
to soak up the morning dew
         to languish in the late
summer sun

Roses are naturals
         they invite endless admiration
and thrive on poetry
         proud of their beauty
they long to be praised
         but remember the thorns
are always there
         and they must be handled
with great care

John Lyons

Why this world ?

Why this world ?

Mid-September walking down
         Fitzjohn’s Avenue in Hampstead
pavements carpetted
         in dry brittle leaves
autumn with a vengeance
         and I think
be articulate
         be vocal
be demonstrative
         and beware
you may indeed find
         what you are looking for
and yet lose what you have
         money is a broad church
ambition too
         and love is not a lifestyle

Then on to Maresfield Gardens
         to the house where Sigmund Freud
lived his final years
         and which he called
‘our last address on this planet’
         and I wonder where he thought
he was headed
         perhaps to the Western Lands
of Egyptian mythology
         and how we are
to the best of our knowledge
         the only conscious beings
in the universe
         and for that reason its centre
although it has no centre
         and with consciousness
the need to express
         to understand and share
our inner thoughts
         and our feelings
to represent them
         in language and in every
conceivable art
         to communicate through
broad verbal gestures
         and I read Sharon Olds
and the outpourings
         of raw emotion in her poetry
as daughter mother and partner
          acutely perceptive and confessional
centred as she is on
         the intimacies and obsessions
around her sexuality
         and filled with vital images
that remind me that I too
         have seen healing sunshine
penetrate another body
         seen the light absorbed
in the hair and under the skin
         and into the smile
and known that love
         is not an object
nor an attitude
         of the will or the mind
but an irresistible gravitational
         urge or movement
towards another being
         I too saw one such sit
legs crossed
         by the open window
and watched
         as recollections of the past
percolated through her sensibility
         her hair swept back
and on her thin lips
         an expression
of unfinished business
         and why this world
in which so little
         is ever truly owned
except perhaps
         in the nakedness of love
and the conviction
         that it is the only thing
that mitigates
         against the final
handful of ash and dust
         tossed pointlessly
from the Brooklyn Bridge

         or some such height

Late swell of summer sun
          with the beauty and silence
of vast autumn migrations
         abandoned lives
hung in wardrobes
         epic manifestations
of the providential body
         and each word
each chosen action
         weighed in the balance
praying for the wisdom
         God help us
to know love when we see it
         to respond to love when we feel it
and again
         why this world
and was any of this
         all the chaotic stuff of years
anything other than
         really necessary
to quote Wallace Stevens
         a thoroughly necessary life
and a necessary love
         and longing to lie
secure and at ease
         in the accuracy
of her necessary arms and to be
         finally acknowledged

John Lyons

Paradise

Paradise

In this neck of the woods
         not much is happening
there is a full moon
          partially eclipsed
by ragged clouds
         I can hear cars in the distance
and from time to time
         a train cuts through the silence
I suppose it must be said
         that we make our own paradise
just as we make the bed we lie on
         From my window I see
the dark shadows of trees
         hardly stirring at all
given that the air is still
         These trees are alive
and I know that many of them
         will outlive me
for a tree life is no big deal
          / storms aside /
its day-to-day is pretty routine
         growth comes in spurts
but it’s never going to be
         anything other than what it is
Under one of these trees
         foxes may gather
in the early hours
         conviviality is in their genes
just as it is in ours
         and all life depends
on the same things
         nourishment
sustenance of some sort
         energy that comes
from the stars
         stored in the cells
that we eat
         so often unthinkingly
Whether it is pride
         or simple ignorance
we are the only living
         creatures in the whole
universe that do not know
         our place and it’s perhaps
for this reason
         that we take so much
for granted
         and are so slow to act
when paradise
         our paradise

appears to slip
         from our grasp

John Lyons

To think of time

To think of time

To think of time again
         to think of all things
in retrospect
         and of the years
that lie before me
         eager as I am
to live them to the full
         To think of love
and how love
         has saved me
from myself
         Not a day passes
that I do not think of her
         of the warm pulse
beneath her skin
         of our kisses
and of the way
         she takes me
into her arms
         with total acceptance
the trust within which
         there are no boundaries
To think of the future
         and of how some things
have fallen into decay
         how my veins
have thickened
         and my hair
has lost all colour
         and my limbs
their agility but
          how still the passion
drives me forward
         and how in every
real sense I am
         more alive now
than ever before
         To think of her
and how all caution
         has been thrown
to the wind
         because life
in its beauty
         is only the truth
and love lived
         to their ultimate
consequences
         no ifs and no buts

John Lyons

Perhaps

Perhaps

What more can you do
than take each day as it comes

my life has been a trail of words

and the past cannot be undone

just as the pink petals
of the roses you bought

are doomed to dust
though other roses 

will take their place
The earth is full of life

and full of lives
that have had their day

Perhaps these words
will transcend 

perhaps not
Perhaps our intimacy

our hunger 
for each other’s flesh

will go the distance
become the stuff of legend

and inspire young lovers
to seek ever greater heights

Perhaps
Perhaps not

John Lyons

Birth

Birth

In autumn seeds fall
         along with the leaves
within the fruit
         that rots on the ground
with flies buzzing
         and ants crawling
and sometimes
         the rain :
apples for example
         or chestnuts
horse or sweet
         seeds that needs
must fall into the ground
         which acts like a placenta
feeding the seed
         that has died
and germinated
         that sends out
a tap root to draw
         nourishment
from the earth
         and some seeds fly
are carried in the air
         on a gust of wind
that float off
         into the distance
only to settle
         sooner or later
on the ground
         into the ground
the burial before
          birth

John Lyons

Bagatelle

Bagatelle

The last throes of summer
         warm sunshine
unblemished blue skies
         so much light during the day
not a cloud on the horizon
         it feels good to be alive
it feels good to be in love
         it feels good to be

and at night
         the temperature drops
the pleasure of cold cotton sheets
         when we enter the bed
the warmth of her skin
         against mine
the room draped in darkness
         we lie cradled
in each other’s arms
         and time bows out
leaving us all alone
         with all the hours
we could ever need
         and a tomorrow
that we pray
         may never come

John Lyons

Under the bridge

Under the bridge 

Under the bridge
the white waters flow
down to the sea
where time is lost
and consanguinity
dilutes into nothing

Leave aside love’s carnage
the count of days
and weeks and years
the sad dismemberment
the body wracked
and rocked with
lust’s last pangs

Here was a song
set to a merry tune
Here was a life to which
the stars were no impediment
Here was a love
that should have spelt
ageless infinity

John Lyons