Deadheading

Deadheading

When a rose is spent
or has completed its bloom

and is beginning to wilt
it should be removed

This is done to keep roses
looking attractive

and it encourages more blooms
Deadheading tricks a rose bush

into focusing on budding
and flowering new roses

rather than expending energy
on dying roses or producing seeds

And remember what Gertrude said
a rose is a rose is a rose

don’t mess with the parameters
things are as they are

and their beauty is intrinsic
don’t mess with roses

and don’t mess with love

John Lyons

That day

That day

That day we cycled
         around the outskirts
of Regent’s Park
         and down by the canal
under a blistering sun
         and we paused
and strained our necks
         to see the giraffes
through the fence and
         admire their graceful
almost balletic steps
         as they moved about
with such poise
         and such elegance
and such cool indifference
         to all the spectators

And then we sat in the park
         and ate ice-cream cones
that dripped incessantly
         in the unspeakable heat
:
         that was a day to remember
and one well worthy of verse

John Lyons

Schumann plays Martha Argerich

Schumann plays Martha Argerich

She is sitting there at the piano
         surounded by the orchestra
biding her time
         awaiting instructions
and what is surprising
         is the simplicity of the scene
her hair is long and entirely grey
         her clothes not in the least distracting
and she appears to be without makeup
         without the slightest artifice
sitting there delicately poised
         awaiting the command to perform
and so it begins allegro affettuoso
         as Charles Dutoit strikes up the orchestra
and Martha engages with the instrument
         but at times the piano is silent
and her body gently rocks
         from side to side following the rhythm
but still biding her time
         or should I say his time
because through her
         we feel the presence of Schumann
because she has embodied his score
         she has taken it into the depths
of her sensibility so that her hands
         have become Schumann’s hands
her mind and all her emotions
         suffused with the ardour of the notes
first played by Clara
         in representation
of the composer’s marriage
         and what we hear is indeed a marriage
between the conductor and soloist
         between both of them
and the orchestra
         because the performance
has indeed been fully orchestrated
         a melodic time capsule of emotions
in which years count for nothing
         as each note leaves its signature
on all who are present
         the great collective within the confines
of the Royal Albert Hall
         Martha the survivor
in a world of survivors
         alive in the music that never dies

John Lyons

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