The silence of the lambs

The silence of the lambs

Poetry has gone into hiding
         poetry is nowhere to be seen
or it is masquerading
         under the guise of genteel verse
fit only for polite society
          : poetry has lost its cutting edge
has lost its nerve
         is anxious to please
and not to rock the boat
         or cause waves
or generate confusion
         or overtax the readers’ minds

Perhaps poetry is on vacation
         far away from the hue and cry
and the rage of savage war
         with its incessant barrel bombs
that kill clusters of innocents
         that send whole suburbs of hell
to kingdom come
         while poetry is rambling
through the hills admiring
         the lakes and the daffodils
recollecting
         at the end of an emotional day
with a cool pint in hand
         the tranquility of it all
the delicious peace and the quiet
         and the silence of the lambs

John Lyons

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Heaven

Heaven

On mornings such as today
         I’m glad to be alive
Autumn is in full swing
         and half the trees
have had their shakedown
         the litter of leaves everywhere
But from where I’m sitting
         the garden has been backlit
by a gorgeous sun illuminating
         the various shades of green
that remain attached to whatever
         pointing up the berries
that have yet to be devoured
         by the indolent flock
that manages this part
         of the world

The air is cool but not cold
         and a gentle breeze is stirring
From another window I see the sky
         a vast swathe of blue
with shreds of thin cloud
         so high that they give
the impression that somewhere
         beyond them heaven might lie

But I know better :
         heaven is in the oxygen
that I am breathing
         heaven is in the life
unfolding before my eyes
         heaven is in the give and take
of unconditional love
         heaven is in the kiss shared
and in the arms that reach out
         to my outstretched arms
heaven is here in the clinch
         of our two souls
heaven is here and now
         on a day like today

when I’m simply glad
         to be alive

John Lyons

Hand

Hand

The hand within
         the hand
once held
         now gone
long gone

Light of the day
         folded into
the night sky

Such are
         the deeds of love
done and undone
         the eyes an ageless hue
the kiss distant
         a promise unkept
the clutch of cool arms
         the siren song
and then silence
         and then nothing

John Lyons

Black crow

Black crow

A huge black crow
         hangs upside down
from the branches of a tree
         from which it is picking
a berry of some sort
         and as I pass by 
the bird drops momentarily
         into freefall
before flapping
         its wide wings
and making off
         into the distance
There are plenty of other trees
         in the vicinity where the pickings
are just as rich and I don’t feel
         in the least guilty
for having disturbed it
         during its supper

Crows sow nothing
         cultivate nothing
have nothing to do all day
         but to gorge themselves
on whatever they can find
         : they live on the prodigious
fat of the land
         Good luck to them

John Lyons

Past caring

Past caring

My past is catching up with me
         in ways I never imagined
the texts and the images
         and all the incidental props
of my youth are now museum pieces
         I find my adolescent years
themed into exhibitions
         and I walk through the galleries
inspecting fragments of years
         that have long been dead
and it’s an eerie feeling
         as though the world is saying
hurry up and produce more life
         that we can capture and catalogue
and place behind glass
         because your past days
are more important to us
         than your days to come

This week I’ve seen Egyptian relics
         rescued from cities
submerged by the sea
         and I’ve strolled through a collection
of memorabilia charting the social
         and political upheavals of the sixties
and to be perfectly frank
         I’ve grown more than a little tired
of these manicured processions
         through the past

Let the dust submerge the dust
         I want the warm sensations
of everyday life with its colour
         with its flowers and its beating hearts
not yet turned to stone
         and the eternal hope
that love will grow and that one kiss
         will lead to another

John Lyons

The professional

The professional

He has worked out the back all summer
         and it’s now late October
and he’s still here
         Over the months he has demolished
a forty metre garden wall and rebuilt it entirely
         from the foundations up
Two days ago
         when the rendered surface was dry
he painted the wall and replaced
         the water feature
a cement fountain with a large bird-bath
         on a pedestal flanked by two cement rabbits
Week after week I’ve seen new tools arrive
         a small cement mixer
an electric tile cutter
         new shovels and spades
and hammers and saws
         and at one point a pneumatic drill
He’s in his mid-seventies
         and walks and works with a slight stoop
yet I have seen him carrying breeze blocks
         and large bricks and heavy buckets
of sand and earth as though it were all a trifle
         for a man of his age
He has grown into the job
         and often I have caught him
sitting on a bench staring at his handiwork
         with a deep sense of pride

Today
         having returfed part of the lawn
he’s sanding the rest of the grass
         adding the final touches
to his commission
         He’s on the home straight
and for the first time in all this time
         he’s wearing a high visibility jacket
and a white baseball cap
         as if to to say :
Hey look at me
         and see what I have achieved
at my age
         I came through
I never faltered
         I’m a real professional

John Lyons

Yellow roses

Yellow roses

The yellow roses of Texas
are drooping in the vase
the green leaves languishing
: dust has collected
and the colors are fast fading
They’ve done their job
a focal point of beauty in the room
a conversation piece
a reminder of the frailty of all things
but their day is done
and without ceremony
they will soon be removed
consigned to dust
the intricacy of their secrets
deep within the lush velvet folds
lost forever

John Lyons