That’s life

That’s life

Through the sloping skylight
           a tall deciduous tree
with long thin vertical branches :
           most of its foliage has now fallen
but here and there clusters
           of withered leaves cling on
and at first sight
           and from this distance
they look somewhat like birds
           but as the winter wind rises
the leaves scrape and rattle
           and shudder together
creating a hollow dry
           cemetery sound

Already the tree is armed
           and primed for the coming season
the pointed tips of fresh new buds
           are visible on every branch

The remaining dead leaves
           will eventually take to the air
but with no wings to spread
           theirs will be a single untidy
tumble down to the ground
           from which they will
never ever
           rise again

John Lyons

Burning questions

Burning questions

So much that burns in us
           the insatiable thirst
for knowledge
           and for understanding
we are unresolved
           perplexities
with more questions
           than answers : and so
we look to the stars
           to their crisp frosty light
in the wintry sky
           to the origins of our life
of the energies
           that burn within us

This is the physician’s school
           and we are the wisdom
such as it may be
           of elements
built from time
           from the synthesis of light
restless minds groomed
           to investigate and to doubt
to challenge every assumption
           to interrogate the rose
and the nightingale
           and to dismiss the platitudes
of human history
           and yet we are the children
of unbridled desire
           for ever more life
and for ever more love
           a metaphysical transcendence
an incandescent eternity

Light

Light

No painter could ever capture
           the perfection of this pure blue
unblemished winter sky
           Earlier a jet flew overhead
leaving a trail of vapour
           so geometrically straight
that it bisected this wonderful
           canopy of air and so created
the impression that the atmosphere
           could be cut into segments
and dismantled
            wide arcs of imaginary blue
set aside
           for later reassembly
an illusion available
           only to our earthly optics

: and so sharp
           the solid silhouettes
of the houses and trees
           the gentle motion
of rust coloured leaves
           the photographic quality
of the pigeons flying to and fro
           with their aimless purpose
and everywhere the light filtered
           through the bejewelled light

John Lyons

Warmth

Warmth

Warmth of the body
         warmth of the mind
warmth of the heart :
         what we fear most
is coldness and distance
         indifference and disdain
bitterness and division
          Warmth and light
that fire that comes
         from the sun
and which burns
         in the soul
the light in her eyes
         the warm touch
of her body
         the gift of love
that lowers the barriers
         to intimacy
the warm breaths that mingle
         on a frosty morning
the pleasure in completeness
          The attraction is in our elements
the perpetual reproduction
         of love in the mirrored image
one sky indivisible
         enriched by our bonding

How lightly the rose
         wears the light
the slender stems
         reaching upwards
the soft petals opening
         to the morning dew :
a beauty that knows
         no complaint
the heart and the head
         one and the same
and love all the reason
         that is needed

John Lyons

Extract

Extract

What we learn about time
         is that it’s never late
what will be will be
         and astronomy if nothing else
teaches us a little humility
         we are part of a larger process
even though our minds
         and our sensibilities
are in a sense
         the custodians of the universe
and so we enrich the stars
         and the blue sky
with all our dreams
         and every shade of enterprise
but let’s not fall into the trap
         of false modesty
we were there
         in one way or another
at the moment of time’s conception
         and ask yourself this
do atoms ever die ?
         light travels but does it ever fade ?
the light turned diamond
         turned rose
turned truth
         turned loving lip

John Lyons

Memory

Memory

The mountains and the sea
         the warm air
and the fine sand on the beach
         the mind sifts memories
from long ago
         moments daisy-chained together
picking and choosing
         through the debris of time
and then all of a sudden
         a face from the past
with perhaps
         a word and a kiss recalled

What my eyes have seen
         all these years
what my fingers have touched
         the love I have known and lost
all slowing now
         but not done yet
not by a long shot
         There where the wide bay
curves off into the distance
         I stood and looked west
not knowing what lay beyond
         everywhere the smell of gorse
and heather and the taste
         of wild honey

These are the notes of my life
         these are the chords
and here and there
         the key changes
here the note was sustained
         and here the melody
merrily skipped
         three score years and ten
and the light as the sun rose
         and the stars faded
and I welcomed the day
         with open arms

John Lyons

Limbo

Limbo

How still
         not a breath
not a leaf stirring
         a pigeon sits motionless
at the very summit
         of the conifer away in the distance
posing for God knows what
          : earlier a squirrel
ran along the perimeter wall
         a new causeway
for fox and cat alike
         I can hear the croak of a magpie
but apart from that
         not a sound
The lawn is littered
         with dry leaves
and the sky is grey and dull
         the day devoid of excitement
held in a kind of limbo
         I know that this will change
that it can’t last
         and I can’t wait

John Lyons