Time is growth and decay
           renewal and removal
recall and loss of memory
           my mottled hands
marked with the stain of age
           the brittle nails with which
I cling on to dear life
           the spider-lines on my face
and yet purpose still strong
           love muscular as ever

and I think of the roses
           hardened through winter
the curved thorns that could
           tear my hands apart
fresh stems shooting up
           in springtime
the unapologetic beauty
           of new blooms
the rise and fall of it all
           and how many lips
have gone quiet
           the silence of dust
the fragility of the kiss
           and from the moment
of the first murmur
           of my heart
in my mother’s womb
           the mystery

John Lyons



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