Aquarium in oils

Aquarium in oils

An aquarium of the mind
A constellation in which
Tenderly tentative ideas
Swim back and forth dressed as fish,
Obsessively. Richly coloured, richly textured,
Slender, stylized darts of pigmented life,
Of aimless endeavour, to and fro across
An acrylic mental canvas that dreams
Of the sea, the Caribbean, eluding
History among the reefs of reality,
Simple strokes of the brush
On the retina; mouths open or
Closed, or poised in a perpetual
Kiss, games of chase and tag
And dog-eat-dog, a frenzy
Of never-ending childhoods,
Of innocence, and the complete absence
Of intent. Timeless as an oceanic
Consciousness that never rests, wave
Upon wave upon wave of fish,
Kinetic energies fastened
To the fabric of our thoughts,
Subtle shades of simplicity which
Strip away the complexities
Of human blindness: a rose
Is a rose but a fish is a fish
And sometimes an iridescent rose
With wide eyes and an appetite
And a will to exist, flourishing
Just below the surface, all
In the stems of ancestral DNA.
It soothes and caresses
The imagination which
Swallows it whole. There is
Only one context, one
Environment, and we are in it,
Daily bathe in it, are bathed in it,
All together, whence we came
Where we are bound, and so
Much closer than to dogs
Or to cats, unquestionably
In our element, all species
Reduced to one as my father
Swam to meet my mother
In the womb.

John Lyons


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