What a kerfuffle !

What a kerfuffle !

The sun is out
           and skies are blue
and everywhere you go
           in every bush and hedgerow
you hear the shrill sound
           of sparrows emptying their lungs
with such a frenzy
           that the branches quake
under the weight
           of their emotion
and no need to be an expert
           to understand the theme
of their songs
           it’s that time of the year
when a young sparrow’s fancy
           turns to love

John Lyons

Arklow

A very touching new poem from friend of the blog, Molly Rosenberg.


Arklow

A deep gnawing in my heart
An urgency pressing into my thoughts
A deep desire to return to the land and people
From whence my blood has sprung.

A short air space away.
Maybe a journey through
Glassy green waves as
In the old days.

I crave the sound of those dear voices
Long to laugh with them and hear
The stories that only they can tell
And I can hear again and again.

I need to go before it is too late
Before the shadows are all that are left
The memories of sandy days,
The cows down the back lane
The chickens by the gate.

The smell of gorse and salt.
Blackberry and apple
Soda bread and breac 
Just memories that I
Can almost taste.

But it is the people
That I am missing
The need to be with
Them grows stronger
As the days and years pass.

Molly Rosenberg

Hasty definition

Hasty definition

A poem
           is the occasion
of its creation
           of its being
of its breath
           of its expression

and it may contain
           or exclude all things
and all times
           and all places
and all feelings
           and all thoughts
and all dreams
           and all words
and however much
           silence it requires

a poem may be spun
           from a web of emotions
or of affections
           or of affiliations
local
           or international
public or personal
           but a poem must
have the courage
           to speak the truth
to admire beauty
           and to value love
and tenderness
           above all else

John Lyons

Full stop

Full stop

Earlier this morning
           I noticed that something
was ruffling the leaves
           on the branches of a tall bush
just outside my window :
           it wasn’t the wind because
nothing else was moving
           I looked more closely
and saw a tiny green chaffinch
           rocking rhythmically
back and forth as it pecked
           at the fresh green buds
on the bush
            while high up above

under a faultlessly blue sky
           aircraft were leaving
immaculate white trails
           in their wake
and down by the railway line
           I observed a tall tree
without a single leaf
           but with a large crow
perched silently on one of its 
            uppermost branches
and it occurred to me
           for reasons unknown
that the tree was statement
           to which the black bird
provided a very eloquent
           and conclusive full stop

John Lyons

Holly berry

Holly berry

At the top of Maresfield Gardens
           in Hampstead at the front
of one of the houses there’s a holly tree
           the lower branches of which hang over
the brick wall close to the pavement
           and their leathery leaves are covered
in a fine film of dust and on some
           there are signs of damage and decay
but hidden among them
           is a solitary bright red berry
sole survivor from last season
           and I wonder how the birds
could possibly have missed it
           for so long just as I am happy too
to admire the utter simplicity
           of its ineffable beauty

John Lyons

Stars

Stars

After so much sun during the day
           suddenly the air has crisped
with a sharp frost and up above
           the jet black sky is crystal clear :
incredible that there should be
           such limitless darkness
filled with so many burning stars
           the piercing light filtering through
without diluting the deep dark
           —and it seemed to me
that had I had
           the time and the inclination
on this beautiful spring evening
           it might just have been possible
to number every single star
           in the universe

John Lyons

Decisions decisions

Decisions decisions

To engage with her beauty
           and with her breath
to live the day and night of it
            the come and go
and to plan and to agree 

            and to decide
always decisions
decisions

Now it is dawn
           now it is dusk
and we are neither here
           nor there neither together
nor apart our locations
           and our locutions
—here she comes
           trailing black and blue
there I go
           trailing green and gold

A reminiscence
           of eyes and hair
and a body above all
           an abyss into which
the slow fuse of the future :
           where will it all end ?

John Lyons

A couple of questions

A couple of questions

What is beauty
           and who shall be
numbered among
           its gold standards ?

is it the slow burn
           of her amber eyes
the thin pouting lips
           or indeed the hands
and arms engaged
           in sweeping arabesques
creating endless clusters
           of unconditional intimacy ?

and love is measured
           on what scales of intensity ?
is it passion or depth
           or fidelity down the ages
is love the chameleon
           that never changes
steadfast but unfixed
           in categorical habits

it is always time to move
           stasis being the dreary
proclamation of life-death
            : love lives on the lip
on the tip of the tongue
           a true treasury
of tactile invention
           its joy is urgent
its abandonment
           forever unforgiven

John Lyons

Cormorant

Cormorant

The dance of light
           on the river surface
the silver waters
           carried out to sea

By Blackfriars Bridge
           a cormorant perches on one
of the abandoned red piers
           of the old Chatham and Dover

It pauses for a moment
           in its day perhaps to catch
its breath if indeed birds
           do get breathless and

have to catch their breath
           I see so many birds
darting too and fro
           as though their lives

depended on such frenzy
           and quite possibly they do
slaves as they are
           to their appetites

unlike us who have
           domesticated time
and with it so much
           of the world around us

John Lyons

Raw material

Raw material

Last night saw
           through the trapeze
of the skylight
           pitch black
a single star
           unmoved and unmoving

he who searched through
           the shadows of this world
for a palpable soul
           for an angel of wisdom
who might bring him
           enlightenment

it’s what we do
           life into words
clutching at stray sounds
           at images and scents
and sensations
           all that is raw
and rooted in the earth
           black ink through which
the world may shine
           inner and outer

today glorious blue
           light dancing
as it alights
           on the fresh green leaves
the intoxication of sunshine
           all at peace
and full of promise
           my mind full of others’ words
echoes of unknown loves
           and observations

the dusty streets of New York
           the cutting edge of poetry
on the lips of Frank O’Hara
           black cat with a white belly
life in all its richness
           time with all the opportunity
it offers
           purpose cutting a path
through the confusion
           love where it can be trusted
a kiss at no cost
           but a kiss at all costs

John Lyons