Of no consequence

Of no consequence

A plump black cat with a white belly
           stands on the garden wall
and has a good look around
           it can hear a bird chirping
pneumatically in a bush close by
           Today the sun is up
it’s going to be a scorcher
           the cat is there on the wall
indecisively surveying the scene
           taking mental notes or
sketching out a plan for the day
            Scarcely a single lilac bloom
has survived the onslaught
           of the oxidising air that has
turned them all to rusty combs
           soon to be dust : let that
be a lesson to us all— they don’t
           come any clearer

John Lyons

Advertisements

Last night you called

Last night you called

Last night you called and I’m sorry
           that I missed you
I was working all evening
           and wasn’t expecting a call
because mostly you don’t call
           when you’re away
though last night you did
           but I didn’t hear the phone
because my head was buried
           in my work : so much to do

and so I missed your call
           and I’m really sorry
because it would’ve been
           so nice to hear your voice
and to know what you’ve been up to
           and how you’re doing
and things like that but I’d no idea
           you’d call because
so often you don’t :
           so at the end of the evening
/really far too late/
           I was surprised when
I noticed I’d missed
           an unexpected call
from you
            — I’m so sorry

John Lyons

Lilacs in June

Lilacs in June

These honey-scented
           purple inflorescences
have had their day
           these once bright clusters
or panicles of flowers
           are fading fast and
oxidation in many
           has already had its way
with once vivid hues
           now drained to rust

if there is a lesson
           it is to make hay
yet not to forget
           that in turn the hay
will one day turn
           to dust

John Lyons

Metaphysics

Metaphysics

Sweet alyssum sweet asylum
the resolution of love’s equations

in the approximation of distances
let the heart not reprove

nor the eye fall foul of truth
in all its radiant beauty

music is there to invoke
to guide our steps to the stars

not to distract but to raise us up
to the heights that lie within us

our lives driven ever soulwards
fulfilled in the soft-petalled bliss

of love stripped of pain and error
wisdom pledged in piety and patience

John Lyons

Ditty

Ditty

If I could describe your beauty
           If I could recreate in words
a breathing replica
           of your flesh and bone
I would do so but I can’t
           so although I must accept
the only tools I have
           /my words/
they will never do
           and in my heart I know
there can never be
           a substitute for you

John Lyons

Horses 2

Horses 2

Horses for as long as I can remember
grazing in the field that borders
a cemetery attached to a Norman church
Work horses that do no work and sometimes
gather in the centre of the pasture
or under the shade of the old oaks
that line the northern perimeter

Week after week fresh graves are dug
in the burial ground that seems never
to run out of space : through gaps
in the fencing people stop to feed
carrots on which the horses chomp
without a care in the world

John Lyons


Les chevaux

Des chevaux pour autant que je me souvienne
Qui pâturent dans le domaine qui borde
Un cimetière attaché à une église normande.
Des chevaux de travail qui ne travaillent pas
Et parfois se rassemblent au centre du pâturage
Ou à l’ombre des vieux chênes qui marquent
la limite du périmètre nord.

Semaine après semaine, on creuse
de fosses fraîches dans le cimetière
Qui ne semble jamais manquer d’espace :
Profitant de trous dans la clôture
Les gens s’arrêtent pour offrir des carottes
Aux chevaux qui les mâchent
Sans le moindre souci du monde.


Caballos

Caballos allí desde cuando yo recuerdo
Pastando en el campo que bordea
Un cementerio junto a una iglesia normanda.
Caballos de trabajo que no trabajan
Y a veces se reúnen en el centro del pasto
O en la sombra de los antiguos robles
que marcan el límite del perímetro norte.

Semana tras semana, se cavan
nuevas tumbas en el camposanto
Que nunca parece quedarse sin espacio:
Aprovechando huecos en la cerca
La gente se detiene para ofrecer zanahorias
Que los caballos mastican
Sin el menor cuidado en el mundo.


Cavalos

Cavalos lá desde quando me lembro
Pastando no campo que fica ao lado
Do cemitério de uma igreja normanda.
Cavalos de trabalho que não trabalham
E às vezes eles se reúnem no centro do pasto
Ou à sombra dos antigos carvalhos
Que marcam o perímetro setentrional.

Semana após semana escavam
novos túmulos no cemitério
Que nunca parece ficar sem espaço:
Aproveitando buracos na cerca
As pessoas param para oferecer cenouras
Que os cavalos mastigam
Sem a menor preocupação no mundo.

Horses

Horses

Horses have been grazing in that field
for as long as I can remember

It’s a roughly square basin of a field
bordered by a road on three sides

and on the southern side by the wall
of an old cemetery attached

to a Norman church : the burial ground
never seems to run out of space

with fresh graves dug every week
But the horses live in a different world

Sometimes they gather in the centre
of the pasture but on warm days

they seek out the shade of the oaks
that line the northern perimeter

and through gaps in the fence people
will stop to feed them carrots

which the horses chomp with
unaffected nonchalance

seven or eight horses that appear
never to change— and why should they ?

John Lyons