Styx and stones

Styx and stones

The city within
       the rise and fall of it
a world driven
       by light and by words
a word-world so to speak
       built of star-blood
what it costs to be poor
       what it costs to love
what is costs
       to succeed
what it costs
       to fail

Mythology tells us
       there are two sides
to every river
       I have crossed the Danube
back and forth
       and survived longer
than I would
       have imagined

John Lyons

Rimbaud revisitation

Rimbaud revisitation

The suburbs arrayed
       amid cold meadows
no bell sounding
       prayer long fallen silent

Here the air resounds
       to the caw of crows
whole armies of them
       that come swooping down
dressed for battle
       the black metallic sheen
of their feathers
       contemptuous of the light
their rapier beaks
       sharpened for business
no solace in their haughty bearing
       that sets them apart
from the smaller birds :
       nature too has its favourites

Along the roads
       and down by the little stream
they congregate in twos and threes
       in fours and fives
but do not dally showing disdain
       for Calvary’s winding lanes

Those who see them
       shudder at the thought
of life’s tender fragility
       the cold message
so dutifully delivered
       by these harbingers
of all things sepulchral

But o you black birds
       you cry in vain
for the winter
       that now smothers
the barren fields
       will lift soon enough
and the warbler’s voice
       once again will be heard
singing from the tops
       of mighty oaks

John Lyons

Conspicuous love

Conspicuous love

Conspicuous love
in the caress
in the kiss
and in the poetry 
of words

number
and intensity
of energies shaped
by affection

a rose
for beauty’s sake
adorns the warm body
of the universe

and perfect equilibrium
through every phase
and transition
the artistic fuse
that runs through
all things

here in our now
as then in their then
the relativity
of all relationships

a words’ worth
of daffodils

in eternal dance

John Lyons

Preamble to verse

Preamble to verse

Memory of presence
       in the past
captured in words
       architectures of existence
in the flow of time
       a rubric of emotions
of lines drawn in the sand
       words that bind us
to ourselves
       and to each other
interwoven
       the threads of life
the sometime love
       the name on our lips
the phrasing of our lives
       what it is to be in words
what it is to know
       in words that appear
and reappear
       time and time again

At dawn I sought

       the words for you
the word
       the name of you
sound of my heart
       light of my love
my breath time
       and my space

John Lyons

 

A star is born

A star is born

Above all else
       the thread of life
from the point
       of conception
our destinies
       written
as we speak
       the vowels
and consonants
       formed in the stars
the cosmos
       one entire utterance
a poetry of rhythm
       an expression of energy
beauty at every turn
       and in every detail
ugliness only
       in the denial of love

John Lyons

Work in progress

Work in progress

Who would think
           to count the stars
in the firmament
           or to weigh the universe
in the palm of his hand ?
           Such is the mystery of life
that it defies explanation
           is not open to calculus
or to reason and yet
            is the only thing
that makes sense
           all else emptiness
devoid of meaning
           lacking in purpose

When the sun set
           Rilke closed his eyes
and had a dream
           a ladder reaching up
to the heavens
           with shrieking angels 
running up and down
           until day broke
and the scene faded
           in his eyes but not
in his mind : that country
           from which none return
but the question is :
           Why would they ?

For years I have watched
           as the apple blossoms fell
as the fruit ripened
           on the branch and fell too
as swallows flew
           north and south
and notched another year 
           but I have never lost faith
in the poetics of love
           the binding of words
that come together
           and shape our lives
Everything is a work
           in progress
everything driven
           by starlight
all else emptiness
           all else lost forever

John Lyons

Live lips listen

Live lips listen

Live lips listen
           or else all else lost
for love pays
           attention to detail
to the intricacies
           to the rise and fall
of another’s breath
           and this is no small thing

all else lost
           if no love
no purpose
           in the world
of rocks and stones
           and trees

animus
           the spirit
sanctified
           in the kiss
and live lips
           speak it best

all else dust
           if not driven
by the pure body
           to enlighten love
to glow with desire
           to be one and whole
one and all
           all in one

all else worthless
           without love’s arts
shaped from the wisdom
           of dreams rooted in our earth
and sketched in our skies
           all else unseeded silence

John Lyons