Grey clouds lifting

Grey clouds lifting

Air moving gently
           through the air
and then a sudden gust
           and then all still
and still the rain falling
           seeping into the earth
into the empty earth
           from which the rosebushes
have been lifted :
           they will return in spring
along with light and colour
           and dreams and all kinds
of fresh aspirations
           and where we have failed
we will try again
           and where we succeed
we will celebrate
           what it is to know beauty
and to know love
           and to live in joy

John Lyons

The meeting of the waters

The meeting of the waters

That summer’s day
           we drove north of Arklow
up to Avoca to where
           the two rivers meet
and we parked the car
           and strolled down
to the water’s edge
           and my father
put a finger to his lips
           to hush us
so that we could hear
           the gentle rustle
of the streams
           as they merged
above the copper-
           coloured stones
that line the shallow bed
           and the sun was high
and hot and the air fresh
           and for a moment
we stood still and immersed
           in the innocence
of my father’s
           younger years

John Lyons

The Brexit complex

The Brexit complex

The darkness had barely settled
           before I heard the cackle of the foxes
their shrill voices disrupting the peace
           It sounded like a political meeting
at which not a soul could agree
           each one trying to shout the other down
but these were foxes members of nothing
           representatives of no one but themselves

And I wondered what decisions
           or what prospects could have them
so at each others’ throats
           But within half an hour it was all over
and silence reigned as they slunk off
           into the night to do
what a fox has to do when it’s cold

           and the lights are low

John Lyons

Just another Sunday

Just another Sunday

How in later life
            you come across words that thrill
with their apparent simplicity
            words coined by poetries
that touch upon
            the very essence of being
what it is to be being alive
            to know love
through years of other
            bitter disappointments
to reflect upon
            the changingness of life
with its swings and roundabouts
            a constancy in a shifting world
clinging to the central purpose
            free of all muted expession

I had once an idea of myself
            only to discover that my self
had another agenda
            another conception of itself
with no defining complacencies
            a life to be continued

John Lyons

Scorpion grasses

mysotis

Scorpion grasses

Mouse’s ears
            or myosotis
forget-me-nots
            one thing
to describe another :
            different registers
of taxonomy
            a delicate
pale blue or white
            or pink flower
with five sepals
            and petals
the seeds bound
            in tulip-shaped pods
along the stem
            One thing 
to describe another :
            constancy
friendship
            love

John Lyons

Swans on the Union Canal

Swans on the Union Canal

It’s after dark as I turn
           into the footpath alongside
the Grand Union Canal
           up by Ladbroke Grove

Across the other side
           of the canal runs
the boundary wall
           of Kensal Green cemetery
all quiet and peaceful
           there !

Then on the canal surface
           I notice five white swans
in a huddle and asleep
           their long necks totally relaxed
hanging down across their bodies
           deep into the water
as if they hadn’t a care
           in the world

John Lyons

Attitude

Attitude

Age be damned
           this is no time
for complacencies
           life is something
to be cherished
           Whoever heard
of a churlish sparrow
           or a tiger that tired
of its stripes or a rose
           too shy to bloom ?

Today the sky is blue
           there’s love
in my heart
           and I have
my whole life
           ahead of me

John Lyons

That restless feeling

That restless feeling

I could just sit back
           and admire the world
just as it is
           I could listen to the wind
as it races around the houses
           and ruffles the foliage
of the garden trees
           There’s a plastic bag
on the loose lifted
           at every gust and now
floating free through the air
           The cats I would normally see
have taken shelter
           and there’s no sign of foxes

I could just sit back
           and tell myself that today
there’s nothing to spark
           my imagination or to entice
my mind into expression :
           I could but I can’t

John Lyons

 

The mind takes a break

The mind takes a break

When I am lost
           for words to write
I reach for the poems
           of Wallace Stevens
and allow my mind
           to drift in his obsessions
two figures in the dark night
           the voice of the moment
and the place in which
           he has Florida in his ear
and always the singularity
           of the eye that builds
from what it sees
           a world of the imagination

I think of his restless fingers
           and his rule of thumb :
say it and it shall be
           the conceiving words
from which he constructs
           a composite of reality

Below Key West
           there’re stars I’ve never seen
and on the roof of a rusty barn
           there are buzzards
crouched in anticipation
           there are palm trees
etched against the blue-black sky
           and there is a full moon
with nothing to reveal
           other than itself
Finally there is the sea
           sleeping in silence in the bay
and this silence I tell you 
           is such a welcome serenade

John Lyons

Michelangelo

Michelangelo

Where if not in the mind
           does beauty lie ?
Who sees the puckered rose
           who sees the pursed pout
of her lips primed for a kiss ?
           And so the white swan drifts
through my consciousness
           where the sun rises and sets
and the river never runs dry
           Who sees and yet fails to see
the truth of the beauty of life ?
           Out of the subtle stone
of Carrara the artist draws
           the beauty of his soul
sets it in the palpitating
           folds of his imagination

John Lyons