Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout

A rainbow trout moving
           between the large stones
that lie in the shallow waters
           by the river bank
It darts here and there
           as my shadow falls
across the idle stream
           but it does not disappear
perhaps it is playing a game
           sees me but is not afraid
perhaps a challenge
           a catch-me-if you can
knows I’m not a kingfisher
           just a man with a rod
and a hook and a fly
           on the end of a line

Light made its body
           just as it made
the fishing bird
           and many of the colours
they share : unlike us
           who grow up so many
and from a common model
           so distinctively diverse

The trout moves gently
           through the water
flexing a body that acts
           as a single muscular pulse
confident in its strengths
           disdainful of all else
Fins for feathers
           and in its element it knows
that more often than not
           it can outwit whoever
whatever would try
           to catch it out

John Lyons

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Simplicities

Simplicities

Star-patterned snow
has fallen across the universe

through the dark night it fell
flake upon flake covering the land

and in its wake it has brought
peace and silence and for a time

a certain subdued solidarity
slowing as it always does

the frantic pace of life
the rushing to and fro

snow has fallen in the cities
and on the hills and in the woods

and has levelled parks and gardens
and all the wide playing fields

there is a lesson to be learnt
from the simplicities of snow

John Lyons

He who loved

He who loved

He who loved
the soft-petalled rose

would bear the pain
of thorns to nurture them

would shelter them
in times of frost

would nourish the soil
in which they stood

and could sit for hours
in silent admiration

of their summer blooms :
he who loved

John Lyons

A note to Orpheus

A note to Orpheus

When the wind rises
           the tree sings
with the rustle
           and tremor of leaves
and as the wind subsides
           so the music is lost
to stillness to silence :
           then birds congregate
in its branches
           and the tree becomes
a temple to their song
           the tree that so longed
to possess a voice
           provides a haven
a home for these
           visiting choristers

And a tree knows
           that music is as much
about silence as it is
           about sound
it is about the interplay
           between notes and rests
between the black
           and the white and
between life and death
           all on a stave

John Lyons

The surface of things

The surface of things

The beautiful surface of things
           life in all its infinite detail
and in all its glory
           the capacity to articulate
to put two and two together
           the chalk hills
of the North Downs
           at present covered
in pure white snow
           where pure white lambs
will graze unknowingly
           in days to come in spring

the rich hue and cry of life
           lived and held
in the conscious mind
           assembled in our language
a world built word by word
           and recalled word for word
just as our love grows
           accumulating acts of affection
mutual and stored
           in the necessary memory
of living words :
           there was a wedding feast
at which the water
           became wine and filled
the imagination
           as all art does in changing
the face of the earth
           in its becoming

John Lyons

Enough is enough

Hard_rain_detail
Hard rain, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

 Enough is enough

I can’t wait
           for spring to come
for the bitterness
           of this winter to be over
to see flowers in the fields
           and red roses in bloom
in the garden
           with fresh lavender
in the borders
           and to hear the buzz
of bees doing
           what they know best
collecting the fresh nectar
           that one day soon
I will spread on a slice
           of warm toast
and thank God that I’m
           still alive to enjoy it

John Lyons

 

Betrayals

Betrayals

Perhaps it’s the trivial
           betrayals that hurt
the most and
           the meanness of spirit
that goes with them
           the words meant
to put you down
           in front of others
your friends in particular
           the sneering words
delivered with the same
           passion with which a knife
might be embedded
           in your back

And it always comes
           as such a surprise
delivered by a fawning Brutus
            or a Judas or a Delilah
in sheep’s clothing
           and wearing a smile

John Lyons