First will and testament

First will and testament

The world we live in and by
           but not for
no purpose other than
           the true birth of our self
that work in progress
           each of us carries within
the rose focused on its beauty
           the thrush and the nightingale
defined species of being
           while we must make ourselves
day by day and choice by choice
           whether it is nobler in the mind
and in the body to be true
           and the essence of poetry
to which Marianne Moore
           was by no means averse
anecdote of the soul maybe
           but as far from the banal
as one can get
           and as far into love
as another will permit you
           each incandescent moment
lived for its honesty
           and the pleasure
of shared being
           living in love not for it
loving that equilibrium
           of frenetic surrender
passion of the flesh
           that thrills the soul fibres
of the mind slipping into
           and out of each other

John Lyons

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 Under the chestnut tree

 Under the chestnut tree

Here under my childhood tree
           in Bixhill wood
my story first grew
           my limbs learnt what is was
to descend a steep grassy hill
           at breakneck speed
to feel the rush of air on my face
           to feel the droplets of sweat
forming around my eyebrows
           to feel the exhilaration of leg muscles
put to the test
           and to feel alive in that moment
for that very moment
           to be six or seven years old
and without a care in the world
           forgetting all that had passed
projecting nothing into the future
           living the purity of the instant
trusting my breath
           and the power
of my lungs and knowing
           the glory that is to be alive

John Lyons

The artist

The artist

In the grand scheme of things
           we have come far
and yet we are nowhere
           not even the facts of life
are straight
           and we remain
fodder for time :
           unresolved quests
and ambitions
           beyond our station

What is to be expected
           from mere flesh and blood
entrusted with a single mission
           to love and be loved

So often it is all an act
           and death is an over-
simplification
           On the banks
of the primeval river
           he took clay into his hands
shaped it into the form
           of man and woman
breathed life into his creations
           so that they might live forever

John Lyons

Word watching

Word watching

A vision in words
           while the heart beats
all pleasures possible
           but who has lived
without fault
           without regret
without recrimination
           on the path that leads
over the blue hills

there is no time
           just body
mere experience
           nothing more local
than the soul
           which is the point
of being

as I live
           as I die
I am known by
           my particulars
how can I distinguish
           between the space
around me
           and the inner space
of my mind
           there where I feel pain
I feel love
           and have no shell
no notional carapace
           to protect me

I must be open to every storm
           just as I would welcome
any word of kindness
           all things are possible
all things are probable
           and that includes love

John Lyons

A few simple words

A few simple words

When in belief
           you move your limbs
you stir the muscles
           that will carry you
to a place of beauty
           to a time of truth
be it a lone flower
           that otherwise
would not be admired
           or to a person whom
a single act of kindness
           could rescue
from the brink
           of God knows what

John Lyons

A life measured

A life measured

A life measured in footsteps
           in paces taken
in voices and in gestures
           in kisses given
and kisses withheld
           a life measured in skies
numbered and tabulated
           in the heart
and how the land inclined
           this way and that
with its separate foliage
           and its exotic birds
that flowered all year round
           A life measured in harmonies
in peace at dawn
           and as the sun set
a life measured
           in questions and answers
and in the congress of bodies
           and the warmth of skin upon skin
days lived in the absence
           of anger and discord
and the poems there
           to tell of love
and to count our steps
           to heaven

John Lyons