Words in time

Words in time

Poetry that grows
out of deep need
words taken to shape lines
To inflect significance
butterfly-words
The wings of which
ripple on the summer air
To ascribe some meaning
to this thing we call life
the four corners
filled with words
all of which are
as a second creation
reaffirming the first
Before the word
there was the unvoiced void
a soul-silence
that feared the roar
of lions and other beasts
those creatures
who in the hunting
stole the light away
words then
that sprang up
in the cranial cavity
and were breathed
through the open mouth
sibilant syllables
fed by the desire
to touch others
with the mind
to share the delights
of consciousness
around an open fire
quantity and quality
ardent language that cuts
through the mist
that levels the earth
and along with the birth
of the mind the creation
of devils and angels
and a heaven out of hell
words with which to warm
the wayward heart

John Lyons

Untroubled waters

aquarium
Aquarium (oil on canvas)

Untroubled waters

No goldfish bowl this
           but colour moving
with stealth and grace
           a flowering of flesh
a world away
           from our own

John Lyons

All that time brings 

All that time brings 

The simplifications
      that come with time
the slow build
      of experience
of knowledge
      the remembrance
together with the forgiving
      and the forgetting
after all
      life is too short
or too long depending
      on the perspective

In time
      the frenzy abates
the struggle
      to make one’s way
less intense
      the hot head cools
there is room for love
      with all its gentle acts
of affection from sunrise
      to sunset

John Lyons

The business of life

The business of life

Undone
this business of life
this day to day
this thirsting
for more knowledge
for greater understanding
this desire to be loved
and to love
ever more deeply
each action held
up to the light
each thought
each word
under scrutiny
the business of living
of going out into the world
making sense of it
where sense is to be found
nothing complete
all in transit
in transition
everything to play for
still

John Lyons

The dissolution of bones

The dissolution of bones

Who is to say
           that a poem that grows
in the mind
           is an abstract creation
if indeed that word
           has any meaning
and abstracted from what
           one might ask

Does the rose not grow
           in its mineral bed
secretly building the beauty
           of its texture and colour
until ready to present itself
           in all its glory

A congery of particles
           in the smallest branch / plant
fern and roots that nervously
           delve into the depths of the earth
and all things prosper in the warmth
           and retreat or die in the dead of winter

Experience isolated and observed
           picked over and measured
and raised in words that are
           as pincers in the scientific cage
Othello’s handkerchief a specimen
           examined in the Shakespearean frame
Duncan lives on but for a perverse prayer
           Caesar dies in the cold doing of the deed

Flakes of snow alight
           on an impressionist canvas
reality revealed in oils
           thinned with turpentine
and in every gesture
           a remembrance of the destiny
of flesh and blood
           the hue and cry of complaint
in the wilderness and love
           the single solitary comfort

John Lyons

 

The eye of the beholden

Laburnum flowers

The eye of the beholden

There in the neighbour’s garden
           in Doughty Street just a few doors
down from Dickens
           the tall laburnam in full bloom
golden chain or golden rain
           they call it for the bright yellow
trifoliate flowers densely packed
           on the long racemes that dangle
in the warm summer air
           the petals curved upwards
and downwards to form
           a gasp of an open mouth
so as to entice the pollinator
           with a deep sigh to enter
and sex it up : beauty
           is in the eye of the beholden

John Lyons

 

Let that be a lesson

Let that be a lesson

The mind brought
           to its knees
by the body
           will rise again
when the soul heals
           Knowledge
only of the self
           but love steps out
of the comfort zone
           takes risks
will hazard a guess
           takes no no
for an answer
           just as the deer
flees across the hills
           leaps over springs
hides within thickets
           the hunter follows
in hot pursuit
           until the prize is taken

The mind can harbour
           only so many thoughts
only so many
           mixed emotions
but love has its separate
           ways and means
and will never
           accept defeat

John Lyons

 

What is there on this earth

What is there on this earth

What is there on this earth
           that is not of this earth
and what profusion of identities
           from a single source

Every temper and temperament
           under the sun is here
and all things cohere and coalesce
           and all things increase
and all things diminish
           all caught in the curve ball
of time so that age goes
           before beauty

and we are bold enough to ask
           how old is eternity
how wide infinity
           and question all
that the earth affirms
           knowing that our every step
will be counted
           that all our actions
will be judged
           and with every failure to love
our souls will be marked down
           for all time

John Lyons

Phalera bucephala

Phalera bucephala

Phalera bucephala

Or buff-tip—
           a heavy-bodied moth
with grey forewings
           and a prominent buffpatch
at the apex : its hindwings
           are creamy white
but its thoracic hair
           is buff too

A night errant
            it rides the June or July skies
and is pulled but not driven
           to the light
At rest it resembles
           a broken twig :
the deadly laburnam
           is its favoured foodplant

John Lyons