Words alone

Words alone

Although I’m the writer
           I know that sometimes
the words says themselves
           and I have no control
they spill out of me
           with an energy
and a will of their own
           and I read them
subsequently to try
           to understand what
they’re getting at
           and sometimes I succeed
but mostly I fail
           it really is that hit and miss

Other times
           I’m a harvester
I plough through fields
           of words culling
here and there
           a word or phrase
that strikes my fancy
           and some of these words
have pedigree or form
           a rose a tiger a grain of salt
a labyrinth shaped
           by blocks of prose

I remember the blossom
           blowing across the lawns
of my youth
           the fruit that hung heavy
on the branch
           and clear summer nights
seeded with stars
           that never slept

John Lyons


The power of one word


The power of one word

I have a mental picture
           of the poet Frank O’Hara sitting
in his apartment
           on a glorious New York summer’s day
He’s wearing a crisp
           white shirt and new sneakers
and is nervously tapping his fingers
           on his desk in time
to a phrase from Rachmaninoff
           that has been running
through his head
           ever since he woke

Through an open window
           he can also hear the city making
its usual cacophonous dust
           he also has an eye on the clock
: the friend who is giving him
           the ride to the beach is late
and he has so been
           looking forward to the trip

Just then the doorbell rings
           and at once
he is overcome
           by the sudden surge of love
in his heart and struggles
           to get to his feet
fearing he might drown
           in the emotion

John Lyons


Love’s destinations

Love’s destinations

Let’s not talk
of method

or madness
let’s just be

you and I
boy and girl

who moved
along love’s

London to Paris

Berlin to Budapest
Venice to Vienna

let’s not talk
of beginnings

or of ends
but of ever

and a day
and of the special

breath that never
left us

that held us

body and soul
for all time

John Lyons

Time’s petty pace

Heredia_partil view
Stained glass, (oil on canvas)

Time’s petty pace

Tomorrow and tomorrow
           etched in the mind
the word that appeared nightly
           above that building
on the corner
           of Mariahilferstrasse

Neon strips
           letter by letter
illuminating the word
           until complete
and so it remains
           for a minute or so
before vanishing
           into the dense darkness
of the Hapsburg capital
           only to repeat

At times
           thick white cloud
hangs from the horns
           of the moon

Tomorrow and tomorrow
           time creeps its petty pace
until first light of day
           and the deed is done

John Lyons

Watchers of the skies

Watchers of the skies

Watchers of the skies
           we look for planetary movements
that may herald better times
           bringing peace and consolation
to our loveless lives
           and so alleviate the turmoil
in our thankless day to day
           a benevolent moon
to announce
           the entrance of joy
into our favoured house
           our hopes in the ascendant
and a firmament filled
           with the sweet conjunction
of heavenly bodies
           aligned in perfect harmony

John Lyons

Love makes the finest dust

Love makes the finest dust

Think of our words
           as tiny particles of air
moving through the air
           our conversations
a light dusting of love
           all fears all doubts
all hopes all dreams
           expelled from the lungs
so that mine settle on you
           and yours settle on me
the day consumed
           by our banter
and our intermittent
           intimate silences as we allow
our bodies simply to be

Sitting across from you
           one sunny Sunday morning
at La Coupole in Montparnasse
           life never tasted so good
as we sipped at our drinks
           and watched the world go by

John Lyons

The lie of the land

The lie of the land

How silence may be
           the absence of all sound
or the absence of words
           a moment of peace or of tension
of loving or longing
           perhaps thoughtful
perhaps empty and endless
           the topographies of silence
how silent the beauty
           of the rose or of the heather
when it is in full bloom
           in the hills outside Dingle

And so to footsteps
           words that follow
in the footsteps of others
           paths of meaning
stepping from one word
           to another
stepping stones
           along life’s trails
my father’s words
           my mother’s
words for no reason
           other than
that they need to be spoken
           or to be withheld
as befit the silence
           they inhabit

I play on words
           I play with words
I make believe words
           in this make-believe world
this world of words
           and love too
is a make-believe word
            its syntax follows
the lie of the land
           the lay of the heart

John Lyons