Birth of it all

Birth of it all

The simplest of words
           yes and no
and their first articulation
           who first thought
who first uttered
           and where
on which African plain
           who saw a flowing stream
and called it river
           and shared the sound
with another with others
           shaped between tongue
and teeth all manner
           of expressions

a world carried
           in the head
and voiced at will
           the mapping of all things
mobile and fixed
           and who felt that love
and sadness
           were things too
palpable as stone
           present in the light
and in the darkness
           and how speech
           a field of a thousand
           and incorporated
all that the senses
           could apprehend
language that gave
           birth to the earth

John Lyons

Taking pride

Taking pride

Take pride
           in the simplest
of things
           do what must be done
           strip your life back
to what matters
           to who matters
and be aware
           of the whys
and the wherefores
           of what is to be done

Respect those
           who have gone before
but do not allow yourself
           to be shackled to the past
the only respect
           that the dead deserve
is that they loved
and were true to the truth
           the moral questions
never fade
           never alter
the truth is
as is beauty
           as it love

John Lyons

I turn a blind eye

I turn a blind eye

I turn a blind eye
to your beauty
but cut roses
to bring to you

my fingers dripping
with the blood
from the wounds
in the flesh

that the thorns
tore but I turn
a blind eye
to all that

your lips your smile
the light in your eyes
the softness of your skin
the tone of your voice

the consummate calm
of each gesture
as you move
through your day

and the love
the love
I turn a blind eye
to your beauty

John Lyons

Catch me if you can

Catch me if you can

. . . to get down
           among the deeds
to roll one’s sleeves up
           and be prepared
to get one’s hands dirty
           while there’s life
in the old dog
           a change is coming
if we make it
           how the high winds
excite the birds
           they fly back and forth
never perching
           on the swaying branches
and above
           the grey clouds race
and we know that we are
           on the cusp of change
winter dances
           to a different tune
crows veer in the sky
           playing catch me
if you can
           if you dare

John Lyons


Maximus of Gloucester

Maximus of Gloucester

. . . as it has always been
           Olson is talking about
the moral struggle
           here as in America
or ancient Greece
           or down among
the Guatemalan Mayans
           a struggle over the land
over property over
           who owns the fish
in the sea
           does anyone hold
a title to them
           inherited from whom
the origins of ownership
           just as one bird may steal
the food from another
           to feed its young

who owns the discourse
           who owns the language
who owns art and poetry
           the pomposity of some
so-called professionals
           who despise the amateur
who look down on all from
           their towering ignorant egos
Truth is the holy grail
           and beauty shall be known
by its innocence
           by its wholesome disclosure
as it has always been
           the struggle is moral

John Lyons

Final considerations

Final considerations

. . . and now the sun sets
           on a day in which the sky
turned blue end to end
           after the early morning cloud
lifted and dwindled into nothing
           and what has been achieved
what words of consolation
           were uttered and what meeting
of minds occurred
           what satisfaction meted out

How can anyone observe
           the earth and think that chaos
is the norm in this creation
           in which the globe offers us
all we need to engage
           in the pursuit of happiness
distress is a bitter concoction
           poverty and deprivation
are man-made and have no place
           in this the best of all possible worlds

John Lyons

Head in the clouds

Head in the clouds

What living thing
does not die
: the spirit
so they say


and poetry
that cares
for the soul

what brings us
through the wreck
of our lives

the lily
the rose
the tiger
these all die too

in the drift of days
their existence
driven by sunrise
and sunset and the need
for sustenance

not a single word
of comfort
or consolation
no entertainment
no true leisure
which is a slackening
of imperatives

to think of the clouds

whisps of water
borne on high
the stuff of life
before our eyes
the common denominator
without which nothing
or next to nothing

John Lyons

Call it what you will

Call it what you will

So easy to be dismissive
of poetry that demands attention
that rises above the anecdote
that infuses words with fresh energies

we who live upon the life-giving earth
who are all part of a vast process
how the sea clamours at our shores
and the untamed forces that lie

deep beneath the tectonic plates
that shift and tremor and how
through fissures rivers of molten lava
pour through volcanoes bringing

fire ash and brimstone and how
the leaves are slowly turning
green oxidised to rusty yellows
and browns and what was supple

and breathed in the air is now
dry and friable and ready to fall

John Lyons

Kicking back my heels

Kicking back my heels

Today’s stars say
that I should do nothing
that I should relax
that I’ve been working
too hard and that I need
to take a break
to chill out
let time off the leash
and hang loose
not get worked up
about a single thing

today’s stars say
that I’m at risk
of burnout
that I’ve been pushing
myself too hard
taking life too seriously
working my fingers
to the bone
and that I need
to learn a little
Latin mañana
so I will

John Lyons