Out of the rolling ocean

Out of the rolling ocean

Out of the rolling ocean
           whispering you came to me
from afar out of the crowd
           you came from the irresistible sea
and I who had travelled so far
           merely to see you
merely to touch you
           was touched by your beauty
by the silence of your breath
           out of the rolling ocean

and looking so I feared
           that I might lose you
back into the cohesive crowd
           and so remain separated
in space and time
           the land torn from the ocean
and no more hold you
           at sundown when gulls
salute the air nor die again
           for your sweet love

John Lyons

Based on a poem by Walt Whitman, “Out of the Rolling Ocean Crowd”




Soft-falling rain

Soft-falling rain

Soft-falling rain
through the night

the birdsong sharp
in the damp air

Those who have
dreams will wake

to fulfil them
those who have none

will linger in their beds
Soft-falling rain

has settled the dust
has refreshed the earth

where the dead lie
biding their time

John Lyons


Sure on this shining night

Coloured moon

Sure on this shining night

Sure on this shining night
not a shadow not a sound
and love lies west of me
as the earth tips into winter

all is sorrow all is pain
until words come again
to heal my aching heart

She would be silence
though I would have her
laugh and sing and dance
as once we did together

Sure on this shining night
my destiny lies in her hands

John Lyons

Based on a poem by James Agee, “Sure on this shining night”

The sweet taste of time

The sweet taste of time

The lucidities of love
           voiced in the unending desire
to touch that body of feelings
           that she embodies
to yield to that state of grace
           in her eager eyes
in her outstretched arms
           into which one enters effortlessly
so as to capture the sweet taste
           of time on her lips

Dawn glow of red sky
           fired by the rising sun
that warms the earth
           with its ardent light
drives lovers into
           each others arms
fills the world with passion
           beyond calibration
combustible love that lives
           for itself within itself
that knowing no other
           admits no retraction

John Lyons

Tender stars

Fabric, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Tender stars

and the origin
           of tenderness
there in the stars
           warmth and vibration
the dance of atoms
           and molecules

and how we identify
           with faces and places
kindred energies
           all bound
in the same direction
           the lines on our faces

drawn in time
           desperate always
to prove that we
           were here

and if we had
           nothing but love
in our lives
           wouldn’t we be
more than satisfied just
           making each other’s day

sleeping under
           the innocent
moonlight celebrating
           the origin

of our primal being
           that lifts us up
through tenderness
           and desire
into an eternal

John Lyons

One long question

Creation, John Lyons (oil on plastic)

One long question

Who is to say what life is
           breath as we know it
flesh as we know it
           the division of cells
as we know it
           and endless growth
and reproduction
           and when it was
that mind first entered
           the universe

and names were assigned
           and contemplation
became the order of the day
           and consciousness arose
and feelings of love and of loss
           and dreams bridged the gap
between sleeping and waking
           and art appeared
in the image and likeness
           and the tongue was first
set loose upon the world
           never again to be silenced

John Lyons

All about the birth

Birth mother, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

All about the birth

Birth is another name for cosmos
           birth and the process of birth
all of us born from that moment
           when moment came into being
the birth of being
           of space and substance
of time after time
           and perpetual growth
the birth of talents and skills
           and hopes and dreams
of loves and joy
           the pangs of heartbreak
and the pain of despair
           and whether to be
or not to be
           from conception
to conclusion :
           birth. . .

And the purposing

           of all energies
towards higher goals
           towards achievement
and wholeness
           being at one
with the beating heart
           of the creating world

John Lyons