Autumn naturally

Autumn naturally

Let’s face it
           the leaves are dead
a gust of wind
           sends them up into the sky
and for a while they float
           as they come drifting down
to the ground
           and I see them
from the bay window
           and think that there’s
a lesson to be learnt here
           green gone to a golden rust
supple life turned
           friable to the touch
and all of this
           the way of the world
but the atoms are not dead
           and I know of no way
in which they might
           decompose : surely
they will enter the earth
           and be drawn up
via the web of roots
           to flourish once again
on a living branch
           one distant spring
that I doubt you or I
           will ever see

John Lyons

 

The courtyard

Jorge_Luis_Borges
Jorge Luis Borges

The courtyard

As night fell
the two or three colours of the courtyard grew tired.
This evening, the moon, the bright circle,
does not dominate its space.
Courtyard, funnelled sky.
The courtyard is the slope
down which the sky pours into the house.
Serene,
eternity awaits at the stars’ crossroad.
How pleasant to live in the obscure companionship
of a hallway, a water tank and a vine.

Jorge Luis Borges

Translated by John Lyons


Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986) was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Hispanic Literature.  

 

Life on Mars

landscape2
Landscape, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Life on Mars

Flocks of small birds
           maybe a hundred or more
flying in dark clouds
           that resemble bee swarms
or the swarms of ions
           and electrons in gases
while the Mars rover
           sends back graphic images
of what climate change
           can do to a planet

Dust
           as far as the eye can see
and a barren loveless surface
           and what we most long for
is life
           here or anywhere else
in the universe
           rich fertile recreational life
in every shape and form
           warm technicolor life
and the atomic pulse of love
           that never dies

John Lyons

The powers that be

The powers that be

Somehow it all makes sense
           and by that I mean the matter of life
I mean that element of the universe
           that does not die but goes on and on
from here to eternity
           from the first three seconds of creation
to now and beyond
           the energy and mass of the cosmos
and how one is relayed to the other
           and life is the origin of life
just as love is the origin of love
           and nature that hunkers down
for the long winter months
           but as it does so is already
hatching a plan to return in spring
           jealously guarding its secret blossom
until the time is right and it can show
           to the world that it cannot be stopped

Resurrection is relentless because it is
           the ultimate means of survival
and there is not a single form of life
           that is ever ready and willing
to give up the ghost
           to lay down and die

John Lyons

Love’s secret meanings

Love’s secret meanings

It’s not just anybody’s world
           it is our world
shaped by our choices
           and by our actions
and by the accumulation
           of gestures and words
that jealously guard
           their secret meaning

Think of the flowers
           that have come and gone
richly-coloured roses
           irises and orchids
think of the meals shared
           along with stretches
of the river
           and airport waiting lounges

Think of all the streets
           where we have left
a little of our dust
           think of the love
in all its intimacy
           that nobody
but you and I
           have known

John Lyons

We two how long we loved

We two how long we loved

We two how long we loved
           held each others’ lives in our lives
lived among trees and rocks
           and cities walled with steel and glass
travelled down to the shore
           watched the infinite waves roll in
trod the sand and sheltered
           from the wind

We two who braved the bitter cold
           or sought shade when temperatures rose
we who despised the predatory hawks
           who seek only to pick life to pieces
we who dreamt of a land of milk and honey
           and woke each day to the scent of orchids
bedded all our hopes in the power of love
           prayed to the resplendent sun of blue skies
we two whose paths drew the same circles
           found freedom and trust and beauty and delight
in the simple day after day after day
           after day side by side

John Lyons

What endures

What endures

What endures
           may not be love
but memory of love
           how one person’s breath
can turn you wild
           the warmth of her body
against yours
           the words
and the silences
           shared

What endures
           is the light
from distant stars
           that you observe
on a cold winter night
           and you shiver
with delight
           and the memory
of those dreams
           that hung
upon those stars
           back in the day

John Lyons

Beauty and perfection

Beauty and perfection

It’s Saturday once again
           and I feel
I’ve been here before
           low-lying cloud
and drizzle at the windows
           and a sense
that in my pursuit of perfection
           I have failed once again

not that that will ever
           stop me trying
what else is there to strive for
           but beauty and perfection
and the skill to know it
           when you see it
to enjoy it while you can
           if you can

A rose is perfect
           whoever bought
a bouquet of imperfect roses
           : beauty and perfection
supported by a life
           of trial and error

The rain intensifies
           and I just know
it’s settling in for the day
           throwing me back
on my resources
           Today I’ll try
not to think of love
           I’ve been drowning
in that word for so long
           Let’s say that
my words are love
           and leave it at that

John Lyons

Meditation in times of love

Meditation in times of love

Life can sometimes seem so serious
           that it is difficult to distinguish
between one emergency or another
           and there are no guides
you simply have to live your way
           through it every man woman and child
and the suspense can be killing or not
           depending on the emotional weather

We live constantly on the edge
           expecting approbation and beauty
and a life all rolled into one
           every dream ever wished upon a star

So she walks into my life

           a glamorous insurgence
and all at once I am at war with myself
           she is pale and the wind shapes her hair
so that it billows in the way Botticelli chose for Venus
           and we wander through the gallery
chasing images to take home and outside
           the streets somehow have emptied
and we have the city to ourselves
           which is how love feels
a delicious emergency of the heart
           and there is no darkness
and there are no secrets
           and no pain intrudes other than
that of separation when the time comes
           though I remember praying
that it would never come
           and that no dust would ever settle
between us and that no spring
           would ever fail

John Lyons