A red robin in Richmond

A red robin in Richmond

The gift of simplicity
            to live an ordinary life
and to admire
            all the simple things
around us

A red robin alights
            on a branch
in a garden
            in Richmond
sent as a reminder
            to draw breath wisely
to be thankful
            for small mercies

Humility is not
            self-abasement
it is keeping close
            to the essential values
of our true nature
            what springs
from the earth

Stripped of all things
            if love remains
we want for nothing
            from love
we draw our strength
            : put simply
love is what it means
            to be human

John Lyons

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Bound in the body

Bound in the body

We who are bound
            in the body
finite within the infinite
            rooted in the earth
although our dreams
            all stem from the stars
We acquire habits
            and qualities and modes
of expression
            we have a language
for everything
            we have memory
and also the capacity
            to forget

And how one body
            attracts another
that’s one
            of the fundamental laws
and what we seek
            in that union
is a haven from life
            a heaven of peace
and love
            and so it creeps
into our metaphors
            and the beloved
looks heavenly
            or out of this world
Baudelaire
            with a different
complexion
            and when we have loved
fulfilled
            we are at rest

John Lyons

Object lesson

Object lesson

It comes as a surprise
            to realise that things
are as we imagine them
            not as they really are

The rose of our imagination
            brings with it a history
a long narrative and a succession
            of previous appearances
in childhood or adolescence
            or when we first as an adult
presented a single bloom
            on a slender stem
to the love of our life
            A rose without thorns
which we handed over
            to the gloved hand
a token to attest
            to a dream
that we carry within us
            of love everlasting

And yet the rose withers
            changing visibly
under the changing light
            a moment to which we cling
hopelessly and a poignant
            drama borne within the bud
and an object lesson to us all
            as the universe flows on

John Lyons

 

Remembering Bruton

Remembering Bruton

As the train left London
            snow began to fall
and we wondered whether
            it would accumulate
but it did and by the time
            we reached Bruton
it lay thickly on the ground
            and we shivered
as we stepped out into the air
            and everywhere whiter
than the sheep
            on the hillside

And that night a whole lamb
            roasted on an open fire
and there was music
            and we danced
and there were fireworks
            and so many people
and so much love
            in your eyes

John Lyons

The simple truth

egg cups

The simple truth

Our breakfast might sometimes
            be as simple as a soft boiled egg
with a slice of toast and some jam
            the big end of the egg pricked
to allow the air sac to void
            when immersed in boiling water

It became something of a ritual
            and I remember how you struggled
to decapitate the egg with a single
            swipe of the knife and how instead
you crushed the shell into tiny pieces
            Our life then was full of meaningful
simplicities shared with a smile
            We knew then in our hearts that
we had been born to be together
            for better or worse for all time

John Lyons

 

Night walk

Night walk

Stepped out last night
            to take the evening air
After a flawless blue sky
            during the day
the heavens completely clear
            a black bed of bright stars

I raise a hand and wave
            to the distant neighbours
we go back a long way
            in fact we’re practically family
and it’s comforting to think
            that there may be someone
out there waving back to me
            it’s not a claustrophobic cosmos

John Lyons

The violinist

The violinist

The bow
            the string
the vibration
            the resonance
the emotion
            my memory
of you
            the dance
of your fingers
            on the neck

Music is light
            transformed
into sound
            warm breath
lending form
            to performance
voice and
            remembrance

John Lyons