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

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

The one flame

The one flame

From darkness to light
            the diurnal round
sleep and then wake
            go out into the world
and be someone
            who carries an entire
world of language within
            we are all after all
composites of previous
            thought and language

Shakespeare knew
            what it was to be human
and to some small degree
            we know what is was
to be Shakespeare and so
            his words echo in the gut
and while there is
            a spark of life in me
my mind will hop from
            one thought to another
as the same old questions
            repeat time and again
whether or not
            it is nobler in the mind

As a riderless horse
            canters across a field
for no purpose
            other than to feel alive
I love the sound of words
            and names resonate within
they come charged
            with all manner of emotions
love being the strongest
            and in the deepest darkness
the one flame
            that never dies

John Lyons

Music of the spheres

Music of the spheres

Creation
            by the power of the mind
or by the skill of the hand
            in fact both simultaneously
love that I perceive
            through this dense fog of being
that is a pleasure of mind and body
            located in the imagined heart
the hypotenuse that binds
            thought and feeling

Music of the spheres
            or earth echo
all songs of praise
            or in praise of
the power of breath
            As I so breathe
and memory substantial
            sacrosanct
a temple constructed
            to preserve
every inkling of love
            as fingers caress the petals
before raising the rose
            to the lips

She who abides there
            will know for all time
that she is the one
            Poetry a place
not just for the genuine
            but for the clarity
of undisputed emotion
            what moves the soul
through this moving
            creation

John Lyons

 

First date

First date

How to speak
            of that moment in time
before time existed
            and how to measure
that pre-moment
            before the Big Bang
and all our energy
            all our time
all our particles
            date from then
the first date
            hence the expression
stars in their eyes
            is no metaphor

and all our love
            the life and death
of us all contained
            within the cycle
and not a hair
            can be added
or subtracted
            to or from the universe
all the feelings
            the hopes and desires
that we embody
            the quantum mechanics
of our existence
            self-knowledge
data-mined
            in the kiss

John Lyons