Child on a train

Child on a train

In the infant’s eyes
            I see the glint
of innate curiosity
            sitting in his pushchair
his head turning
            this way and that
taking it all in
though as yet
            without language

Arms stretched out
            fingers spread
his attention alternating
            between his parent
and the world
            thinking : mother
what have you
            got me into ?

John Lyons


Snow moon

Snow moon

Was this the snow moon
            poised low above the horizon
in the east this morning
            How the light reveals
and yet plays tricks
            the optical illusions
from rainbows
            to the crock of gold

And how each of us
            longs for a mirage
to relieve the angst
            of our inner deserts
And how we see ourselves cast
            in the planets and in the stars
We dream of Venus
            and of Mars and so set them
on imaginary paths
            How far have the particles
that made me
            travelled in their own
lifetime or yours
            in your lifetime too ?
Extracts as we are
            of distant energies
we bear the imprint
            of the universe
in our disparate souls
            and in our love
that seeks to bind
            the cosmic dust
into a marriage
            of perfect being

John Lyons


Shakespeare’s pulse

Shakespeare’s pulse

Shakespeare’s pulse
            is in the language
his poetry speaks
            for itself
and he offers
            no explanation
Simply put
            it is what the words say
The culture is not
            in the knowledge
but in the expression
            He puts breath
into desire
            and all those questions
that make us human
            and so we wonder
and we want
            but only love
brings reconciliation
            and contentment

John Lyons

The tender bones of it

The tender bones of it

A love of firm purpose
            a constancy and yet
an intimate intricate
Life structured as a dance
            for one who moves lightly
on her feet
            whose gestures engage
with another
            whose fingers count the hours
whose lips savour their secret
            whose hips gently sway
in the partner’s presence
            whose soul captures the flow
of a unifying universe
            in which mountains rise and fall
with the seasons
            whose words and deeds
are but rarefied variations
            on a solid theme
She who is beauty to the eye
            she whose satin soft skin
glows with life’s pleasure
            rare creature born to love

John Lyons


Keeping track of the past


Keeping track of the past

I keep restaurant bills and
            museum and cinema tickets
as markers in the books I read
            I know that on February 10th
2017 we visited the Guggenheim
            on that magical trip to Venice

Peggy Guggenheim who collected
            artists and writers and paintings
: and we who held our own
            special collections of words
to describe who we were as walkers
            and talkers and so much more
So I always know where we once were
            but I’m not so sure where you are now

John Lyons

Crocuses on the lawns

Crocuses on the lawn

It’s February
            and there are crocuses
on the lawns
            their gold and violet leaves
enjoying the balmy spring air
            From bulbs that lie
below the surface
            they suddenly appear
as if out of nowhere
            but they are messengers
and they bring good cheer
            the worst may not be over
but it’s good to be alive
            and this just may be the year
when love comes your way
            and comes to stay

John Lyons

Poem, by Paul Verlaine

Paul Verlaine

Above the roof, the sky’s
So blue, so calm!
Above the roof, a tree
Waves its leaves.  

The bell, in the sky we see,
Is softly ringing.
On the tree we see a bird
Singing its sad song.  

My God, my God, life is there,
Simple and tranquil.
This peaceful sound
Comes from the town.  

And you there, what have you done,
With your endless tears,
Tell me, you, what have you done,
With your younger years?

Paul-Marie Verlaine (1844 – 1896) 

Translation by John Lyons


Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu’on voit,
Doucement tinte.
Un oiseau sur l’arbre qu’on voit,
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

– Qu’as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse,
Dis, qu’as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse ?

Musée d’Orsay 

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Musée d’Orsay 

A place of memories
            of you and I
where we once were
            of days gone by
when love was love
            so easy on the lips
as hand in hand
            we strolled
through our life
            without a care

A terminus
            where works of art
end their days
            marooned for all time
in this huge hall under the eye
            of the clock

A place in the memory
            in the heart and soul
of tenderness and love
            that never fades
that never ends
            will never die

John Lyons

An aside on Wallace Stevens

An aside on Wallace Stevens

I read him for the granulations of time
            for the immaculate imagery
with which he sketches our existence
            the true interior life that sums us up
for the transparence of place he inhabits
            and for the thoughtfulness of his voice

He is a master of landscapes
            of rivers and mountains and plains
and trees and blackbirds with an acute eye
            for anything that moves
in a field of snow
            and in his observations he is always
central and necessary and just as the stars
            he stands naked in the cosmos

How often do we note that the sea
            breaks on the edges of his lines
that are composed
            for oboe or hautboy
intuitive melodies to be performed
            in the haunted forests of our cities
evoking all those unsettling truths
            so deeply buried in our blood

John Lyons