Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

The early morning
           chatter of birds
never idle
           never pointless

a roll call
and fighting fit
           here I am

let the day begin
           bring it on
time may ruffle
           our feathers

but it will never
           defeat us
and by God it’s great
           to be alive

John Lyons



Shades of love

Shades of love

With silver light
           the sun sets
handing the day
           to night

in the darkness
           your body my horizon
your murmur
          sound of the sea

the moon hides
           in the tall trees
their branches
           winnowing the wind

love’s simplicity
           defies definition
but my heart
           never tires of its song

John Lyons


Lip service to love

Lip service to love

April showers May flowers
           Bluebells line the railway line
the sun hides in the sky
           and at night the darkness
beats at my window
           I see silence all around me
I hear it in my heart
           the stillness of trees
that long for birds
           to alight on their branches

April flowers May showers
           and lambs frolic in the fields
the beautiful illusion of blue skies
           and summer silences
At night the world curls
           into a ball
sleeps by my door
           until first light
when untrammelled dreams
           unravel before my eyes
an occupational hazard
           pays lip service to love

John Lyons


Palette portrait

Palette Portrait

So many times
           I slept by your side
woke before you
           and lay there
admiring the beauty
           you embody
the softness of your breath
           your lips pursed
the calm assurance
           with which you dreamt
your cares away
           I longed for you to wake
but waited patiently
           until your eyelids
began to flicker
           and finally opened
and welcomed me
           with a smile
into your heart
           my love

John Lyons








The dry dust
           of those summer months
the clink of metal ball
           upon metal ball –
lives played out
           in those quaint village squares
where the mimosa’s faded blooms
           are trodden under foot
where the lovers
           who once lived there
are long gone –
           and where time
clings to time
           for dear life

John Lyons

Version en français


La poussière sèche
           de ces mois d’été
le tintement de la balle en métal
           sur une balle en métal –
vies jouées
           dans ces pittoresques places de village
où les fleurs fanées du mimosa
           sont foulées par terre
où les amants
           qu’y ont vécu
sont depuis longtemps partis –
           et où le temps
s’accroche au temps
           pour chère vie

The poet’s prayer

The poet’s prayer

Flesh pricked on the briar
           blood of my blood
let the proud rose be rose
           let the sweet nightingale sing
let love be love
           true only to itself –
no simulations no deception
           pure as the night is long
gentle as our days
           are numbered

John Lyons

The shape of silence

The shape of silence

The shape of silence
           the space filled
by your absence –
           by words unsaid
by gestures unmade
           – memories
the only oxygen
           keeping me alive

The shape of silence
           in the world at large
– places walked
           bridges crossed
down by the riverside
           in the shadow
of the Tower
           past Traitor’s Gate
as the river rose
           as the river fell
slipping away silently
           to drown at sea

The shape of silence
           in the night
in the chambers
           of my heart
John Lyons

Sweet stay a while

Sweet stay a while

At dawn I rise
           from my bed of flesh
and re-enter the world
           of words

her flesh is warm
           and soft and comforting
but I must disentangle
           from her arms and stand
to address the day
           that waits at my door

in her eyes
           the clouds of sleep
drift still
           beauty is timeless
though it clings
           to memory

the poetry of peace
           and justice melts
into the heart
           of love

John Lyons

At La Closerie des Lilas


At La Closerie des Lilas

That evening we spent
           with Ulyana and her friend
talking over a bottle of wine
           while the shades of Cézanne
and Oscar Wilde moved
           among the tables

There where the Surrealists
           once came to blows
with their opponents
           you talked of the politics
dividing the Ukrainians
           of Philadelphia
the egos and the rivalries
           the desire to control

there where back in the day
           Picasso and Modigliani
came calmly to chat
           and Joyce and Beckett
and on occasions
           Gertrude Stein

and Hemingway
           of course
in every bar

But I’d gladly return there
           with you if you would too :
would you ?


John Lyons