Poetic mastery

Poetic mastery

How journeyed ?
           thought that leads
                      to shape
shape to thought
           the impulse to create
                                 to innovate
                      to add fresh colour
to revitalize
                    to labour at an idea
from tree
                      to wood
                                            to table
to an installation
           that spells domesticity
                      a home built
                                            from forms
all of which
           are a kind of script
                                 a man-made world
                      by women too
                                            the structures
we inhabit
           our practices
                                   how they shift
with time—
                      all works
of the imagination
           and of these
                      the greatest
                                            is love

John Lyons

 

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It didn’t rain

It didn’t rain

It didn’t rain
           there was no thunder
the storm passed
           and left the world intact
the trees shook a little
           bird nests were rattled
squirrels and foxes
           went to ground
and for a moment
           the sky grew dark
and menacing
           but it didn’t rain
and there was no thunder
           the storm just passed
and left the world intact
           and now it’s now
and the sun is shining
           and people are smiling
and the birds are singing
           foxes are prowling
and I am writing
           now and again

John Lyons

Yellow Flag

pond

Yellow Flag

In the shallow waters
of the pond
on Wimbledon Common
yellow irises thrive
in May and June

Here where water fowl
come to breed
they rise up
with their long
sword-shaped leaves
standing almost a metre tall

As yellow flag or sword-grass
they have entered
the popular imagination
and were once believed
to keep the powers of evil at bay

When herons spot them
from the air they know
that they are close
to a place they can call home

John Lyons

Nijinsky in the woods

Nijinsky in the woods

I’ve noticed how the light
           moves through the woodlands
with great stealth
           how it prowls in bushes
and seeps into the soil
           whenever there is a clearing
and how in nature
           all things talk to each other
in their own special way
           I marvel at the long row of trees
on the edge of the open green
           all standing at the same height
a beautiful emerald chorus line
           swaying this way and that
when the whistling wind blows
           to animate their ballet

John Lyons

Loving memory

bones

Loving memory

On a bronze plaque
           on a bench
in Highgate Wood
           I read :

For Betty Kirby
           who loved to sit here.
From Archie and Finley
           who always sat beside her.
Much loved dearly missed.
           1934- 2008

And in a clearing close by
           the dry bones of trees
piled high
           like elephant tusks
having fought
           their last fight

John Lyons

 

Back in the day

calligraphy.jpg
Cityscape, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Back in the day

Summers
           we would wander up
to the lake
           go boating
or sun ourselves
           in the open air pool
the lake is still there
           the small rowboats
that encouraged the swans
           to keep to themselves

The grass is no greener
           than it was
when we were children
           sometimes the summers
were long and hot
           sometimes not
since then
           so much has passed
and yet still
           so much remains

John Lyons

Increments of awareness

Increments of awareness

What one poet steals
from another
feathers from another nest
tropes of the imagination
deep-mined from seams of thought
words feeling their way
through life
a sequencing of the unconscious
if that makes sense

love is indivisible
it simply cannot be stripped down
to constituent parts
as if to say night
as if to say day
or the sun and the moon
that mope in the heavens
while philosophers doodle
in the dark
and gnarled trees
bend to the will
of prevailing winds

poets steeled
against the inclemency
of indifference

One wonders was Homer
blind from birth
and if not so
whether he ever left home
and sailed to sea

John Lyons