Bones that yearn

archaeology
Bones, John Lyons (coffee grounds and oil on canvas)

Bones that yearn

Bones that yearn
for other bones
out of the earth
into the earth

coffee grounds
and yellow cadmium
eyes turning
one toward the other

only love heals
the scars left
by love

winsome
her hazel eyes
her lips
a celebration

love woven
on the loom
of her life

bones
and the echo
of other bones
long gone

Venus sidles up
to the moon
and for a brief
moment

it illuminates
their love
their bodies turning
in unison

time will one day
sweep them away
for ever conjoined
their dust

their bones
laid to rest
for a single
eternity

John Lyons

By my own hand, 2015

self-portrait
The poet, John Lyons (charcoal on paper)

By my own hand, 2015

In the process of being
           this is whom I once was
before being
           who I am now

A portrait
           by my own hand
by my own eyes
           on A4 vellum
in pen pencil
           and charcoal

this is
           the crushed ash
of whom
           I once was
will be again
           caught here
just before
           love struck

John Lyons

Snail’s pace

tray
Tray, John Lyons (oil on aluminium)

Snail’s pace

Under the cover of darkness
snails engage in erratic movement

leaving a thin trail behind them :
survival of the species demands

that they seek out new sources
of nutrition in order

to secure their line
energy to drag their shells

forward into the future
just as I leave in my wake

a haphazard dribble
of words and colours

John Lyons

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Hiroshima Mon Amour

The green water is flat
and barely moving
its shimmering surface
carries the liquid reflection
of a couple

it is any time
any place where lovers
might be observed
there is silence
they are embracing

kisses are timeless
infinitesimal hiccups
in the senseless exploding
universe

but they are also
purpose
energies directed
pianissimo
from the heart

they are also language
wordless articulations
a commonwealth of feelings
of shared emotions
as if nothing else
matters in the world

John Lyons


Revised

Lost in words

Lost in words

After the violent storm
           the silence
the stillness
           a period of recuperation
strolling at night
           beneath the stars
little movement
           in the trees
no birdsong
           the moon not visible
a pleasant temperature
           a lightness in our steps

How easy it is at times
           to be human
and yet at other times less so
           our shifting lives
and the treacherous illusions
           of our logic

Heavy thoughts
           when the soul is hurt
when love has been
           withdrawn
and we become
           lost in words
when our pain
           has nowhere to turn

John Lyons


Revised

Les Illuminations

Unfinished II
Eggshell, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Les Illuminations

Bursts of lightning
           scattering the darkness
thick drops of rain
           beating against the pane

I stare out
           across the green horizon
: yesterday a butterfly
           today a moth
come to bury its eggs
           in her cashmere

she counts her trinkets
           under an atrocious moon
a sad child squats
           in silence

John Lyons

Unfinished business

unfinished business
Unfinished business, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Unfinished business

The colours we lay down
           over the years in our lives
the different textures
           of relationships
the shapes we make
           with our world materials

Expressions of joy
           or of pain
or of mystification
           expressions of love
our markers
           and our touchstones

Love was only ever good
           in the making of it
in the breathing of it
           generosities of the soul
affections so worded
           that they warmed the heart
but life so fragmentary
           and cursed by ambition
bonds broken
           for thirty pieces of silver

John Lyons

Where blood thickens

Where blood thickens

This is where the blood thickens
with time with age
with hair losing its natural colour
with skin becoming dry
and lined with the bitter-sweet
badges of experience

This is where the only lessons learnt
are self-taught and remembrance
threatens to overwhelm
with constant impulses to return
to what was in any case
dysfunctional and unsatisfactory
out of keel and unbalanced

it takes skill to live life
with passion whilst not offending
justice and good sense
nor to be duped
by honey-tongued princesses
Recall the calves
the thick varicose veins
the spent knees
and the multiplicities of indifference

You who are needful of a human life
grasp it while you can
be muscular in your pursuit of love
fearless in your acts of pleasure
repay tenderness in kind
and seek what wisdom lies
deep behind the eyes
remember too that the rose
once dwelt in the stars
as did its thorns
as did your bones
and hers too

John Lyons

Tunes on an old guitar

Tunes on an old guitar

So that’s life
things as they are
the days and the hours
love and its absence
melody and monotone
restless fingers plucking
at an old guitar
the buzz of flies
around what is dead
the buzz of bees
around bounteous nectar

things as they are
such as desire
such as love
such as consummation
such as indifference
such as loss
the nothing-changingness
of abandonment

hence the poets’

drifting ships
and he who stoppeth
one in three
a life that leans
into the shadows
ducks to avoid
the scrutiny of light
steers by way
of wayward stars
head floundering
in the clouds

things as they are
or were
the leaden lips
of a dead kiss
memories taken
by the throat
poetry a work
of the mind
things as they are
or as they were
once
but enough

John Lyons

The vernacular of light

The vernacular of light

Attuned to the eloquence of light
and shifting shades of darkness
all our perceptions coloured
by subtle changes of circumstance

a poetry steeped in mindful inflections

number breath and melody
the immense orchestration of life
whether in the busy thoroughfares
or simply contemplating an empty
landscape or watching the foamy sea
sift through sand on the shore

there were thirteen blackbirds

all of which took to the air
spread wings and flew out
beyond the poem back to where
they belonged in the innocence
of non-judgmental nature
poetry : the sacrament of praise

John Lyons