All night it rained

All night it rained

All night it rained
all night the wind howled

all night he expected a call
rain beat against the windows

the wind shook the eaves
there was complete darkness

an absolute human silence
amid the storm : but no call came

though he waited all night
and longed to hear her voice

John Lyons


Die ganze Nacht hat es geregnet

Die ganze Nacht hat es geregnet
die ganze Nacht heulte der Wind

die ganze Nacht erwartete er einen Anruf
Regen schlug gegen die Fenster

Der Wind schüttelte die Traufe
es herrschte völlige Dunkelheit

eine absolute menschliche Stille
inmitten des Sturms: aber es kam kein Ruf

obwohl er die ganze Nacht gewartet hat
und sehnte sich danach, ihre Stimme zu hören

Übersetzt von John Lyons

Palpable spring indeed

Palpable spring indeed

Palpable spring indeed
           or the indications of it
I’m sitting in bright sunshine
           at the edge of the creek
the surface just rippled by the wind
           all is solitude
morning freshness
           negligence

For companions my two kingfishers
           sailing winding darting dipping
sometimes capriciously separate
           then flying together
I hear their guttural twittering
           again and again

As noon approaches
           other birds warm up
the reedy notes of the robin
           and now and then through the trees
the sibilant murmur
           of a stiff breeze

Then a poor dead leaf
           long frost-bound
whirls from somewhere up aloft
           in one wild escaped freedom-spree
in space and sunlight
           and then dashes down
to the waters
           which soon drown it out of sight

The bushes and trees
           are yet bare
but the beeches have
           their wrinkled yellow leaves
of last season’s foliage largely left
           frequent cedars and pines still green
and the grass not without proofs
           of coming fullness

And over all a wonderfully fine dome
           of clear blue
the play of light
           coming and going
and great fleeces of white clouds
           swimming by so silently

Walt Whitman


Adapted by John Lyons from Specimen Days (1882)

The ecology of justice

The ecology of justice

These magpies
           with their plump
white bellies
           rule the air

scattered on high branches
           they gather in groups
and sit in judgment
           upon us

I remember the white walls
           the cold damp bedrooms
the peeling eggshell distemper
           a pale sky that stretched
beyond the horizon
           and magpies sitting
on the tall trees
           at the rear of the garden
or swooping down
           onto the lawn

they sat in judgment then
           and sit in judgment now
they find us guilty
           guilty as charged

John Lyons

All part of it

All part of it

Yesterday
           two blue-tits
first one
           then another
sitting on a branch
           that gently sways
under their slight
           weight

They don’t stay long
           just long enough
for me to notice them :
           their song
is indecipherable
           but I get the message

John Lyons

Early morning musing

flowers 2020
2020 flowers, John Lyons (oil on wood)

Early morning musing

Beautiful mottled January sky
           light illuminating
shreds of grey cloud
           birds engaged
in aimless enjoyment
           the to and fro of their lives

the year is on the turn
           there may be better days to come
but this is one of the best so far
           and it feels good
to be alive
           to know that there is love
in the world
           and to be a part of it

John Lyons

Words from the bridge

Words from the bridge

And again we ask
           how many dawns
and what lasts
           unbroken
on the wheel of time
           what is built to last
a bridge or a cathedral
           or a castle in the sky
yet what outlasts them all
           is the word

Even though the language dies
           the words remain
intact somewhere
           in the collective mind
What lasts
           is what returns
time and time again
           promises and vows
and declarations
           of love

its ebb and flow
           amid the light
and the darkness
           Love lasts
love the word
           verb and noun
the love forever
           on lovers’ lips

John Lyons