The colour of love

forcefield
The colour of love, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

The colour of love

Colours
           that rise
within me
           that burn
with passion
           that consume me
that fire me up
           that spur me on
to express
           what is
within me
           a cloud
of feelings
           a constant
effervescence
           of colours
that coalesce
           into shapes
and gestures
           that are
a subscript
           for love

John Lyons

A bravura of the mind

A bravura of the mind

And yet
           what is mind ?
Say that we are
           textual beings
readers of all things
           say that words are
our common currency
           our feelings
put into breath
           our ideas
all notions
           of time and space
all relationships
           and especially
that shared passion
           we call love

John Lyons

Nastic movement

Anemone

Nastic movement

Male and female
in the meadow

a swathe
of red anemones

petals that open
as the day dawns

that close
as night falls

delicate pinks
and whites

that both
expose

and in turn
enclose

the womb-like bed
upon which future

generations
are conceived

John Lyons


Nastische Bewegung

Mann und Frau
auf der Wiese

ein Schwall
roter Anemonen

Blütenblätter die sich
im Morgengrauen öffnen

so nah wie die Nacht
hereinbricht

zarte rosa und weiß
die beide aussetzen

und schließen Sie der Reihe
nach das mutterschoßartige Bett ein

auf dem zukünftige Generationen
empfangen werden

The past of rich remembrance

 

The past of rich remembrance

The past of rich remembrance
the smell of it under blue skies

the taste and touch of it
endless hope stretching out

beyond days beyond years
lounging on summer lawns

or under the innocent shade of trees
there where in her eyes I once saw

there is such a thing as heaven
somewhere I so longed to be

John Lyons

Survival of the fittest

Survival of the fittest

Left to its own devices
           nature will always
reassert itself
           Every species
struggles in the face
           of adversity
longs to survive
           and that’s a fact

The foxes have grown fat
           living off the fat of the land
the urban foxes once
           skinny and mangy
now have bright coats
           and they strut
from back garden
           to back garden
as though they were
           the kings of the pile

John Lyons


 

Überleben der Stärksten

Auf sich allein gestellt
setzt sich die Natur
immer wieder durch
Jede Spezies kämpft
angesichts von Widrigkeiten
ums Überleben
und das ist eine Tatsache

Die Füchse sind fett geworden
und leben vom Fett des Landes
die Stadtfüchse einst dünn und räudig
haben jetzt helle Mäntel
und sie stolzieren
von Garten zu Garten
als wären sie
die Könige des Haufens

 

Wild flowers

Wild flowers

Oceans of them
           line the roads
through the woods
           border the edges
of the water-runlets
           grow all along the old fences
and are scattered in profusion
           over the fields

An eight-petalled blossom
           of gold-yellow clear and bright
with a brown tuft in the middle
           nearly as large as a silver half-dollar
is very common : yesterday
           on a long drive I noticed it
thickly lining the borders
           of the brooks everywhere

Then there is a beautiful weed
           covered with blue flowers
however white is the prevailing colour
           but there are all hues and beauties
especially on the frequent tracts
           of half-opened scrub-oak
and dwarf cedar hereabout
           —wild asters of all colours
Despite the frost-touch
           the hardy little chaps
maintain themselves
           in all their bloom

Walt Whitman

(Adapted by John Lyons from Specimen Days, first published in 1882.)

 

Draw up the balance

Draw up the balance

Make a list
of all the things
we all do
we must do
or die
make a list
of all the things
we can do
we can all do

it’s a big world
for so many
small minds

make a list
of all the positives
of all the negatives
draw up
the balance sheet
be grateful for
some things
militate for others

make a list of all
that makes you
happy
make a list of all
that makes you
sad
choose a partner
and compare notes

John Lyons

Piano practice – Übung am Klavier

Rainer-Maria-Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke

Piano practice

The summer drones. The afternoon drags;
confused she sensed the freshness of her dress
and put into the compelling étude
her impatience for something real

that might appear: tomorrow, that evening—,
that perhaps was already there, albeit hidden;
and through the high panoramic windows
suddenly she glimpsed the rain-soaked grounds.

Then she stopped playing; looked out, folded
her hands; longed for a thick book—
and abruptly dismissed the jasmine scent.
She found that it made her sick.

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
(translation by John Lyons)


Übung am Klavier

Der Sommer summt. Der Nachmittag macht müde; 
sie atmete verwirrt ihr frisches Kleid 
und legte in die triftige Etüde 
die Ungeduld nach einer Wirklichkeit, 

die kommen konnte: morgen, heute abend—, 
die vielleicht da war, die man nur verbarg; 
und vor den Fenstern, hoch und alles habend, 
empfand sie plötzlich den verwöhnten Park. 

Da brach sie ab; schaute hinaus, verschränkte 
die Hände; wünschte sich ein langes Buch—
und schob auf einmal den Jasmingeruch 
erzürnt zurück. Sie fand, daß er sie kränkte. 

Rainer Maria Rilke
(translation by John Lyons)

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