Paris France

Paris France

France is a single street
that moves up and down the country

sometimes its centre is Paris
Sometimes it’s Nice or Lyon

But always it’s always a single street
which has no beginning

and no end
And it’s full of French earth

washed by many fine rivers
that flow down from

tall mountains and hills
into the valleys into the sea

John Lyons


Where the river ends

Where the river ends

We who stand
on the edge of space
wave to each other
in the distance
We carry orchids
to bridge the gap
we burn candles
in tribute
to life’s ephemera

We fall

deeper and deeper
into love
until there’s no escape

While on the river
white swans
preen the feathers 
of their reflection
on the still waters

We know where the river

will end and we know
that we will end there

John Lyons

Words from the fragrant portal

Words from the fragrant portal

So the demarcations
of day and night
of here and now
or there
or there
of now and again
the rise and fall
of empires
as it always was
and will be

and love parading

through the streets
of Vienna
strolling hand in hand
under the dark
moonless sky
love in which the body
is taken to its limits
overreaches itself
pours into another
so that it is neither
he nor she

words against the silence

breath against extinction
life and death
universe without limit
time a mere drop
in the ocean

John Lyons

Making sense

Making sense

By a process
of elimination
defining who I am
by describing
what I am not

an admirer of the sea
and of the mountains
the hills and the valleys
shorelines I have
walked along

those I have known
those who have
disowned me
at the tips
of my fingers
on the tip
of my tongue

from the vocal cords
and yet an inner silence
untroubled by meaning
riffs of affection
curled in a ball
of love

John Lyons

The idea of order

The idea of order

Whose spirit is this
that rises every day
that shapes meaning
out of nothing
that defies the seasons
and the passage of time
to sing of roses
and nightingales
to gild the moment
with deep love

a voice driven
by gestures
of the mind
by the ebb
and flow of tides
by moon-phases
a voice that willfully
scatters words
where petals
are wont to lie

John Lyons

Die Idee der Ordnung

Wessen Geist ist das
das steigt jeden Tag
das formt die Bedeutung
aus dem Nichts
das trotzt den Jahreszeiten
und der Lauf der Zeit
von Rosen und Nachtigallen

den Moment vergolden
mit tiefer Liebe ?

eine Stimme getrieben
durch Gesten
aus dem Gedächtnis
von der Ebbe
und Fluss der Gezeiten
durch Mondphasen
eine Stimme, die absichtlich
streut Wörter
wo Blütenblätter
sind gewohnt
sich hinzulegen


To the rising sun

chaos of colour
Chaos of colour, John Lyons (40 x 40, oil on canvas)

To the rising sun

What I’m wondering
           on this lovely morning
is the purpose of it all
           my breath
my beating heart
           a neighbour’s dog
dressed like Napoleon
           believing that they
can conquer the world
           and I’m playing with words
looking forward
           to my next move
and the moon is there
           a reminder
that what goes around
           comes around
the sun has risen
           from the dead of night
and I am in love
           and that’s the truth

John Lyons

Morning moon


Morning moon

The moon is an eye
           high above the horizon
it sees me
           it knows me
gales have blown
           but the moon is wholly
           on this winter morning
birds cavorting
           in the strong breeze
my life continually
           ahead of me

This round disk of perfection

           with it shaded light
bountiful in its message
           of peace
geometries that lie
           at the heart of our being
are thrown into perspective
           and I go calmly
under its silent
           timeless gaze

John Lyons


Der Mond ist ein Auge
           hoch über dem Horizont
es sieht mich
           es kennt mich
Stürme haben geblasen
           aber der Mond ist ganz
           an diesem Wintermorgen
Vögel tummeln sich
           in der starken Brise
mein Leben ständig
           vor mir

Diese runde Scheibe der Perfektion
           damit schattiertes Licht
reichlich in seiner Botschaft
           von Frieden
Geometrien die ruhen
           im Herzen unseres Seins
werden in Perspektive geworfen
           und ich gehe ruhig
unter seinem Schweigen
           zeitloser Blick


The squared universe

The squared universe

That eternal consolation
           that nothing is lost
in the universe
           every breath
just as every grain of sand
           accounted for
every sparrow
           every lily in the field
every sigh of love
           or lament
nothing is lost
           whether among the living
or the dead
           and we are all
of all ages and generations

John Lyons

Das quadratische Universum

Dieser ewige Trost
           dass nichts verloren geht
im Universum
           jeder Atemzug
so wie jedes sandkorn
jeder Spatz
           jede Lilie auf dem Feld
jeder Seufzer der Liebe
           oder jede Klage
nichts ist verloren
           ob unter den Lebenden
oder die Toten
           und wir sind alle
aller Altersgruppen und Generationen

John Lyons

(Übersetzung von John Lyons)

Ainsi s’en va la vie

Apollinaire (1880-1918)

Ainsi s’en va la vie

That’s how life goes
Dear Fernand at the Front
We are delighted
And our spirits are sharp.
We shoot into the dark night,
The Boche fire at the day
We live on History
We dream of Love
And when the shell meows
We always laugh louder
All those in my coop
Make fun of death.

Guillaume Apollinaire

(translation by John Lyons)


Ainsi s’en va la vie
Mon Fernand sur le front
On a l’âme ravie
Et l’esprit méme est prompt.
On tire à la nuit noire,
Le Boche tire au jour
Nous vivons de l’Histoire
Nous rêvons de l’Amour
Et quand l’obus miaule
On rit toujours plus fort
Tous ceux de ma piaule
Se moquent de la mort.