The great sculptor

The great sculptor

Never forget that nature
           is the great sculptor
we are surrounded on all sides
           by beautiful shapes
most so common
           that we take them for granted

Yesterday I walked across
           a gently undulated park
tramped through a field of daisies
           and admired the breathtaking
splendour of so many trees
           the shape of which
was known from the seed :
           love too known
from the moment
           it seeds in our hearts

John Lyons


Sonnets to Orpheus, Sonnet x

Sonnets to Orpheus

Sonnet x

I greet you who never left my heart
ancient sarcophagi through which
the happy waters of Roman days
flow like a wandering song.
Or those as open as the eyes
of a happy shepherd upon awakening
– full of silence and the sucking of bees –
around whom enchanted butterflies flutter;
I greet all those wrenched from doubt,
mouth again agape who already knew
what it means to be silent
We know, my friends, don’t we know?
Both configure the hour that wavers  
on the human face.

Rainer Maria Rilke
(translated by John Lyons)


Die Sonette an Orpheus

Sonett X

Euch, die ihr nie mein Gefühl verließt,
grüß ich, antikische Sarkophage,
die das fröhliche Wasser römischer Tage
als ein wandelndes Lied durchfließt.

Oder jene so offenen, wie das Aug
eines frohen erwachenden Hirten,
—innen voll Stille und Bienensaug—
denen entzückte Falter entschwirrten;

alle, die man dem Zweifel entreißt,
grüß ich, die wiedergeöffneten Munde,
die schon wußten, was schweigen heißt.

Wissen wirs, Freunde, wissen wirs nicht?
Beides bildet die zögernde Stunde
in dem menschlichen Angesicht.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Reflections on a frosted glass

Reflections on a frosted glass

What does it take
           for us to be as we are
fully and freely
           to love as love is intended
and to create beauty
           in every thought
word and deed
           of our existence ?

poetry and dance
           the voice and movement
of angels
           leaps of the imagination
into the darkness out of which
           all creation emerges

Love is not a thing
           it is the soul of our being
impossible to be defined
           or circumscribed
by words alone
           What does it take
to be who we are bound
           to be ?

John Lyons


Stardom, John Lyons (50 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)


I carry my silence with me
           it’s a place in which trees
and plants and the whole
           of nature exist without words
the pure being unqualified
           by thought or even feeling

in this place there is love
           that demands no expression
love as the air moves
           through my lungs
love as the blood courses
           through my veins
love that resolves
           the mystery of the universe
so that I no longer ask
           why stars ?
we – you and I – are the light
           that illuminates
the darkness
           we are warmth

I cannot see everywhere

           that I am
I can only be
           as I am

John Lyons

Infant poem

Infant poem

Lookee here
a new-born poem
swaddled in words
it has nothing to say
it just is

in time
it will shed time
but for now
just let it be

see how it gurgles
and foams at the mouth
its whole life ahead
one of laughter and love

in time
it will shed time
but for now
just let it be

John Lyons



At sunrise
           the pure clear sound
of the meadow lark
           and later
some notes
           few and simple
yet delicious and perfect
           from the bush-sparrow—
towards noon the reedy trill
           of the robin

Today is the fairest
           sweetest yet
penetrating warmth
           a lovely veil in the air
partly heat-vapour
           and partly from the turf-fires
everywhere in patches
           on the farms

A group of soft maples near by
           silently bursts out in crimson tips
buzzing all day with busy bees
           The white sails
of sloops and schooners
           glide up and down the river
and long trains of cars
           with ponderous roll
or faint bell notes
           almost constantly
on the opposite shore
           The earliest wild flowers
in the woods and fields,
           spicy arbutus
blue liverwort
           frail anemone
and the pretty white blossoms
           of the bloodroot

As I go along the roads
           I like to see the farmers’ fires
in patches
           burning the dry brush
turf and debris
           How the smoke crawls along
flat to the ground slanting
           slowly rising
reaching away
           and at last dissipating

Walt Whitman

(adapted by John Lyons)


A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

It’s been a good year
for the foxes
they all turn up
in the back garden
looking well-fed
in their rich dense fur

I’ve observed them
gathering from time to time
on the shed roof
when the sun is out
and watched them taking note
of everything around them

in particular
they have been studying
the agility of the cats
that appear every so often
that wander back and forth
prima donnas
paying no attention to anything
other than themselves

and today
for the first time
I saw not one fox but three
walk along the edge
of a garden fence
with all the nonchalance
of their feline friends
first they played tag
gambolling amid the tufts
of the tall grass
before one by one
they leapt onto the wall
and with perfect balance
strutted across
the thin wooden bar
professionals all the way

John Lyons



Matters of life and death
the world gripped
in the vise
of coronavirus

devil may care
no longer an option
the sudden exposure
to vulnerability

and we are all
in this together
the global community
dramatically at risk

disruption and uncertainty
take nothing for granted
live life to the limits
of love and compassion

John Lyons


Questões de vida e morte
o mundo preso
no torno
de coronavírus

o diabo pode se importar
não é mais uma opção
a súbita exposição
à vulnerabilidade

e somos todos
nisso juntos
a comunidade global
dramaticamente em risco

perturbação e incerteza
tomar nada como garantido
viva a vida até os limites
do amor e da compaixão