Generations of stars

Generations of stars

Generations of leaves
       have fallen
will fall
       She leaves in winter
and returns in the fall

Generations of lovers
       have filled
will fill the earth
       with their joy

My love left
       without so much
as a by your leave
       Blue sky today
       I read
turn over a new leaf
       We live in the light

Generations of stars

       have taught us
that time withers
       on the oak branch
that fruit falls
       and flesh perishes
but life rises up
       out of the dust
that stars age into

John Lyons

Critical light

Critical light

Critical light
            immaterial time
the distance
two objects

the universe
            a play on light
without which
            no beauty

            the mind’s eye
a play on words
            or colours
or textures
            or dimensions
multiples of three

the poet
            who was
of three minds

a blackbird
            a field of snow
notes slung
            across an empty

            is the absence
of darkness
            love is

the measure
            of all things
the sparrow
            and the lily

what is done
            in the darkness
critical light
            all the love
that radiates

in the end
            she may come round
it all takes time
            Rome was not built
in a day

you ask
            how many times
must we repeat
            I reply
until we get it

John Lyons


A quick dash of colour

Dash of colour, John Lyons (70 x 50 cm, oil on canvas)

A quick dash of colour

A quick dash of colour
           to suggest dusty fields
of wheat and barley
           green pastures where
sheep and cattle graze
           the gentle hills and dales
through which blue rivers
           run their course
the red flourish of poppies
           in the wide meadows
           on their slender stems

the colour of earth
           and blue skies
and white clouds
           riding high :
this is where life lives
           where hearts break
and are mended
           and where energies
are all but exhausted
           in the pursuit of love

John Lyons


A future to remember

A future to remember

It rained in the night
           and today has dawned
dull and unpromising
           there are murky puddles
in the street where a few
           deposits of sunlight have gathered
I can’t quite see my face
           in any of them

My mind goes back
           to a day when as a boy
I was sitting
           on the front door steps
thinking to myself
           that I’d like a future to remember
Has it really
           come to this ?

Last Friday I cut
           through the woods :
there were young children
           playing on the grass
I saw two swallows fly overhead
           but couldn’t tell if
they were heading south
           I’ve known these woods
since my early school days
           and over the years
many trees have fallen
           and many risen again
but it all looks
           the same to me

At night
           when I close my eyes
I dream of love
           and how that might make
for a future to remember
           above all else

John Lyons

Notre Dame at twilight

Notre Dame at twilight

Dusk comes gently
           in the city of light
where the shadows soften
           as they gather around
the charred ribs
           of the wounded cathedral

Pleasure boats continue
           to the ply the river
but the passengers
           are subdued
passing beneath the bridge
           with barely a sigh

And along the quays
           lovers stroll hand in hand
Who knows what promises
           they make when they pause
either to kiss or to gaze
           into the clear grey waters ?
And who knows what promises
           will be kept ?

John Lyons

Italian strawflower


Italian strawflower

Intense fragrance
           of the immortelle
clusters of yellow flowers
           that retain their aroma
-reminiscent of wormwood-
           long after picking
Life in all its glory
           beauty in every detail
an inflorescence
           that never dies

What it has taught us
           is that to be alive is good
that to practise virtue
           on behalf of others
beatifies our breath
           that hands are instruments
of the heart
           that love is a call to action
and that through us
           the voice moves words
to express compassion
           and tenderness

John Lyons


Our night better than our days

Our night better than our days

The day returns the day is now everywhere
The earth opens and slides and dies and disappears
But already the living have accepted their fate
In the dimensions of man a star goes out
And the woman lifts her leaden child

The sea’s palace rears up in the azure
Today like yesterday the moor with its pale bells
The hand with no future the bird with no omen
The houses’ robes totally resistant to love
The road monotone under the feet of the poor

The sun’s not far away and you who are still sleeping
Slowly arise shepherding your last dream
Towards the appeasement of space and your breast
Is like the earth to the seed that will germinate
A very precise source of need

We’ll see your evening again again see your night
And all will be tinged with nudity again
The light will shed its leaves on your forehead
Everything will be swathed in your delicate secrets
And sleep will live forever until break of day.

Paul Éluard

(translation by John Lyons)

Notre nuit meilleure que nos jours

Le jour revient le jour est maintenant partout
La terre s’ouvre et glisse et meurt et disparaît
Mais déjà les vivants ont accepté leur sort
Dans l’épaisseur de l’homme une étoile s’éteint
Et la femme soulève son enfant de plomb

Le palais de la mer se dresse dans l’azur
Aujourd’hui comme hier la lande aux cloches pâles
La main sans avenir l’oiseau de nul présage
Les robes les maisons bien fermées à l’amour
La route monotone sous les pieds des pauvres

Le soleil n’est pas loin et toi qui dors encore
Tu montes lentement menant ton dernier rêve
Vers l’assouvissement de l’espace et ton sein
Et semblable à la terre au grain qui germera
Très précise fontaine de nécessité

Nous reverrons ton soir nous reverrons ta nuit
Tout sera de nouveau teinté de nudité
La lumière perdra ses feuilles sur ton front
Tout sera recouvert de tes légers secrets
Et le sommeil vivra sans fin jusqu’au matin.

The final betrayal

The final betrayal

Watched the day descend
           into night
different shades of blue and light
           and lilac
and a soft rosy hue that simmered
           just above the horizon

Saw the tree line
           turn to dark silhouette
heard the birds’ final evensong
           and watched
as pale clouds sped south
           and in my heart
I put her final betrayal
           behind me

John Lyons

Lawless love


Lawless love

As poets
           we are keepers
of the wonders
           of the human world
of space and matter
           of time and mind

Our songs are
           to renew
and strengthen
           all failing hope

All things are recreated
           and the flame
of consensual love
           inspires all life

John Lyons

With words taken from the poetry of Shelley (1792-1822)