We are aftermath

We are aftermath

We are aftermath
           recycled residue
afterburn of creation
           our bodies built
from cluster upon cluster
           of wayward particles
and we are eternal return
           how many aeons
to shape a rose
           the petals of thought
the palpitating heart
           the desire to kiss to hold
and to caress
           to love

what emerged from the dross
           the debris of creation
in a structured universe
           in which no amount
of matter or energy
           is ever wasted
part of that immense
           single unending event
words formed
           from clusters of sound
and so to the surge
           of the poetic line
the mindful word
           travelling across space
or across the page
           deluge of the imagination
and how life unleashed
           feeds upon life
the unconscious cannibalism
           of carbon
fanned by the flames
           of oxidation
and all the time
           I long to run my fingers
through her hair
           wake to her dawn
all dust to dust
           rose to rose

John Lyons


Hark to the sound of light

Flowers, John Lyons (oil on wood)

Hark to the sound of light

The rose has its imprint
           petal softness of velvet
brushed against her lips
           threads of life entwined
gold and silver and amethyst
           honour in her silence
honour in her words
           honour in her breath
though the rose requires
           no tongue

           literally made
in the stars
           and in the black nights
we gaze at our past
           the foundry in which
we were first formed
           before thought

That such intense heat
           could give rise to tears
whether of joy or pain
           to wisdom too
and sadly ignorance
           : does there always
have to be a thorn
           in the side ?

We say that paradise
           is a place of grace and love
and all that stems
           from light –
speech is in our nature
           and silence too
the rose imprinted
           needs no tongue

Look to your mirror
           song will heal your heart
happiness is there
           for the taking
syllables shaped
           in the sound of light
the mirror says
           love you too

John Lyons

Trooping my colours

Trooping the colour, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Trooping my colours

Under a blue sky
           I lay out my colours
this is the shape of them
           their texture as revealed
by the light

There is a pattern
           a gathering within
a certain geometry
           but there is
spontaneity too
           and ragged edges

you could say this canvas
           has my fingers all over it
the brush marks are all mine
           the choice of colours too
and some might say it’s not art
           but who are they to judge
can art ever be truly defined
           can love ?

John Lyons

Ain’t that a fact

Ain’t that a fact

The idea of beauty
           shaped in the mind’s eye
because beauty is a shape
           so too is love
in all its dimensions
           proclivity to action
with a sense of purpose
           it achieves where
other emotions fail
           boundless too
though it shares
           the shape of infinity
the sometime symbol
into gold or silver
           that never ends
worn around the neck
           set into equations
a quick calculation
           beyond value

the sultry idea of her
           of her watered eyes
of her hesitant hands
           of her puffed lips
as they play
           with words
the cat and mouse of her
           wilfully oblivious
to consequence
           no facts but in ideas
what the eyes apprehend :
           by their deeds
you shall know them
           ain’t that a fact !

John Lyons

Truth-seeking eyes

Truth-seeking eyes

The beauty of eyes
           mine looking into yours
yours looking into the mirror
           in which you see
not the growing lines on your brow
           not the skin aged
into a pale looseness
           but whatever you’ve
managed to conserve
           of your girlhood

It is a wonderful life from top to toe
           regardless of location
regardless of today’s blue sky
           regardless of the full-on sun
that brings you life
           even as it ends it

Your short-fingered hands
           sometimes struggle
to get to grips
           and your restless mind
lags behind your eyes
           You place roses
in a glass bowl
           and stand back to admire
their timeless beauty
           with the truth-seeking eyes
of the young girl
           you once were
you should donate them
           to posterity

John Lyons


Still life

Still life

What moves
           matter ?
Matter of fact
           a body of work
flesh and blood
           a Turner sunset
sets in the sunset
           the colour of light
the colour of love
           she who emerges
from her shell
           of beauty
who hangs
           in the night sky

love is a matter

           of fact
the haunting look
           on her face
a voice courting
           a troubled voice
           in the genes

John Lyons


Thanks for the memories

Thanks for the memories

           how you go
the agility of thought
           darting here and there
following every hunch
           putting two and two together

The sly black cat
           with white underbelly
contemplates the bobbing magpie
           dressed in its orchestral best
if only I had wings
           there’s a thought
how do you feel about that
           wise guy ?

Mind mountains
the dizzying heights
           here where the light
fades to darkness
           where love keeps the soul alive
where beauty and truth
           go hand in hand

When I’m done
           plant me in the ground
and let me grow
           into a mighty oak
feed my acorns to the hogs
           explain to little children
how I vowed never to die
           unless to be born again
into the light
           of love

John Lyons

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

The gentleness that can be

The gentleness that can be

What we pray for now
 is the gentleness that can be
 for her to raise a hand
 and point to the apple blossom
 and say that this is what life
 is all about : the candid beauty
 that bears fruit and feeds a nation
 Good fortune is love devoid
 of bitterness or envy or any
 meanness of spirit     Love
 has no rival when it comes
 to mending broken lives
 it is the common denominator
 of all our selfless breath
 In Venice we gazed into the waters
 saw the ripple of our reflection
 and wondered whether our affection
 would last forever    It did    It does
 John Lyons

This painting no longer exists

Poplars, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

This painting no longer exists

This painting of a row of poplars
            no longer exists
it was executed yesterday
            by that I mean it was laid down
in oils on canvas
            using principally primary colours
and briefly I’ll admit
            there were elements in it
that I was quite pleased with
            the poplars for example
the way they slanted
            after years of having to deal
with the prevailing wind
            these are poplars from my childhood
they are still there
            and I could take you to see them
if either you or I had the time
            but we don’t

The poplars were fine
            but the sky eluded me
there was not enough light shining through
            and the foreground was a mess
I could have worked on that
            tidied it up a bit
allowed the colours to vegetate
            a little more convincingly

But then the vast empty expanse

            in the top right-hand corner
defeated me
            I hadn’t an idea what to do with it
so I abandoned the canvas
            for an hour or two
got on with something else
            hoping that the picture
would grow on me
            It didn’t

So with an old cotton rag
            dipped in thinner
I removed the paint
            from the face of the earth
You either love something
            or you don’t
and I didn’t
            so it’s gone

John Lyons

A true story!