Love is the only hope


                 Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas at home

Winter is closing in
       I read Gertrude Stein
to cheer me up –
       a cushion
a seltzer bottle
       a long dress
a red hat a blue coat
       a piano a chair
white lilies in a vase
       on a table upon which
particles of fine dust
       are clearly visible
or perhaps not dust
       but withered pollen

       the silence is singing
I can hear the sea
        where we bathed in July
I can hear the birds
       who have kept us amused
all summer
       their shadows gathering
on the wires overhead
       soon to be on their way
I think of our lives
       trimmed by the light
trimmed by time
       and how slowly
but surely our days
       spread into nothing
and how love
       is the only hope

John Lyons


Life cycles recycled

Stood under the old sycamore
       gazed up through the shadows
through the branches
       at the pale blue sky
the foliage now thinning
       many leaves underfoot
their colour faded to dull rust
       with the texture of wafer thin
friable parchment curled by age
       and days away from dust
the green seeds still clinging
       to dear life but with dry
stiff brown wings all ready
       to take flight

: twins
       I thought or lovers
joined together in a kiss
       but o so soon to be separated
in the relentless cycle
       of life and death and afterlife

John Lyons

Reprinted from yesterday with two modest alterations

In the dark drift of night

In the dark drift of night
the entire universe realigns
planets and stars and comets
unbeknownst to the lovers
who sleep through their dreams

At daylight standing
by an open window
I see that the hawthorn
has flowered effortlessly

While we slept all things
have grown : the roses
have come into their own
and fresh voices have joined
the dawn chorus

I understand that growth
is depletion in all things
but love – nothing else

John Lyons

To love and be loved

What I miss about winter
       is the brilliance of the stars
on those pitch black nights
       when there is frost in the air
and my soul is wrapped
       in the warmth of my flesh

to know that I am alive
       that I have a history
that all things are possible
       in this universe of light
in which to love and be loved
       lends purpose to every breath

John Lyons

Squirrel takes a turn

aimless 2

You would think
       that that squirrel
that spritely rodent
       with its grey bushy tail
was in training
       for something

All morning
       it has been running
back and forth
       along the rim
of the garden fence
       making a great show
of its enviable sense
       of balance : freezing
from time to time
       in quintessential poses
before leaping forward
       with acrobatic ease

Winter is approaching
       already the sun has dipped
the first frosts are days away
       the squirrel will have its sport
before summer utters
       its last call

John Lyons

What moves me to words

What moves me to words
       moves me to silence too
poetry is in the to and fro
       of the motion of the emotion
I see instances of beauty
       and I want to capture them
just as I want to admire them
       in silence in stillness
in the peace and quiet
       of my heart

The stars at night
       as I look out
across the necessary ocean
       never idle
the stars nor the sea
       in this universe woven
from light :
       the paradox
of gravity and weightlessness
       So what holds it all together
even as it expands
       fragments of the nothingness
that existed before the Big Bang
       blew it all apart ?

What drives this mass of energy
       into the shape of wild roses
or the orchid’s delicate blooms
       or the innocence of a child’s smile
or the unabashed gleam
       in my lover’s eyes ?

John Lyons

Today in this light

Today in this light
       this late summer light
you look different
       the light in your hair
the light in your eyes
       today you look different
gilded by this late
       summer light
this halo of light
       that enhances
your elegance
       your beauty

Today in this late
       summer light everything
seems possible
       our joy our happiness
and not just possible
       but necessary as though
it was meant to be
       as though we were
meant to be in this late
       summer light before the last
roses fade in the approach
       to winter

John Lyons

What goes around


The season will soon
       be upon us again
of Vacherin Mont d’Or
       the winter cheese
in the round pine box
       deliciously baked

Think of the hillsides
       where the cows graze
where the pine trees grow
       and the wooden disks
from the base and the lid
       which I decorate
year after year
       to celebrate the force
of nature and the power
       of the imagination

John Lyons

Slender words


Aimless art, John Lyons (25 x 30 cm, oil on canvas)

As the wind moves
through a field
of tall flowers

or through a forest
in winter
when all the leaves
have fallen

As it moves through
her hair displacing
the sunlight
as it goes

As her breath moves
through her lips
passes out
into the air

and the sound
of her laughter
of the voice shaped
by her words

her gentle smile
and the kiss
she blows
for me alone

John Lyons

Memory is distance

               Coffee grounds on yellow background, John Lyons

Memory is distance
       over time
is wholeness
       is struggle to prevent
fragmentation –
       perceptions saved
within the senses
       the dragonfly
that skimmed the pond
       summer after summer
all those years ago
       and the scent of cherry blossom
of peach and pear and plum
       and cut grass
and ice on my tongue
       the joy and sadness of rain
and winter dreams
       and the discontent of bees
as flowers fade and dust gathers
       on the gilded earth
and love comes lately
       if it comes at all

Memory is sharpness
       of the mind
we forage for it
       and sometimes stumble
upon past realms
       resurrected in the heart
savoured on the lips
       or a soft voice heard
on the edge of night
       a tender text of angels
a sudden knowledge
       of years reborn
a body politic
       to which we clasp
until daylight breaks
       across our bones

John Lyons