Ode to autumn

orange flowers

            Orange flowers, John Lyons (oil on wood)

Finally the fallen leaves

       are turning from copper
to pure gold
       This is the currency
that poets eagerly mine
       each autumn
It’s a subject that appeals
       to their inner Keats
the mellow sadness
       of a year on the way out

       Richardson’s Pamela
called herself
       a piece of painted dirt
and so it is
       the cycle in and out
of the earth
       the human comedy
one door closes
       another door opens
and while there is breath
       there is hope
and where there is life
       there is love

Whose hands are those
       painted on the cave walls
men women children
       the whole community ?
The caves are time capsules –
       behind the art is the perception
that creation goes the distance
       and that the thread of life
is eternal and breath alone powers
       the thread of love

John Lyons

Mike Goldberg’s sardines

                    Sardines by Michael Goldberg

So I like to keep
tinned sardines
in my cupboard
for a rainy day
and whenever
I think of them
I think of Frank
O’Hara visiting
Mike Goldberg
who is painting
sardines into
his picture
but when it’s
finished Frank
goes back and
says : Where’s
the sardines?
They’re gone
they were too
much says
Mike Goldberg

John Lyons

Manhattan’s lonely crowd


                 Art class, John Lyons

A crowd

       a fullness
and an emptiness
       tightly pressed
together and yet
       so far apart
each one mysteriously
       perhaps expectant

perhaps each hoping
       to trade in
their inner 5th Avenue
       their fragility
their soulful aloneness
       for some firm
intimate connection
       one with another

John Lyons

Reposted to correct layout

What words are worth

It all depends
on the time
and the place
a context a language
for all seasons
for all moments
for all emotions

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
on a sweltering day
heading into Manhattan
picking up some of the vibe
of Walt Whitman
of Frank O’Hara
of Jackson Pollock
and Willem de Kooning

and memories of you
and your desolate life
the fantasies you chase
the abuse you suffered
as a child and all the dreams
that time has swept away
and the lovelessness
in which it has left you

John Lyons

Love is all we have

Love these cool
October mornings
when we wake to a world
on the edge of frost
but with the expectation
of sunshine and a blue sky

As I walk in the street
my spent breath dissipates
before my eyes

In the background
I hear the chatter
of sparrows
the cooing of pigeons

This is the story of time
and all our evanescent days
that are bound to vanish
no matter how earnestly
we attempt to seize them

The flow is relentless –
the rivers that run down
to the sea or the bells
that toll for us all
on the tower
of the Conciergerie

The pulse of blood
carries me forward
on a tide of oxygen
I may love you
or leave you
You may love me
or leave me

But time is all we have
for the present

A breath of fresh air

Is that why a stroll
       through forests
or ancient woodland
       is so refreshing
and so relaxing
       all that oxygen
the trees and plants
       release into the air ?

Is that why standing
       on the shoreline
staring out
       at the ocean horizon
induces such calm
       in the soul ?

John Lyons

Dandelion days


A field or a lawn of bright
       dancing dandelions
their Latin name Taraxacum
       comes from the Persian
but for the Swedes
       they are wormroses maskros
how many people know that
       and what does it matter ?

As children we counted them
       and when they’d gone to seed
we plucked them and puffed
       on the puffballs sending the seeds
flying into the warm summer air
       O the enchanted delights
of our sweet dandelion days
       never forgotten never to return

John Lyons

Day of remembrance

On Friday mornings
       I visit the willows
in the park
       They’ve been a presence
in my life for as long
       as I can remember
that is to say
       I’ve known them longer
than most of the people
       that I now know

Love has come and gone
       and come and gone again
but the willows remain
       A small stream runs
through the park
       and often as a child
I would stand
       on the narrow bridge
and watch the water flow
       over the gentle weir
and sometimes
       with a glass jar in hand
I would fish for tadpoles
       and proudly carry them home

And sometimes now I think
       of all the different bridges
I’ve crossed in my life and
       all the rivers I’ve gazed into
sometimes accompanied
       sometimes alone
and I remember so much
       and regret nothing

John Lyons

And so it goes. . .

Leaves falling
through the air
through time
through space
through all the years
of my life since
my time began

while new buds
are forming
in time and in space
preparing to take
their place
and so it goes
and so it goes

John Lyons