Life’s a tough business

Alice asks  Why is there more craving than
loving ?  Gertrude takes all day to answer
You see Alice   life is a tough business
it is not easy to dance a clean dream
Think for example how hard it is to
hold our head up
                       in wet windy weather
Alice recalls a willow in a wide
place on the bank of a fast flowing stream
You cannot burn water    it means cleanness
A climate is not an ordeal unless
we make it so    just as a broken heart can-
not be mended with wax    The secret dear
Alice is to make no more mistakes than
yesterday  Yes
                     love is its own reward

John Lyons


The golden age

It was a time when pale blue skies gave way
to summer      Swallows and swifts arrived
to celebrate the new season    and ev’ry-
where smelt of cut grass and of lavender
At night the skies were clear   
                                  and stars became
countable   These were gentler days and no-
one thought of distance or pain or loss al-
though life went on and communities pulled
together and people supported each
other through adversity and cared for
the weakest or those most troubled  It was
a good time to be human and to share
and share alike   It was a time when love
was deeply felt
                  in ev’ry warm embrace

John Lyons

Love was our evensong

Days now are less bitter but make no bones
Wind-winnowed cherry and petals drifting
in the thin air   dust in the gutter and
the absence of birdsong   a lone fox bask-
ing in the sunlight    flowers   white and yellow
daffodils    their stems cut  bleeding   weeping
Such a gift we brought you
                                      bouquets of pain
You say that after the bells have rested
they will ring once again   and peals of re-
joicing will be heard in town and country
and all will be well   But these are just words
I say that our sorrows are secular
Love was our evensong   a final gasp
moist lips   a tired melody
                                      a cracked voice

John Lyons

Roses are red

When I was a child I wrote as a child
Roses are red violets are blue  Be good
to me and I’ll be good to you   You may
laugh when I recite this rhyme   but back
in the day when snow would fall thickly in
December    and Christmas
                               would bring books and
tangerines and a tartan necktie   I
wore my heart on my sleeve   O where are the
snows of yesteryear ?  What news of Wendy
and Susan and Elizabeth too ?   Our
Patsy -who works in construction-  says home
is where you lay your hard hat and steel-capped
boots    It has to be built day by day   brick
by brick   set firm
                      with the right mix of love

John Lyons

Edited version of earlier post