December anthem

December anthem

In winter our broken dreams
           are laid to rest
dark clouds move in from the east
           and snow shrouds the land
seasoned lovers wrap up
           to keep warm
while young skaters
           take to the frozen pond

Winter is a way of life
           beneath blankets or heavy woollens
while the light fades
           and birds shiver in their nests
those at least that have remained
           in this cold cold land

As a child I tried to read
           the leaping flames of the coal fire
that burned in the hearth
           the red and yellow tongues
of heat that kept us alive
           through those bitter months

All of that is a world away
           and each day is a new thing
and each moon
           brings freash prospects
My pulse quickens
           as December approaches
and soon all manner of mysteries
           will become clear

though for now I am tasked
           to continue my journey
through mists and frost
           struggling to retain my bearings
in the hope of returning once again
           to the place of my birth

John Lyons

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Sycamore seeds

harlequin
Harlequin, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Sycamore seeds

Through an open skylight
           sycamore seeds helicopter down
into my living space
           In Egyptian mythology
the sacred sycamore in which
           the goddess Hathor perched
when she created
           the irrepressible world

As children we’d gather these seeds
           and cast them high into the wind
and watch as they spiralled
           back to the ground
back to the earth
           from which they sprang

John Lyons

A complex of simplicities

A complex of simplicities

Yesterday the drilling
           of a woodpecker
as I awoke at first light
           today the splatter
of rain on the skylight
           the patter of droplets
of natural time
           just as it falls

Yesterday we strolled
           in the meadow
where avenues
           of age-old oaks
clung to their leaves
           while all around
their peers
           were shedding

The grass was soft
           underfoot
the earth not yet soaked
           We crossed the river
where swans and gulls
           swam and fished
in the wide pool of water
           restrained by the weir

Time and the river
           the wholesome fresh air
and beauty on all sides
           life a complex
of simplicities
           just like love

John Lyons

Dogwood – Philadelphus coronarius

Dogwood – Philadelphus coronarius

With green smooth-sided 
          oval leaves with curving veins
that turn crimson in autumn
           A hermaphrodite
its flowers encompass
           the female and the male
Small flowers with creamy white petals
           that grow in clusters
Pollinated by insects
           the flowers develop
small black berries
           dogberries

In Victorian times
           a sprig of dogwood
could determine the fortunes
           of the suitor— if she declined
to accept it he was doomed :
           please accept mine

John Lyons

On time

On time

Time is the direction
           it is the space in which
faces appear
           a place of being
and here life occurs
           from birth onwards
and along the way
           things are singled out
roses the sea the stars
           the sun the earth
in all its properties
           and at the core comes
tenderness
           the disposition to love
and to be loved
           one life enhancing another
and putting down markers
           so as to say
here we experienced great joy here
           we felt that we were one
here we got the better of time
           and lulled its rhythm
so that we could love
           at leisure

And Venus
           rose on those mornings
and we felt
           that it was our planet
a more significant moon
           and its light struck a chord

Time is so many things
           luminous time
that flows along rivers
           ascends mountains
gusts in the wild winds
           and sometimes settles curled
into a corner and gently sleeps
           by the lovers’ bed

John Lyons

The intelligence of trees

tree.jpg
Tree, John Lyons (oil on wood)

The intelligence of trees

Wallace refers to the intelligence of trees
the famed tree of knowledge is related
the thing that grows organically
and the metaphors that we may apply
the roots that reach so deep into the earth
the branches that reach constantly for the sky
the leaves that burst from buds in spring
that bring delight in the summer until
in the autumn they fall as all things fall
the rings of age that mark the wood
the gnarled bark of ancient specimens
the shade under which lovers lounge
the stillness of time until the wind rises

John Lyons

Early morning questions

Sketch_2
The cathedral of confusions, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Early morning questions

What is love if not
           a place of kindness
a time and a place
           a disposition to care
one for another
           not a hard silent
inhospitable terrain
           or a sour tongue

Is it too much
           to ask for clarity of the heart
to cut through the myths
           and fantasies
how else shall we know
           the sheep from the wolves
There is virtue too in love
           that speaks only of the truth
seeks only to give of itself
           recognises the sanctity
of the kiss and the sacredness
           of the consensual bond

John Lyons