Prelude to the day

dawn of time
Dawn of time, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Prelude to the day

Instances of what we are
           shifting portraits
temporal illusions
           dressed for the occasion
in which context is all

The sea retains the memory
           of creatures that crawled
onto dry land and evolved
           into the open air
our beginnings like all
           fresh starts
humble and grateful
           for the opportunity to grow

We pray for the gift of music
           for the gift of words
for the gift of love
           for the gift of human solidarity
for the fragrance of flesh
           freely given freely taken
for the imagination
           to move forward
leaving the past behind
           old lessons learnt

We despise effigies
           and make our monuments
from the moment
           we despise all that is feigned
that reeks of indifference
           and phoney affections

The authenticity of life
           demands
that love be genuine
           that it should never be betrayed
and that the tongue
           should be generous in its praise
of true beauty
           and all earthly freedoms

John Lyons

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The poet’s melodeon

ocean

The poet’s melodeon

How constant this ocean
           gnawing day in day out
at the rock face : at night
           clouds move across the sky
their progress tracked
           by whales who keep
to the shadows cast
           by the moonlight

Blue waters by day
           time barely ruffled in the breeze
curls of light finely shaved
           a virtuoso performance
in which we are all the players
           the crash of cymbals
and the roar of horns
           here at our birthplace

Think of Wallace Stevens
           his obsession with melody
and with number
           his mother’s fingers
on the keyboard
           the silence of his bass voice
as he composed his poetry
           delving deep into his emotions
remembering the blue silk
           the clear warm evenings
the homeliness of life
           the beauty behind every breath
whispers of immortality
           in the mute nights
fitful tracings overlaid
           with love

John Lyons


Revised

The blue and white day

The blue and white day

A significant landscape
one in which you are present
or another in which your absence is noted
in which there is a snow-capped mountain
and a blue lake
and ants crawl across a dusty path
marking time

one in which the sun appears

or the moon
and an infinite number of stars
a silent landscape
or one in which the wind howls
and tall trees shake
a landscape in which
you might one day reappear

one in which your days

were once filled with love
before that too passed
along with faith and hope
and left you emotionally
destitute

All night the sea slept

All night the sea slept

All night the sea slept
and in the darkness
whales moved back and forth
unseen
and dolphins explored the coves
rendez-vous were agreed and kept
and lovers took to their beds

All night the waxing moon

and Venus
in the clear sky
and at least a part of the troubled world
was at peace

Day broke and a film

of silver light spread
across the ocean surface
birds took to the air
and it all began again


John Lyons

Summer days

Summer days

A theatre of many minds
a poem through which
many swallows move
soundlessly
beaks agape
harvesting the aphids
invisible to the naked eye

The long pendulous palm leaves
on this sun-risen day
bedraggled sway
in the light breeze

last night’s stars
put to bed
along with the moon

here hope
comes with the territory
love too

Why I paint

why
Why, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Why I paint

This image of colours
on canvas
means nothing but
cadmium red
and cadmium yellow
applied with strokes
of a thick fibred brush

Is it a landscape
or a thoughtscape
or do the shapes refer
to anything at all ?

There are sensuous lines
that seem to flow
around a hollow
providing elements perhaps
for a composition
There is light and darkness
and just enough to create
the illusion of mystery

and yet this image
I should say this canvas
no longer exists
except in this archived
electronic shot
the original having been
obliterated by layer upon layer
of other colours
in other shapes

I paint because every attempt
is a voyage of discovery
I paint in the hope that one day
I will reach my newfoundland
I paint to create a context
within which to live
my life and my love to the full

John Lyons