When two souls

When two souls

In that the voice
thrives in silence

the light thrives
in the dark

and in space
intimacy thrives

it is as though
we are driven

by the need
to be recognised

to see our face
in the mirror

of the other
to give as good

as we get
in the name

of love

John Lyons

Love darts

snail shore
St Tropez, John Lyons (50 x 40 cm, oil and snail shells on canvas panel)

Love darts

Land snails
a single strong
muscular foot
and use mucus
to enable them
to crawl over
rough surfaces
and to keep
their soft bodies
from drying out

Like other molluscs,
snails have a mantle
and one or two pairs
of tentacles
on their head

they possess
a radula
and a primitive brain

In the course
of their foreplay
one snail shoots
a love dart
into its partner

John Lyons


Forget the hyperboles

Forget the hyperboles

Forget the hyperboles
the sun the moon 
and the stars
the bed of roses

I loved the simplicity

of her breath
her elegant posture 
as we walked
side by side

across all the bridges

we ever crossed
at home and abroad

and all our days
and all our nights

John Lyons

Lockdown heatwave

Lockdown heatwave

Slept till dawn
till the rain
woke me

in the silence
not a breath
of air

not a sound
but for the
staccato of rain
against the skylight

thick drops
of summer rain
my bed linen moist
my brow too

and now I sit here
first coffee of the day
writing these words

I would have shared
the coffee with her
if she were here

the silence too
the silence
filling the space
between us

John Lyons

Particles of night

night sky
Night Sky, John Lyons (30 x 25 cm, oil on canvas)

Particles of night

Particles of night sky
           of hues and pigments
cadmium and titanium
           I paint with cosmic debris
myself a part of that debris
           my arms my hands my eyes
built from the same particles
           my spent breath
part of the shared dust
           I shed

time that beats in the temples
           universal time
pulsating fragments of infinity
           a sparrow that moves
unconsciously on its wings
           through the dense emptiness
of an elastic placeless

my life a silk screen
           an etching on the earth’s surface
a collision of atomic material
           tugged inwards
by the gravity of love
           feelings of prussian blue
and lamp black
           and the landscapes I carry
within the studio
           of my mind

my articles of faith
           particles of every kiss
I ever gave
           orbiting in the memory
the solar solace
           of our conmingled bones
enmeshed the particles
           of our being

John Lyons


The road less travelled

road less
Parksville NY, John Lyons (30 x 25 cm, oil on canvas)

The road less travelled

Just after the dawn dust
           had settled
after the larks had risen
           into the vacant sky
I chanced upon
           this fork in the road
a yellow wheat field
           and in the distance
the dense deep green
           of ancient woodland

and who knows
           where a road truly leads
or what awaits us in our day-to-day
           as we make our way
along paths unknown or known
           how for better or worse 
a random choice may 
           change a life forever

John Lyons

Revised text

Summer recess

Summer recess

High-pitched whine
           of a circular saw
cutting through wood
           : the birds at dawn
were silent
           are silent still

The world it seems
           is on vacation
even the foxes
           are away visiting
their country cousins
           on the North Downs

My love sulks
           in blue silk
wishing that the blaze
           of summer days
would pass :
           she hankers after
wind and snow and ice
           the withering cold
to which her temperament
           is so well adjusted

John Lyons

Time all out of joint


Time all out of joint

Take a lucky dip
           into memory
see what you get
           the Brooklyn Bridge
and the tide of time
           streaming below
unconscionable heat
           sucking the juice
out of the air
           dust of moth wing
on your brow
           as you pound
the aimless
           crumbling streets

O daughter of sunlight
           where were you conceived
where were you born
           where were you raised
what violence drove you
           to abandon all hope
striving to survive
           on the pique of your beauty
blunted the cutting edge
           of your intelligence

The play’s the thing
           but time’s all out of joint
your birth stars are receding
           in the outer regions
of outer space
           your matter-of-fact fantasies
have waned and life
           is the only truth left to tell
and it is a sorry tale at that
           all caution thrown to the wind
along with love leaving a senseless trail
           of unmitigated disasters

John Lyons

I love the stillness

I love the stillness

I love the stillness
           of these early summer mornings
when the sun is up
           but most of the world is still asleep
already the sky is blue
           and the air warm
I water the plants and flowers
           in the garden and soak in the silence

Yesterday was a fine day
           full of satisfaction
and I was happy to note
           the achievement of others
By the railway line I noticed
           the canes of blackberry
coming into their own
           this year should be a bumper crop

Yesterday was truly a fine day
           but today could outshine it
I have my expectations
           It’s good to be alive
to be drawing breath
           in these troubled time
to have contact
           with friends and family
and to know that love
           is never far away
and to be thankful
           for all the old loves
and the new loves that give
           so much meaning to my life

John Lyons

Her body his love

Her body his love

Love not an open wound
           nor a bruised heart
nor a broken promise
           Words that heal
supplicant gestures
           a kiss soon repairs

How supple the mind
           that moves through light
unpicking the tainted silence
           that stains the rose

my hands are tied
           but in my eyes
her naked beauty
           never fades

Say that all thoughts
           lead back to her
that her salt tears
           are petals
Though he refuses
           to concede defeat
her lips await a song
           her body his love

John Lyons