Gustav Klimt – The Kiss



The Kiss, Gustav Klimt (1908)

Gustav Klimt – The Kiss

You might think
           something of value
would be retained
           that the special character
of a relationship
           would be worth
           that certain times
and certain spaces
           would be reserved
for what was after all
           a love of sorts
a love that lent
           a lasting form
to our lives
           or so I thought

In my mind
           Klimt’s Kiss
in the Belvedere
           still shimmers
oils with added
           gold and silver leaf
in my mind
           and in my heart

John Lyons



Came now to peace

north america
North America, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Came now to peace

Came now to peace
           the darkness
and the silence
           before the light
before the day broke
           Heard foxes in retreat
the first cries of the pigeons
           Heard the crows
scampering across the roof
           all this
before the local world awoke
           before the buzz of traffic
in the distance
           Peace in the darkness
and in the silence
           alone with my thoughts
before the turbulence
           of the day
nursing memories
           mindful of the blessings
I have received
           the love that came and went
but that was for a while
           worth living for

John Lyons

Fields of gold

Yellow, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Fields of gold

I shall set this yellow canvas
           aside for a while
and wait to see
           what might grow in it
in the imagination
           Yellow the colour of
joy and energy and loyalty
           of intellect and fresh hope
of the wheat fields
           on the foothills
around Arles
           or the sunflowers
that Vincent so lovingly 
           painted with his life
the sky above him
           a chrome yellow
almost as bright
           as the sun itself

John Lyons


A portrait in oils

A Portrait
Portrait, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

A portrait in oils

Once in a while
           you may come
to resemble
           the portrait I painted
of your youthful face
           using principally
burnt umber
           upon titanium white
with a hint of cerulean blue
           for the eyes
and a trace of red
           for the lips set against
a deep cadmium
           yellow background

Of course it’s not you
           but merely a series of strokes
hints of what you might be
           or might were once
mineral and translucent
           or opaque and of the earth
and of the sky
           the body and soul of you
of what you are here to express
           in your thoughts
and words
           and in the flesh

It means nothing
           as it lies on canvas
and awaits
           an appreciative eye
a smouldering mirror
           alive with intent
devised with all the warmth
           of my hand and deficient
only insofar as it betrays
           the limitations of my gift

John Lyons


A world made sense

inner space
Inner space, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

A world made sense

It is human to know birdsong
to know the sound of the sea
the waves pounding
and the dry suck of the shingle
as the waters recede

It is human to hear the wind
whisper through the trees
and to interpret the voice
of all natural phenomena

to feel the sun on your face
and take it as a gesture
of brotherly love as a caress
from the source of all life

It is human to know feelings
and to put them into words
and to arrange them into a world
made sense by our senses

John Lyons

Life on Mars

Landscape, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Life on Mars

Flocks of small birds
           maybe a hundred or more
flying in dark clouds
           that resemble bee swarms
or the swarms of ions
           and electrons in gases
while the Mars rover
           sends back graphic images
of what climate change
           can do to a planet

           as far as the eye can see
and a barren loveless surface
           and what we most long for
is life
           here or anywhere else
in the universe
           rich fertile recreational life
in every shape and form
           warm technicolor life
and the atomic pulse of love
           that never dies

John Lyons

Sycamore seeds

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