Untroubled waters

aquarium
Aquarium (oil on canvas)

Untroubled waters

No goldfish bowl this
           but colour moving
with stealth and grace
           a flowering of flesh
a world away
           from our own

John Lyons

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The chain of memory

mindscape_21
Mindscape (oil on canvas)

The chain of memory

The chain of memory
           one step after another
from daybreak to dusk
           in the cold
or the sweltering heat
           the past barely behind us
we immersed
           in its consequences
but constantly edging
           forward to cover
or so we hope
           new ground
to free ourselves
           from all that would
tie us down
           or hold us back

Love tells us that
           there are no repetitions
that each moment
           is sacred
each kiss or caress
           devotional
and that tenderness
           is sometimes a gift
of parentage
           We live the fact
of our existence
           yet pass our lives
in search of the true
           innocent inner self
a cosmos unto ourselves
           with our own laws
and trusted properties
           and it takes quite a mind
quite a heart
           to grasp it
in its totality
           we who dwell
in the known country
           struggle with a muddle
of necessary imperfections
           of missed goals
and opportunities
           of failures and remorse
taking comfort only
           from the pity of love
from the hand and lip
           of another much like us
a brother or a sister
           a poetic companion
sharing in our humanity
           moved by the same rose
soothed by the same birdsong
           driven by the same desires

John Lyons

Distant divisions

storm_1
A perfect storm, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

 

Distant divisions

In all modesty
it’s about the words
the words that you lay down
day in day out in verse
the poetry that comes
with your breathing
or from your breath
the particulars of life
that you choose to salute
those events and those feelings
that remain when all else
has been subtracted
what is of importance

As the master said
learn your distances
know your intimacies
confuse neither

the rose you dared to pick
the love you dared to live
the intensity of it all
the here and now of it
that construct of space
within time that you dared
to create for there is risk
in all things that animate
and chance would be
a fine thing if it existed
the question is
do you lead a life
or are you led by it
who is running the show
who decides whether
you live or you die
in truth to yourself

John Lyons

The Cave of Hands

Cave of Hnads.jpg
Santa Cruz, Argentina

The Cave of Hands

Those hands on the wall
            of the cave in Santa Cruz
Argentina waving to us
            from 9000 years ago
The silhouettes created
            by blowing paint 
through bone-made pipes
            The warmth of these
gestures as if to say
            we were here and we
salute you those of you
            who are to come

John Lyons

In Bruton at fifty

detail 5

Detail 5, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

In Bruton at fifty

We are what the sea has made
           into and out of it—
and starflakes falling
           on a Saturday night
along with long threads
           of fine frozen fire
and a kiss and a cuddle
           to our heart’s desire

and age seems so trivial
           fifty years on
with all that’s gone well
           with whatever’s gone wrong
fifty years and a day
           and a day
who would have thought
           it would work out that way

on Lusty Hill
           where the dovecote stands
and love so disruptive
           to all of our plans
here where the river
           runs down to the sea
what is and what was
           and what’s bound to be

John Lyons

 

The Big Bang

big bang
Big Bang, John Lyons (oil on plastic)

The Big Bang

In the beginning
           nothing : no colour
no light no movement
           no space just
boundless darkness
           though even then 
there was nowhere 
           for the darkness to be

There was no warmth
           no cold no life
no kiss no love
           nothing
just an aching emptiness
            infinitely empty
 even of emptiness
            even of heartache

And then there was light
            and with it came
art and the explosion of colour
            throughout the cosmos
irremediable darkness  
          banished forever
quite simply put to death
         by the act of creation   

John Lyons