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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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

Occasional side-bit

companion piece
Companion piece, John Lyons (oil on wood)

Occasional side-bit

Down every day
           to the solitude of the woodland
a serene sun filtering
           through the trees
as I sit here by the pond
           the water surface moving
in gentle wind-ripples
           before me

On an old beech at the edge
           decayed and slanting
yet still with life and leaves
           on its mossy limbs
a grey squirrel is exploring
           running up and down
flicking its tail before sitting
           on its haunches

Suddenly it sees me
           and the game is up
as it races back into the thick
           of the foliage again

John Lyons


Adapted from Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days

The snows of yesteryear

snowfield
Snowfield, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

The snows of yesteryear

When lost for words
           I reach for the poets
Charles Olson
           or François Villon
luminous words
           scrawled on paper
genius is almost always low tech
           it comes in flashes
in aperçus
           in fleeting moments of insight

All that has been
           suddenly is : time
is the face of recognition
           where are the loves
of yesteryear
           the snowfields of yore ?

Each of us has
           our own unique antiquity
some die in their bed while others
           swing from hallowed gallows
Notre Dame
           a place of visitation
a monument to belief
           in the resurrected spirit

John Lyons

 

Rule of thumb

early days 3
Early days, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Rule of thumb

Sometimes
           when preparing
a canvas
           it’s best
just to allow
           the basic geometries
of energy and colour
           to take over
not to overthink
           the composition

In this canvas
           the paint has been
thinly applied
           at first with a brush
before being marshalled
           by the palette knife

The blank page
           and the blank canvas
have so much in common :
           the rule is simple
don’t hang back
           if it doesn’t work out start again
but don’t get uptight
           Sometimes she loves you
sometimes she does not
           Get over it

John Lyons

 

Under fresh canvas 

cloudy day
Cloudy day, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Under fresh canvas 

Remove the safety net
           when you tread the high wire
said Parmigianino
           paint fearlessly
peer through the mist
           capture what lies behind
what lies beneath :
           your heart as mirror
to the soul you establish
           on canvas

John Lyons


Reposted with a corrected text and a sharper photo of canvas. 

Monday canvas

sunny day
Sunny day, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Monday canvas

Air moves in arabesques
           time in hot pursuit
a centrifugal force that runs
           through the blood
Possibilities are endless
           in this life-phase
in the rising fall of love-tides
           in which doors are binary
windows looking glasses
           dreams itinerant

Swirls of colour
           on the canvas
but soon the leaves
           will settle
Today the sun rose
           higher than ever
it stopped the fox
           in its tracks
it changed the tune
           of every bird
as its warm breath
           passed over the land

Breakers on the seashore
           ruffle the pebbles
and suck at the sand :
           there’s always more work
to be done and more love
           to be made

John Lyons


Revised text