The other door

the other door

     The other door, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

This is the other door

that nobody sees

that nobody chooses
the other door

to which other paths
never reach

this is the other door
behind which

another life lurks
the door untested

the door untried
the alpha the omega

to the moon and stars
that promise love

John Lyons

Marks on paper

            Fire, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

Marks on paper

or on canvas
that hold
the energy
of the stroke

action art
creating shapes
in space

adding colour
that activates
the retina induces
a reaction
a change

starlight depicts
warm starlight
with movements
that alter
the cosmos

just as silence
is sound
sometimes richer
than any melody

words driven
by the power
of thought
and feeling

a beauty that stirs
passions within
body and soul
nothing human
ever lifeless

John Lyons

The sycamore senses

                      Leaf, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

The sycamore senses
the lengthening days
knows that a curve
has been passed

Its leaves tightly packed
in the buds are biding
their time ; they are aware
of their purpose in life

Poetry is not an imaginary
world – it’s as real as
those leaves patiently
waiting to burst forth

John Lyons

The year ending

40 x 40_Tiny dancer
                                  Tiny dancer, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

The living dance
upon dead minds
believe in moon magic
threaten to destroy
the earth with misplaced
enthusiasms and dreams

Time is no refuge
and no doors can
remain bolted forever
Pick up your spoons
and dig into the daily
gruel and accept the cards
you have been dealt

The only splendour
here below is love
but remember it cannot
be put into words nor
can it be photographed
Disdain all those
who would betray it
they are not worth the soil
in which they are buried

John Lyons

Baudelaire – Exotic perfume

Jeanne Duval was the Haitian-born mistress of Charles Baudelaire. She is captured in the portrait (1862) below by Édouard Manet


Exotic Perfume

When, on a warm autumn eve, my eyes closed
I breathe in the fragrance of your warm breast
I see happy shores unfurl before me 
lit up by the fires of a monotone sun;

A languorous island where nature produces
Strange trees and luscious fruits;
Men with slender vigorous bodies,
And women who stun with the candour of their eyes.

Led by your fragrance to these charming climates,
I see a port teeming with sails and masts
All wearied still by the sea swell,

While the perfume of green tamarinds,
That drifts in the air and fills my nostrils,
Melds in my soul with the sailors’ songs.

Charles Baudelaire
(translation by John Lyons)

Parfum exotique

Quand, les deux yeux fermés, en un soir chaud d’automne,
Je respire l’odeur de ton sein chaleureux,
Je vois se dérouler des rivages heureux
Qu’éblouissent les feux d’un soleil monotone;

Une île paresseuse où la nature donne
Des arbres singuliers et des fruits savoureux;
Des hommes dont le corps est mince et vigoureux,
Et des femmes dont l’oeil par sa franchise étonne.

Guidé par ton odeur vers de charmants climats,
Je vois un port rempli de voiles et de mâts
Encor tout fatigués par la vague marine,

Pendant que le parfum des verts tamariniers,
Qui circule dans l’air et m’enfle la narine,
Se mêle dans mon âme au chant des mariniers.

Charles Baudelaire

A poetry of familiar things

          Cascade, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

A poetry of familiar things
a sparrow or a rose
or flowering mimosa
a simple summer cotton dress
decorated with flowers
which she wears with pride

The families that traipse
up and down
the Promenade des Anglais
in Nice : the blue sea
and the blue sky
the heat of the day
in August

Chagall and Matisse
and Italian sorbets
and the insatiable thirst
for love and life

John Lyons

Une poésie des choses familières
un moineau ou une rose
ou mimosa en fleurs
une simple robe d’été en coton
décorée de fleurs
qu’elle porte avec fierté

Les familles qui traînent
haut et bas
la Promenade des Anglais
à Nice : la mer bleue
et le ciel bleu
la chaleur du jour
en août

Chagall et Matisse
et des sorbets italiens
et la soif insatiable
d’amour et de vie

Love’s betrayal

                 Landscape, John Lyons (paper collage)

How light moves

among the branches
in late November
when the leaves
have fallen

and how silently
the squirrels move
now that there’s
no foliage to brush
against their tails

for a few months
the treeline fades
into the horizon
and the eye adjusts
to the effects of winter

at night the black sky
fills with stars or
with an icy moon
that shivers
in the cold universe

and so we sleep on
and dream of passion
and long for the rebirth
of daffodils and roses and
an end to love’s betrayal

John Lyons

Against love’s erasure

          Erasures, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

No destiny other than words
       actions carved from light
narratives from the heart
       a domicile of tenderness
lovers blood-partnered
       and bound by skin and bone
marigolds for all seasons
       soft whispered caresses

in the blind crucible of space
       in which dying stars
plead with the universe
       for a peppering of kisses
for an exemption
       from the death of energy
a prorogation of love
       amid the lucid silence
the flotsam and jetsam
      of old persuasions 

John Lyons