The idle dust of praise


       Hillside, John Lyons (30 x 25 cm, oil on canvas)

The idle dust of praise

Back in the day
       through the mountains
along faded winding paths
       lined with gorse and heather
sheep on the hillside
        marauding hawks
in the air
       scavenging for fresh life

At night an ocean mist
       rolled in to smother
the dreams of those who lay
       awake in their shattered sleep
cursing the owls that counted
       down the loveless hours

So many words
       so much to do
so little done
       all vanity humbled
beneath the dying stars
       soft lullabies of pain
just to stir the idle dust
       of praise

John Lyons

C’est la vie


Monotone, John Lyons, (30 x 20 cm, oil on canvas)

C’est la vie

Night floats
into day
day floats
into night

all that

all rivers
run down
to the sea

all bodies
or later

love comes
and goes
but not

it never comes
it never goes

c’est la vie
that’s life

John Lyons

Nothing saddens me now

Nothing saddens me now

Nothing saddens me
I have no tears
I feel no pain
I pine for no one
nor for any thing

you have exhausted
every avenue of sorrow
within me leaving me 
no alternative but
to live life to the full

in joy and creativity
painting as best I can
writing as best I can
loving those around me
as best I can

John Lyons

We are rare earths

rare earths
Rare earths, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

We are rare earths

Rare earths
           we bind in alloys
our bodies stretched
           across the periodic table
our flesh and blood
           our memories both
enriched and depleted
           in the process of time

We may pretend to love
           but our true destiny
is atomic and we are
down to the tiniest
           particle and thus when
all our closed circuits
           are finally broken down
and destroyed
           we are merely returned
to live among our faithful
           cosmic kith and kin

John Lyons

Country couplets

Country, John Lyons (50 x 40 cm, oil on canvas board)

Country couplets

All things of the earth
: sheep grazing

and hawks hovering
above dry dusty fields

scouring the stubble
of wheat and barley

with an eye for the kill
Summer days again gone

and so on and on the cycle
of death and resurrection

all that we live for sustained
by the fat of the land

work of human hand
cue September mists

and lovers’ lethargy
loth to rise from their beds

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


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

Of art poetry and love

Infancy, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Of art poetry and love

Nothing changes
           from generation
to generation
           but the thing seen
and that makes

writing and painting
           are like that in that
what is observed
           whether internally
or externally
           provides the material
necessary to live
           as an outlaw
in defiance of rules
           and totally open
to the unexpected
           that is why lovers
are always ahead
           of their time
because they create
           something entirely new

a bond composed
           of myriads of affinities
alongside refreshing
love like that
           is always beginning
is never ending
           is a fount of constant
innovation and harmonious
art poetry and love
           are the natural trinity
in which beauty and truth
           are enshrined

John Lyons


Crossed wires

Crossed wires, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Crossed wires

Two thick colours
           cut with a knife
crossed wires spread
           with a stiff brush
so that the paint
into iridescent
           skeins of light

a canvas
           is not an excuse
for dreariness
           or it might
just as well
           be a sack
but neither is drab
          daintiness required

a single meaning
           is quite meaningless
because everyone prefers
           a little variety
in the weather
           as long as the damp
does not get
           into the bones

let us say
           without fear of pretension
or contradiction
           that art is both a search
and a voyage of discovery
           and sometimes a flower
will never look the same
           after a decent portrait

but never forget
           there is a perfect climate
for every cake
           and a broken promise
should never be forgiven
           in the meantime
a good composition
           can bridge the gap
between one solitude
           and another

John Lyons