The passing of flowers


There is no aim
       to clean cut flowers –
to be frank they are
       an unnecessary need
We place them
       upon pedestals
we water them
       with affection
we say we love them
       we admire them
from all angles
       they centre our rooms
and light up the hours
       of our lives that are
themselves mere petals : and
       when their stems droop
and their blooms
       fall apart we mourn
their passing just as
       we mourn the passing
of our loves and all things that
       must necessarily pass

John Lyons

True colours

gate adjust

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

These birds too
       know that it’s September
they also have their calendars
       and live from season to season
acting in accordance
       with the earth’s mood

They see the leaves falling
       they see dew on the grass
at first light and they observe
       the behaviour of squirrels
harvesting for the winter ahead
       and they sense
in the silence in the skies
       as summer visitors depart
to warmer climes
       that life will shortly form
a tighter fist
       and that some but not all
will soon struggle to survive –
       they know more than we know

John Lyons

Edited from earlier today

Just words


From this distance in time
         that rearward vision
as life unravels
         leaf after autumn leaf
falling through the drizzle
         all those moments captured
in wordy recollections
         the winnowing wind
of memory
         me picking my way
through the text
         of my past

Where would I be
         without those words
when love was in flames
         A world unwoven
only to be threaded
         together again
poetry to exalt
         the present and the real
built on the bridge
         of what went before

John Lyons

Universe with a light touch

globe 2

    Universe, John Lyons (oil on wood)

A universe with a light touch
all that power all that energy

and still the lightest of touches
time and distance and light

and temperature and in the midst
a light touch gentle and delicate

lips that brush a forehead
or a finger that caresses a cheek

fire and destruction and fault lines
that tear the earth apart and

all the time birth to replace death
and love that binds hearts forever

John Lyons

Squirrel takes a turn

aimless 2

You would think
       that that squirrel
that spritely rodent
       with its grey bushy tail
was in training
       for something

All morning
       it has been running
back and forth
       along the rim
of the garden fence
       making a great show
of its enviable sense
       of balance : freezing
from time to time
       in quintessential poses
before leaping forward
       with acrobatic ease

Winter is approaching
       already the sun has dipped
the first frosts are days away
       the squirrel will have its sport
before summer utters
       its last call

John Lyons

What goes around


The season will soon
       be upon us again
of Vacherin Mont d’Or
       the winter cheese
in the round pine box
       deliciously baked

Think of the hillsides
       where the cows graze
where the pine trees grow
       and the wooden disks
from the base and the lid
       which I decorate
year after year
       to celebrate the force
of nature and the power
       of the imagination

John Lyons

Slender words


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

As the wind moves
through a field
of tall flowers

or through a forest
in winter
when all the leaves
have fallen

As it moves through
her hair displacing
the sunlight
as it goes

As her breath moves
through her lips
passes out
into the air

and the sound
of her laughter
of the voice shaped
by her words

her gentle smile
and the kiss
she blows
for me alone

John Lyons

Memory is distance

               Coffee grounds on yellow background, John Lyons

Memory is distance
       over time
is wholeness
       is struggle to prevent
fragmentation –
       perceptions saved
within the senses
       the dragonfly
that skimmed the pond
       summer after summer
all those years ago
       and the scent of cherry blossom
of peach and pear and plum
       and cut grass
and ice on my tongue
       the joy and sadness of rain
and winter dreams
       and the discontent of bees
as flowers fade and dust gathers
       on the gilded earth
and love comes lately
       if it comes at all

Memory is sharpness
       of the mind
we forage for it
       and sometimes stumble
upon past realms
       resurrected in the heart
savoured on the lips
       or a soft voice heard
on the edge of night
       a tender text of angels
a sudden knowledge
       of years reborn
a body politic
       to which we clasp
until daylight breaks
       across our bones

John Lyons

Machico’s Romeo and Juliet


                      Frank Dillon, The Chapel of Miracles (watercolour, 1849)

Within the Chapel of Miracles
A Capela dos Milagres
lie the bodies of the adventurer
Robert Machim and the aristocratic
Anne d’Arfet – ill-starred lovers
from the fourteenth century

Forced to elope from Bristol
their ship was driven
by a fierce storm away
from the coast of France
only to land thirteen days later
on the island of Madeira

Within days Anne died
of exhaustion – within days
Robert followed her
to the grave

John Lyons