The art of love


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

This then is life
       a canvas gone astray
in which the colours
       simply did not work
an abstract landscape
       buried beneath
buff titanium
       just the edges remaining
a few outlines
       to facilitate
a reconstruction
       the right tone of pink
a warmer shade of blue
       and a mingling of green
upon yellow yellow
       upon green

Art is not necessarily
       a one-day event
it can be expeditionary
       a reconnaissance
of unknown terrains
       best to leave markers
in case steps need
       to be retraced

This then is love
       in which feelings
congregate and one
       explores another
and confidences
       are exchanged
and it all begins
       to resemble the way
we pictured it
       in our hearts

John Lyons

Lear and his daughters

30 x 24_King Lear
                     King Lear, John Lyons (24 x 30 cm, oil on canvas)

A method to the madness
         an underlying grid a pattern
an old canvas pitted with pigment
         swathed in buff titanium
upon which a trellis of cadmium red
         and finally gentle strokes of the brush
to deposit patches of burnt umber
         ashes to ash applied

Out of the earth Lear and his daughters
         and the love that each has or has not
a stage for the passage of time
         for a shift in the power of prevailing winds
Choices choices as the blood circulates
        as the words vanish along with their breath
into thin air : the play is always the thing
         the capture of colour under the fading light

When I was a boy I would have sold
         my kingdom for a horse for a pony
to carry me off into the sunset
         Now age has mottled my skin
and confined me to local horizons
         under a heavy head of silver hair
I gather my dust and count
         the few blessings that remain
: on my lips the tempestuous taste of real love
         as in Spitalfields where the final curtain fell

John Lyons

Out of Eden

             Out of Eden, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Out of Eden
       there flowed two rivers
through fields of corn
       and barley and rye
and people gathered on the banks
       their eyes fixed upon
the shifting waters
       and the sunlight
that danced on the surface
       : this is where
our ancestors learned
       the shape of love
and where they chose
       their colours

John Lyons

Eden – a work in progress

        Eden – a work in progress, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Here is land
       laid on canvas
an Eden
       of the imagination
out of which
       two rivers flow

Shapes formed
       from strokes
of the brush
       using colours
out of the earth
       here is light
and time
       to contemplate

the distance
       we have come
since our birth
       all that we have seen
all that we have felt
       all that we have been

The oils have yet to dry
       and when they do
some will be toned down
       others will be intensified
here is Eden
       a work in progress
like us all
       all who love

John Lyons

Out of the darkness

               On black, John Lyons (10 x 12 in, oil on canvas)

Out of the darkness
comes a cascade
of colour
of light
of love

here where words
flow in streams
all the energy
of the universe
finds expression
art with its visual
voice and poetry
with its glowing 
sequences of breath

heat and passion
a knife taken
to the cold canvas
out of it comes faith
and the hope too
that our lives
may be worth

John Lyons

Tiny dancer

40 x 40_Tiny dancer

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

Tiny dancer
a shape that shifts

through the air

Over land or sea
a silhouette gliding

through space
The exuberance

of movement
to time and yet

We hear the music

in our imagination
the dancer advances

in leaps and bounds
under desert blue skies

All is revealed
where masks are worn

where love never tires
and faith is never lost

John Lyons

A colourful love affair


           Gestation, John Lyons (50 x 70 cm, oil on canvas)

This is how it begins
       less an idea than an embryo
what it is and what it will be
       who knows ?
What colours and shapes and textures
       remain to be seen

As it stands
       the easy stage is complete
where anything can go right
       because there’s everything
to play for : the black mixed
       with two shades of blue
the cadmium yellow cut
       with a little burnt umber

I now need to hold back
       to listen to the canvas
to turn it this way and that
       scrutinise it
from every angle for days
       or even weeks on end
before further decisions
       are taken

In time it’ll tell me
       what it wants to express
and I trust
       as always
that it’ll keep me
       in the frame

Can one fall in love
       with cadmium yellow
or the cadmium red
       that is currently absent
making the heart
       grow fonder ?

Playful or serious
       there’ll be a message
but it’ll string me along
       keep me on my toes
until it finally decides
       to reveal all

John Lyons

Coffee bones

Coffee bones, John Lyons (30 x 30 cm, coffee grounds and oil on canvas)

Bones that yearn
for other bones
out of the earth
into the earth

coffee grounds
and yellow cadmium
eyes turning
one toward the other

only love heals
the scars left
by love

her hazel eyes
her lips
a celebration

love woven
on the loom
of her life

and the echo
of other bones
long gone

Venus sidles up
to the moon
and for a brief

it illuminates
their love
their bodies turning
in unison

time will one day
sweep them away
for ever conjoined
their dust

their bones
laid to rest
for a single

John Lyons

The kiss


            Lovers, John Lyons (50 x 50 cm, oil on canvas)

An aerial view
of the lie

of the land
lovers locking

into a kiss
a port of call

a docking
one delicately

poised above

a passage
through time

a navigation
of narrow straits

John Lyons

Forever in my life


Rainfall, John Lyons (70 x 50 cm, oil on canvas)

The rain perhaps
the rain as it used to rain
in my childhood
slow steady rain
an ablution of the earth
the damp air heavy
with the scent of soil

The rain perhaps
tiny droplets of memory
falling through the universe
and my mind wanders
to far forgotten places
and the faces
that I knew there

The rain perhaps
when we first built a shelter
and called it love
and we huddled there
together tightly and listened
to the rain and wind
and were content

The rain perhaps
that is neither a beginning
nor an end in itself
as though I had
always known you
always wanted you
forever in my life

John Lyons