The Tower

                  St Leonard’s Tower, West Malling

The Tower

Hot sun

Tinging the grey rag-stone

With gold.

Standing proud against,

A blue, blue

Perfect sky.

The sound of thrushes

In the surrounding parched trees,

Two buzzards wheel overhead.

Ancient stones

Laid down long ago,

By men from history

Gundulph or Odo of Bayeaux,

The detail is lost,

In the realms of time.

Casting its shadow

Over the valley

Of long lost hop fields,

And orchards now depleted

Of their succulent fruit.

Molly Rosenberg

For other poems by Molly Rosenberg search “Molly”

Love’s saving grace

Everything turns into writing    Crows
calling to each other across parched fields
a hawk hovers high above the wheat stubble
no rabbits     no hares     a vast emptiness
year after year    crop after crop     the rise
and fall of carbon     wheat     bread    energy
life and death
             names that come and go and are
soon forgotten     :   this is an erasure
universe in which the only constant
is change   
           In the house that Jack built time turns
everything upside down     Poets fight
to stem the tide     build a bulwark of words
remembering love
                        as the saving grace

John Lyons

The law of love

I watch the martens trawl the evening sky
the mystery of life before my eyes,
our brief span on this earth before we die
creation’s law that never ever lies.
       Stumps of time     all our words and deeds,
how many names live on and for how long
before forgotten in a place of weeds
the rich    the poor    the feeble    and the strong
Grace to be born
                        to live the law of love
that makes us worthy children of the stars
to favour over war the peaceful dove
and to forsake the angry way that mars
the beauty of this world that we should share
respecting one and all
                            with gentle care.

John Lyons

And tongues to be. . .

“‘And tongues to be your being shall rehearse,’”
“Just imagine him counting out those words.”
“‘Your monument shall be my gentle verse,’”
“The finest cheese      made from the finest curds.”
Now Patsy has much talent to amuse
In knowledge as in hue she is most fair.
“A challenge I shall set       you can’t refuse
Write me a rhyming sonnet I thee dare.”
My fingers drumming on the table top
I hum and ha while setting to the task.
The neighbours’ dog is barking  :  IT MUST STOP!
Give it a bone
                  is that too much to ask?
The poet struggling helpless and forlorn
Puts down his pen
                         picks up the crumpled horn. 

John Lyons

Star-crossed lovers

“No birth no death no beginning no end
the gates of paradise beckon as time
slips into eternal mode      Black on white
the words unwind across the page   :  poems
we project onto the mind     line after line
reel after reel       empires of the senses
the rise and fall of roses      the rivers
that forever run down to the sea
star-crossed lovers
                         and ancient mariners. . .”
“A night at the movies,” Patsy adds, “or
a dog day afternoon.”     In the house that
Jack built such enlightened banter is all
the rage    A shaft of light through the curtains
captures the dust
                     falling all around us

John Lyons

Ball of love

Sun up.    The foxes have fallen silent
I hear pigeons and sparrows and magpies
The air is quite cool     but the sky is blue
Patsy is still sleeping   :  she will wake soon
and I will bring her coffee without which
she simply cannot function        my pleasure
to serve her and to see her eyes light up
In the house that Jack built
                                      it’s the simple
gestures that keep the ball of love rolling
How strange to think that one day all this will
be over           What will become of our words?
How will all the love we have known transcend
to another level of universe
as we hand our carbon
                                back to the earth?

John Lyons

No rhyme or reason

“No rhyme or reason to this country,” she
says —that’s Patsy, the house philosopher—
“Every day we wake to the news that
the poor are getting poorer and the rich
richer.” “The law of nature,” I smile back
to her.
       Outside the fierce summer sun is
crisping up the dust on the streets    I feel
it in my throat     “Come back to bed, Patsy,
the day is young.”
              She shakes her pretty head.
“No no.  Miles to go,    things to do    never
enough time on the infernal clock.”   I
hear pigeons on the roof cooing   making
love      mating     call it what you will
having a good time
                      before the sun sets

John Lyons

The silent life of flowers

The delicate silent life of flowers
the red rose in bud     its petals slowly
unfolding     damp now with the morning dew
Discrete beauty built from matter forged in
the furnace of stars    along with us all
Grace to be born
                     with a heart and mind
to know and be known and feel love’s power
to have the words and the breath to map out
the glory that it is to be alive
Last night the foxes     magpies this morning
but the noise is harmless   :   no anger in
their world 
           We the angry ones have so much
to learn from the peace and serenity
of the natural world that surrounds us.

John Lyons

Brief lives brief memories

O rose     pure contradiction    sleep softly
under so many lids     Your thorned beauty
sans pareil in the kingdom of decay
incites all who see you to ecstasy
So brief your silent life immortalised
in paint and poetry
                        you bless the vows
of lovers even as you follow them 
down to the grave and mingle with their dust
I had so many questions    :   all my life
Brief lives    brief memories     and crystal tears
that soak into the soil to feed your death
To what purpose do the stars move if not
to foster love       Grace to be born into
—o so rare— 
           an age of enlightenment

John Lyons

Time gentlemen

Days go by.    How terrible is time    Too
much or too little     both can be killers
In the house that Jack built we try to take
time in our stride
                 I lie in bed and watch
Patsy dress    I tell her she’s got the body
of an angel        “You just going to lie
there?” she smiles, “haven’t you got work to do?”
Out on the street a small dog is yapping.
Dog days.     Can feel the dust coating the back
of my throat
              Grace to be alive      to read
Apollinaire     his sad but beautiful
Poems to Lou :  he turned everything
into writing     Dark night  :  shells exploding
over the Western Front
                              Time gentlemen

John Lyons