Making peace

Making peace

So comes love
to the table
to negotiate
a peace
a settlement
sign a treaty
of sorts

A location
has been identified
where axes
may be buried
no questions asked
it’s really quite simple
no differences
are too big
that they cannot
be overcome
by lovers

where there’s
a will there’s
either murder
or a way
but our life
is not film noir
nor are we
an entertainment
so let’s stick to what
we know best
let’s make love
as though there
were no tomorrow
because who knows ?

John Lyons

Love’s creation


Love’s creation

Love’s creation
an ocean of words
of colour on canvas
of notes on a stave
dance steps
on a sprung floor
all shapes and sizes
and the rain that feeds
all growing things
pearls within an oyster
and a green knight

child of the woods

I grew into my life
fought fears and learnt
to breathe the air freely
my shy feet carried me
overseas and back
but I have always been
where I am and
I am since you
drowning amid

I have peered
into your smile
known the danger
and survived
you are a singular
kingdom crowned
with living coral
I am the spirit
that creeps upon you
at night and sleeps
within your breath
my hands and wrists
are tied to your service
there are no corners
in our tomorrow only
our love’s creation

John Lyons

Corrected text

Stars disperse


Stars disperse 

That snow too
comes from the sun
oxygen and hydrogen
the stuff of life
from the same
building blocks

and stars disperse
and the universe
falls apart

and infinity occurs
in time and time
is itself timeless

imagine tiny pockets of time
encapsulated in balloons
slowly being released
into space

and you and I strolling
through Berlin’s
an der Gedächtniskirche
eating piping hot bratwurst
as December snow
flurried all around us

even our love that day
the fact that we loved
came from the sun

John Lyons

Autumn ecstasy

Autumn ecstasy

A clear crispy day
          —dry and breezy air full of oxygen
Out of the sane silent beauteous miracles
          that envelop and fuse me
—trees   water   grass   sunlight
          and early frost—
what I’m looking at most today is the sky
          It has that delicate transparent blue
peculiar to autumn and the only clouds
          are little or larger white ones
lending their still and spiritual motion
          to the great concave

Earlier in the day it maintains
          a pure yet vivid blue
but as noon approaches
          the color gets lighter
quite gray for two or three hours
          —then paler still for a spell,
till sun-down—which I observe
          dazzling through the interstices
of a knoll of big trees
          —darts of fire and a gorgeous show
of light-yellow and red with a vast silver glaze
          askant on the water and transparent shadows
and shafts  that sparkle and colors more vivid
          than any painting ever made

I never really saw the skies before
          though of course I’ve seen them all my life
Perhaps in my best moments
          I never jot them down
when they come : I cannot afford
          to break the charm
by indicting memoranda
          I just abandon myself to the mood
and let it float on bearing me up
          in its placid ecstasy

Walt Whitman

From Specimen Days (1882) adapted by John Lyons

Paul Éluard – Ecstasy

Paul Éluard – Ecstasy

I stand before this feminine landscape
Like a child before the fire
Smiling vaguely tears in my eyes
Before this feminine landscape everything stirs in me
Where mirrors mist where mirrors clear
Reflecting two naked bodies season upon season

I’ve so many motives to lose myself
Along this untravelled earth under this endless sky
Beautiful motives a day ago unknown to me
And that I’ll never ever forget
Beautiful keys to looks girlish keys to themselves
Before this landscape where nature is mine

Before the fire the first fire
Beautiful mistress motive
Identified star
On earth and under the sky in and out of my heart
Second bud first green leaf
That the sea shelters under its wings
And the sun at the end of it all coming from us

I stand before this feminine landscape
Like a branch in the fire. 

24 November 1946

Paul Éluard            
 (Translation by John Lyons )

On 28 November 1946, Eluard’s wife, Nusch, died suddenly at the age of 40. 


Je suis devant ce paysage féminin
Comme un enfant devant le feu
Souriant vaguement et les larmes aux yeux
Devant ce paysage où tout remue en moi
Où des miroirs s’embuent où des miroirs s’éclairent
Reflétant deux corps nus saison contre saison

J’ai tant de raisons de me perdre
Sur cette terre sans chemins et sous ce ciel sans horizon
Belles raisons que j’ignorais hier
Et que je n’oublierai jamais
Belles clés des regards clés filles d’elles-mêmes
Devant ce paysage où la nature est mienne

Devant le feu le premier feu
Bonne raison maîtresse
Etoile identifiée
Et sur la terre et sous le ciel hors de mon coeur et dans mon coeur
Second bourgeon première feuille verte
Que la mer couvre de ses ailes
Et le soleil au bout de tout venant de nous

Je suis devant ce paysage féminin
Comme une branche dans le feu.

Paul Éluard

Trout fishing in Kilkenny

Trout fishing in Kilkenny

Fished for trout
      that summer’s day
shallow stream
      huddle of shadows
just below the surface
      teasing us
who had nothing
      but feathered flies
to entice them
      onto the hook

. . .and so I write it
      word by word
line by line
      sifting through the past
what drew her close
      what allowed her
to slip away
       a hunger to touch
to taste that flesh

John Lyons

Wild country of the soul

Wild country of the soul

Wild rhapsody of wind
          through the trees
birds at play screeching
pigeons cooing
          on a neighbour’s roof
prelude to love
          I have a good ear
for such things
          and an arsenal of words
to deploy
          in any event

I imagine a man
          and a woman
          I imagine that it is
you and I
          but where are you ?

The orchestra strikes up
          but where are you ?
your hair floats
          across a distant pillow
you are on stage
          and have forgotten
your lines
          you have forgotten
your place and all the emotions
          we once shared

Beneath the surface
          I know there is turmoil
though not a ripple visible
          on your pale face
but I know your world
          I have a delicate ear
for such things
          the why and wherefores
of where you have chosen
          to live
the wild country
          of your soul

John Lyons

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

Put the past aside



Put the past aside

What bones to pick
what festering grudges
—let them alone
no purpose is served
by disgruntlement

history is dust
worn moth-eaten fabrics
that fall to shreds
in our hands
and empty victories
all a thing of the past

summer autumn
rain or shine
each will have his day
her day in which
to create something
new and good : face
to the prevailing wind
heart overwhelmed
with love

John Lyons