Secrets of the heart

secrets
Secrets of the heart, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Secrets of the heart

What she whispers
into my ear

what I whisper
into hers

love intensified
by word of mouth

JohnLyons

A love bouquet

suggestion_flowers
Love bouquet, John Lyons (oil on wood)

A love bouquet

The mere suggestion
           will suffice
when it comes
           to art
the form
           inseparable
from the content
           shapes we carry
in the memory
           things associated
with multiple purposes
           the detailing
of the expression
           of feelings
a simple bouquet
           for my love

John Lyons


Corrected text

The web of wombs

The web of wombs

The stars are out tonight
not quite infinite in number

but nevertheless innumerable
diamonds are tiny nuggets of star

stars and diamonds are celebration
that in the darkness there is light

as there is light in her eyes
and in her smile a celebration

In these winter days
we have each other for warmth

all warmth from the stars
all love that warms the cockles

the creative universe a web of wombs
out of which each human heart

John Lyons

The necessary rose

The necessary rose

What Wallace took
           from Emerson
that the beautiful rests
           on the foundations
of the necessary
           the poet’s fidelity
to his office
           to the announcement
and affirmation
           of the beauty of things

All form is an effect
           of character
all condition
           of the quality of life
The soul is the form
           that makes the body
: the beauty of a rose
           is not arbitrary
it is the embodiment
           of a truth and only as such
does it enter our spiritual world
           and love is the higher beauty
to which our human souls
           necessarily aspire

John Lyons

The age of innocence

The age of innocence

The age of steam
had not ended
when I was born

I remember
thick plumes of smoke
that trailed
behind the locomotives

and the acrid air
that hung
in the soot-stained platforms

I remember
the piercing whistles
that trumpeted warnings

as the engines roared
through the station
at full throttle

and the rhythmic chug
and pant
and the grinding
of wheels of steel on steel

I was a child then
and I remember
all my innocence
and my love of life

John Lyons

The default setting

The default setting

When the poem
           doesn’t come together
I put down the words
           and pick up the paints
and when the colours disobey me
           and run riot all over the canvas
I never know what to do
           Someone once told me
Just let them be
           the colours and the words
they will find their own way
           if you just let them be

At the moment my fingers
           are reeking of turpentine
and I don’t know
           whether to paint
or to write
           or do neither

I had a thought
           that the default setting
of our souls
           is love
and that we are to live
           as roses do
rooted in the soil
           aspiring to beauty

John Lyons

Autumn days

autumn
Autumn, John Lyons (oil on wood)

Autumn days

A clear crispy day
           dry and breezy air
full of oxygen
           So I go wrapt
in the beauty of things
           trees water grass
sunlight early frost
           the silver glaze
of light on the river
           colours beyond
any painting ever made

Sometimes I think
           I never saw the skies before
their still motion in the heavens
           day after day
sunrise and sunset
           so often tinged
with reds and golds

What is happiness
           if not moments like this
when I abandon myself
           to nature’s moods
the impalpable
           evanescent beauty
of the spirit in breath
           that drips endlessly
subtly through the air ?

John Lyons


Adapted from Walt Whitman, Specimen Days