What words are worth

It all depends
on the time
and the place
a context a language
for all seasons
for all moments
for all emotions

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
on a sweltering day
heading into Manhattan
picking up some of the vibe
of Walt Whitman
of Frank O’Hara
of Jackson Pollock
and Willem de Kooning

and memories of you
and your desolate life
the fantasies you chase
the abuse you suffered
as a child and all the dreams
that time has swept away
and the lovelessness
in which it has left you

John Lyons

Love is all we have

Love these cool
October mornings
when we wake to a world
on the edge of frost
but with the expectation
of sunshine and a blue sky

As I walk in the street
my spent breath dissipates
before my eyes

In the background
I hear the chatter
of sparrows
the cooing of pigeons

This is the story of time
and all our evanescent days
that are bound to vanish
no matter how earnestly
we attempt to seize them

The flow is relentless –
the rivers that run down
to the sea or the bells
that toll for us all
on the tower
of the Conciergerie

The pulse of blood
carries me forward
on a tide of oxygen
I may love you
or leave you
You may love me
or leave me

But time is all we have
for the present

A breath of fresh air

Is that why a stroll
       through forests
or ancient woodland
       is so refreshing
and so relaxing
       all that oxygen
the trees and plants
       release into the air ?

Is that why standing
       on the shoreline
staring out
       at the ocean horizon
induces such calm
       in the soul ?

John Lyons

Dandelion days


A field or a lawn of bright
       dancing dandelions
their Latin name Taraxacum
       comes from the Persian
but for the Swedes
       they are wormroses maskros
how many people know that
       and what does it matter ?

As children we counted them
       and when they’d gone to seed
we plucked them and puffed
       on the puffballs sending the seeds
flying into the warm summer air
       O the enchanted delights
of our sweet dandelion days
       never forgotten never to return

John Lyons

Day of remembrance

On Friday mornings
       I visit the willows
in the park
       They’ve been a presence
in my life for as long
       as I can remember
that is to say
       I’ve known them longer
than most of the people
       that I now know

Love has come and gone
       and come and gone again
but the willows remain
       A small stream runs
through the park
       and often as a child
I would stand
       on the narrow bridge
and watch the water flow
       over the gentle weir
and sometimes
       with a glass jar in hand
I would fish for tadpoles
       and proudly carry them home

And sometimes now I think
       of all the different bridges
I’ve crossed in my life and
       all the rivers I’ve gazed into
sometimes accompanied
       sometimes alone
and I remember so much
       and regret nothing

John Lyons

And so it goes. . .

Leaves falling
through the air
through time
through space
through all the years
of my life since
my time began

while new buds
are forming
in time and in space
preparing to take
their place
and so it goes
and so it goes

John Lyons

Kicking the leaves

Not enough leaves to kick
       but soon they will come
tumbling down and the wind
       will gather them into piles
where dust will accumulate
       as they dry out and children
on their way home from school
       will wade into these piles
and toss the leaves up into the air
       laughing and skipping as they go

and I will remember that hill
       I descended all those years ago
a young boy full of the excitement
      of learning and of life and friendship
an early admirer of the world’s natural
       beauty and intrinsic simplicity

John Lyons

Enigmatic light

How can there be darkness
in a universe made of light

how can extreme cold exist
in this cauldron of fire –

and unkindness and a lack
of love in a world where

sparrows and foxes come
and go with no agenda

other than to live to the full
where trees blossom

and bear fruit where
every living creature

has its hour of glory
and greed and envy

and anger and deceit
are quite unknown

John Lyons

Beauty is not fragile

Beauty is not fragile
it’s what persists
despite adversity
despite pain and loss

for example the rose
that returns season
after season its dignity
unabashed by icy storms

and as one year’s petals
wither and die new buds
are forming deep within
awaiting their moment

or the beauty of oaks
centuries old bastions
of ancient woodlands
and wide open meadows

custodians of time
and of the earth
and the eternal cycle
of life and death

John Lyons

What painting teaches

gate 4

What painting teaches us
that things can go wrong
that things can be put right
give it time – drying time

pay attention and listen
to what the canvas has to say
don’t be afraid to experiment
try out fresh colours or add

a few extra lines here and there
the medium has its own eloquence
try to see what is there to see
hiding in plain sight or

behind the closed door
think of it as furniture
that may be turned around
in room so that everything

eventually comes together
try to think inside and
outside of the frame
and never admit defeat

John Lyons