Rilke’s Apollo

Archaic torso of apollo
Archaic torso of Apollo

Rilke’s Apollo

Value shaped
           by the heart
and by the hand
           lends form to love
The torso that gleams
           the flicker of stone
seen in the eyes
           all the softness
of starlight
           caught in the lines
from which these
           my words
take their life
The artist a beast
           that preys upon
the timeless universe’s
           and depth

John Lyons

Em português:

O Apolo de Rilke

Valor formado
            pelo coração
e pela mão
            dá forma ao amor
O torso que brilha
            o cintilar de pedra
visto nos olhos
            toda a suavidade
da luz das estrelas
            pego nas linhas
das quais
            minhas palavras
tiram a vida
O artista uma fera
            que faz pilhagem
da distância
           do movimento
da profundidade
           do eterno universo


More empty words

More empty words

A mind set in stone
            or cast in bronze
a monument
            to living breath
a form first caught
            in a sketch
in pencil
            or pen and ink

Shapes that engage
            the heart
and the memory
            of days
when we walked
            through these galleries
or when I held
            her warm hand in mine
and we were in love
            or so I thought

How solemnly the river flows
past the Tower
            on these grey days
on these dark nights
            no stars to be seen

An empty sky

            an empty ocean
an empty heart full
            of empty words

John Lyons

Revised from a version posted earlier today

Moon Head


Moon Head 1964 Henry Moore OM, CH 1898-1986 Presented by the artist 1978
Henry Moore, Moon Head, 1964



Today’s poem, written this morning, was inspired by the eponymous sculpture by Henry Moore, contemplated during a visit to Tate Britain in Pimlico last Sunday. This relatively small piece, dating from 1964 and cast in bronze, is one of Moore’s most intimate and expressive sculptures. Its eloquent, wordless beauty, like that of any true classic, is inexhaustible.


Moon Head

The face has phases
       that ebb and flow
with the tides of time
       the soft sensuous bronze
of your face
       illuminated at the eyes
and the mouth :
       the smoothness of your skin
the modest inclination
       of the head poised
on the erect neck

The face has phases
       of intimate conversation
is locked in endless
       dialogue and through
a series of discreet whispers
       conveys confidentially
the irreducible delicacies of love
       Tough love
with its wisdoms that will outlive
       the futility of day-to-day

Here is a honeyed kiss
       cast in bronze
here at the point
       where lip and face
and panting breath
       interlock tenderly
here where beauty lies in
       the arms of the beholder

John Lyons


Alice Anderson – the Midas touch

The Midas touch of Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson “Ropes”

If you haven’t seen it already, there’s still time to catch the free exhibition of sculptures by Alice Anderson at the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road, (diagonally opposite Euston Station), before it closes on 18 October.

According to the publicity handout:

Alice Anderson asks you to take a journey into memory. Displayed together for the first time is a series of sculptures which prompt you to rediscover things you thought you already knew. A computer, a record-player, sketch-books, a bicycle, even a staircase have been transformed into luminous half-recognisable shapes through a process the artist refers to as “mummification”. This process actually involves the objects being bound with very fine copper thread so that they are, theoretically preserved for all time.

The exhibition experience is broken down into a series of themed rooms. In the first room, called Studio, you are invited to contribute to a sculpture by becoming part of Anderson’s studio. Here you can participate in the transformation of a ‘naked’ object by weaving copper thread around a 1967 Ford Mustang. The space where this occurs has minimal lighting to heighten the impact of the glowing copper thread and the effect is absolutely breathtaking.


And as you move through the different spaces of the exhibition you are bombarded with a series of everyday objects similarly wrapped in the copper thread. The range of objects mummified includes a plasma tv screen, a guitar, a bicycle, keys, a telescope, a turntable, eye glasses, a smoking pipe, a telephone, coat hangers, a stethoscope, tools including screwdrivers and hammers, a basketball, a boomerang, a set of drums, ladders, shelves, geometrical shapes, and so on, and the cumulative effect is spectacular.

Two sculptures in particular caught my imagination: the first was a staircase wrapped in the luminous thread, and such was the scintillating play of light that it appeared to be a staircase to heaven. The second sculpture (illustrated at the top of the page) was a huge, twisting and turning cable of copper rope suspended from the ceiling in one room creating a beautiful abstract space that visitors are able to walk through and therefore observe the rope from every dimension.

Alice Anderson

Like with so much conceptual art, Alice Anderson is inviting us to take a fresh look at everyday objects we take for granted by reducing them to their essential shapes. However, the fact that they are bound in a glowing precious metal inevitably enhances their worth—especially given the market price of copper today—and the overall effect is as though Miss Anderson has transformed the objects into gold with her Midas touch. I would add incidentally, that it is probably no coincidence that the artist’s own hair is copper-coloured. Make of that what you will!

Alice Anderson lives and works in London. She studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux- Arts de Paris and at Goldsmiths College London. See

Never been to the Wellcome Collection? If that’s the case, make a note. It’s a fabulous exhibition space, and the museum’s permanent collection is full of informative displays. The building itself is worth a drop-in visit, and on the day I was there the cafeteria and bookshop were buzzing. On top of all this, the venue has a broad programme of events embracing the arts and sciences, the majority of which are free. Details available from