I’m only asking

I’m only asking

What does your day hold
what are you bringing to it

what hopes and dreams
what gestures of love

for all the hours
that will never return

what have you planned
and what are you prepared

to let unfold
in the summer breeze

what respect for others
and for yourself

will guide your actions
and inform your choices ?

John Lyons

The earth we walk

The earth we walk

Something pure and simple
           on these cold mornings
when there is ice underfoot
           and windows are frosted
birds singing as though
           it were the dawn of time
which for them it is
           just as it is in a sense for us

we live on the threshold
           of the instant our memories
filled with future projects
           it’s all about what is to come
the next move the next step
           each of us with our own agenda
the marriages of hope
           and expectation
the bones we have built up
           for finer things

there are those who live
           on the side of time
and those who resist it
           those who could stare
for hours
           into the heart of a rose
and those who could never
           see the point

We live within the ruins
           of decadence and beauty
new cities will rise up
           on the site of our demise
but not for the moment
           the rose too will wither and die
but not for the moment—
           love all you can
while you can
           the rest is history

John Lyons

Respite

Respite

Out onto the quiet streets
           clear pale blue sky
and lower temperatures
           the winter respite
during which
           crocuses have appeared
on the edges of the woodland
           trees covered in dense ivy

A moment for reflection for time
           with the solitude of the self
that restless inner voice
           full of temperament
and belief and hope
           the thoughtful mind
that moves through
           the transparent air
through the barometric
           pressures of time
and space and place
           a sense of movement
through the stillness
           of the constructed world
unconsciously conscious
           a human shadow
unseen unheard full of
           compassion for this world
of particles that would
           split the atom

John Lyons

Beauty

All that is certain
Beyond dispute
The petals in full flush
The gentle fold of her lips
The skin smooth
And soft to the touch
A certain light in the eyes
That never fades
Age imperceptible
The smile ever present
The promise of laughter
Of a kiss
Of a warm embrace
All that is beyond doubt
True for all time
At every pulse and inspiration
What renders the flesh immortal
Nothing nameless or pointless
Love

John Lyons

The great unrest of which we are part

The great unrest of which we are part

As I sat today in solitude
         by the rolling river
my thoughts went floating
         on vast and mystic currents

What is Nature but change
         in all its visible and still more
its invisible processes ?
         Or what is humanity – in its faith
in its love its heroism its poetry
         even in its morals –
but emotion ?

Fifty thousand years ago
         the constellation of the Great Bear
or Dipper was a starry cross
         a hundred thousand years hence
the imaginary Dipper will be upside down
         and the stars
which form the bowl and handle
         will have changed places

The misty nebulae are moving
         and besides are whirling around
in great spirals
         some one way some another
Every molecule of matter
         in the whole universe
is swinging to and fro
         every particle of ether
which fills space
         is in jelly-like vibration
Light is one kind of motion
         heat another
electricity another
         magnetism another
sound another

Every human sense
         is the result of motion
every perception every thought
         is but motion of the molecules
of the brain translated by
         that incomprehensible thing
we call mind
         The processes of growth
of existence and of decay
         whether in worlds
or in the minutest organisms
         are but motion

Adapted from Walt Whitman

On just such a day

On just such a day

So the rain fell
         and the river rose
and ducks swam freely
         in the road

The sun that day
         was an afterthought
almost forgotten
         behind the dense cloud

A young child
         in a pushchair
waved his arms for joy
         when he saw the ducks

There was lilac blossom
         in the gardens
I spotted a red-breasted robin
         scavenging for food

and across the river
         I could see the park
with its monument
         to those who fell

in Spain in defence
         of the Republic :
so many memorials
         to so many fallen

in so many wars
         That night the moon
shone full – exemplary
         in the black sky littered

with its tiny pinpricks
         of silver starlight
and the wind changed
         blew up from the south

Anything might happen
         -or so I thought- in this world
where so often the easiest lessons
         are so hard to learn

John Lyons

Resolution

Like my poetry, I am a work in progress, as I believe we all are. We all hanker after times and places of innocence and yet we would never exchange the present for the past, go back to our childhoods. Whether or not we make resolutions at the start of a new year is immaterial: we are all constantly evolving and adapting to change. In our hearts we long for growth, for improvement, for greater understanding of ourselves, of our relationships, and of the world around us. Each day is a draft, an attempt, and maturity teaches us at least to accept that among the successes, the minor gains, there will be failures, perhaps even dead-ends that force us to rethink everything, to begin again. Setbacks. The occasional achievement. So it is with writing. There are good days, and days where the writing simply does not flow, or if it does, it flows too easily and in hindsight amounts to nothing.

Reading the letters of Samuel Beckett has been salutary and illuminating. So much of Beckett’s writing is soliloquy. In the novel, The Unnamable, in his theatre Krapp’s Last Tape, the sole soul on the stage or on the page, life’s essential drama, to be or not to be, and Beckett’s Hamlet finally responds in the novel: “. . . where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” Resolution.


 

Resolution

To avoid further calamity
         to recapture the innocence
of time and place
         that I knew as a child
there on the heath
         amid the sand dunes
and the gorse
         the sun scorching my face
breath fast and furious
         up hill and down dale on a bicycle
the yellow-brick road of youth
         innocence of the earth
of the seasons
         of the rise and fall of nature
to be finally in tune with myself
         in control of my idiom
and with some understanding
         of the enigma of my being
among all other beings
         Yes I am guilty of days
months and years
         but the rain
the fierce morning rain
         that shattered my sleep
has absolved me
         I mourn nothing
not even the passage of time
         nor the process of aging
I am the only secret
         I will take to the grave
but I am content
         and I live in hope
                  always

John Lyons