A feast of locusts

A feast of locusts
and wild honey
or fish freshly
pulled from the lake

nothing is lost
nothing ever fails
words that outlive
the memory

the speech of truth
the intelligence
of love the breath
of freedom

the scent of lilacs
fills the transparent air
a table is laid
for guests

a beam of sunlight
through the curtains
the slow descent of dust
fine particles of time

a woman with a cloud
on her shoulder sits
under an old oak
in which blackbirds perch

life is the colour of love
wherever the sun rises
a bravura of the heart
an unending kiss

John Lyons

We are of the sun

Let’s be clear
we are of the sun
and our essence
is to shine

we of the bare day
and of the bare night
are of the sun
in our actions

and when we rest
when we speak or
when we are silent
just as angels

so it is said
are modulations
of stars that have
descended to earth

I in her beauty
saw sunlight
and truth and love
her golden coinage

John Lyons



Love’s betrayal

landscape
                 Landscape, John Lyons (paper collage)

How light moves

among the branches
in late November
when the leaves
have fallen

and how silently
the squirrels move
now that there’s
no foliage to brush
against their tails

for a few months
the treeline fades
into the horizon
and the eye adjusts
to the effects of winter

at night the black sky
fills with stars or
with an icy moon
that shivers
in the cold universe

and so we sleep on
and dream of passion
and long for the rebirth
of daffodils and roses and
an end to love’s betrayal

John Lyons

Walt Whitman – Midnight migration

walt-whitman
               Walt Whitman

The midnight flight of birds
       passing through the air
darkness overhead
       immense flocks migrating north

In the silence in the shadow
       the delicious odor of the hour
the natural perfume – a rare music
       the rush of mighty wings
or a velvety rustle
       long drawn out
with continual calls and chirps
       and some song-notes

It lasted from 12 till after 3 –
       once in a while a species
plainly distinguishable
       the bobolink the tanager
Wilson’s thrush
       the white-crowned sparrow
and occasionally from on high
       the notes of the plover

Walt Whitman

From Specimen Days (1882), adapted by John Lyons

For the birds

The birds that build
their homes in trees
raise a family
in the balmy days

I wonder how they feel
in autumn when all the leaves
fall leaving nothing but
the bare branches

how exposed and forlorn
in the wind and the rain
homeless and rootless
until spring comes again

John Lyons

At moondusk

Yellowing leaves
       against a pale blue sky
a gentle easterly wind
       barely enough to chill
the simplicity of sunshine
       illuminating all things

Last night at moondusk
       I thought of you
your thin auburn hair
       your pale skin
your dream-weary eyes
       your ungainly beauty

Just now a sparrow sprang
       from within a thicket
irrepressible life
       each moment lived
as though it were the first
       and the last

rough odes hewn
       from seamless words
the formalities of the sonnet
       and blood that longs
to create so as to proclaim
       that through the turbulence
through all the trials
       and tribulations nothing
fades from this universe
       love least of all

John Lyons

Against love’s erasure

erasures
          Erasures, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

No destiny other than words
       actions carved from light
narratives from the heart
       a domicile of tenderness
lovers blood-partnered
       and bound by skin and bone
marigolds for all seasons
       soft whispered caresses

in the blind crucible of space
       in which dying stars
plead with the universe
       for a peppering of kisses
for an exemption
       from the death of energy
a prorogation of love
       amid the lucid silence
the flotsam and jetsam
      of old persuasions 

John Lyons

Tsunami of love

deluge
          Tsunami, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

There is always something
       to pierce through
the heavy greyness of the day
       in which mouldering leaves
continue to detach
       from the mothership –

time is sand
       and leaves and detritus
and irrevocable decay
       but it is also opportunity
in which to create a space
       for happiness and for love

we should all learn
       the sparrow’s song
and keep our eyes open
       scouring our line of vision
for the angels who are
       always there waiting
to be invited
       into our hearts

to be buried
       in a deluge of love
is not such a bad thing
       I would have thought

John Lyons

Three’s a crowd

spiral
         Three’s a crowd, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

We’re all winning
we’re alive
for the time being

I could sit here all day
and count squirrels
running across the tops
of the garden fences
or the coming and going
of magpies and pigeons
sometimes gathering
on the garden furniture
sometimes on the shed roof

or the black and white cat
that pads around
in a world of its own
daydreaming
of something fun to chase
tiny rodents for example

Yesterday a fox
sitting proudly
on a pile of earth
surveying its domain
taking a break
from the family

Today is Sunday
a slow news day –
she might have written
I’d hoped she would
but she didn’t

John Lyons

Uplifting love

flight
          Flight, John Lyons (acrylic on paper)

This flight of colour

       across the blank page
soaring upwards
       and onwards
effortlessly
       timelessly

Life that leaves
       but a stain
on the world
       the passage of hours
the consummation
       of a brief love

art that struggles
       to retain each
precious feeling
       in the memory
attaching dignity
       to every breath of life

John Lyons