Sunday evening

Sunday evening

Complacencies
dreams a little

too easy on the tongue
drinking coffee

or biting into a sweet
juicy orange

catastrophe kept at bay
by building sandbags

out of books
and the ancient sacrifice

of knowledge
the hush hush

of toxic literary gossip
Night settles

over the wide river
and all is apparently

at peace as the lights
are dimmed

here by the Tower
where blood once ruled

stone has the upper hand
the flesh finally laid to rest

John Lyons

Lorine Niedecker

Lorine Niedecker

I think of Lorine her life
on the edge of water

the gliding river
or lake or swamp

and the simplicity
and the beauty of the poetry

she made from leaves
or broken reeds

floating on the surface
from carp swimming below

the hum of summer
and the slow burn of time

the hours fishing the shallows
with a hook and line

and the silent words
seeping into her soul

John Lyons

Space and time

Space and time

You think perhaps
           that these are
empty abstract words
           of no substance
but how much space
           do you really have
and how much time :
           more or less
than the rose that grows
           in the open air ?

We’re all astronomers
           so why shouldn’t we
worship the source of all life
           without which not a petal
not a kiss 
           not a single breath

John Lyons

Certainties

Certainties

I was raised in an orchard
           where there were apples and pears
and plums and peaches and cherries
           and seasonal soft fruits
I ran in fields and was drawn
           to the tall woodland trees
and to the margins of streams
           and rivers where the fish
swam in secret and the ducks
           and the swans made no sound

At night when darkness
           shrouded the house
I felt secure in my own world
           of certainties that were renewed
year after year
           I knew love and loved in return

And life was so solid
           you could take it
into your hand and know
           that it would never fail you
and it never did
           I have no one to blame

John Lyons

Jackdaw 2

Jack Daw 2

Jackdaw at my window
they say it means rain
I say it means life
pulse of the universe
mouths to feed
fledglings about
to leave the nest
survival of the species

How can there be ice
in a universe built
from a single explosion
the atomic heat
from that single event
from which all life springs
as though that single mass
needs to be reassembled
pieced together atom by atom
in a process we could call love

John Lyons

 

Jackdaw

Jackdaw

What is relentless
           is the pushing forward of time
See how the colours of summer
           have faded and how already
there are anticipations
           of autumn as the days draw in

the jackdaw at my window
           has laid its eggs
its nestlings have fledged
           six hungry mouths to be fed
so that they are big and strong
           before winter sets in

John Lyons