Time all out of joint


Time all out of joint

Take a lucky dip
           into memory
see what you get
           the Brooklyn Bridge
and the tide of time
           streaming below
unconscionable heat
           sucking the juice
out of the air
           dust of moth wing
on your brow
           as you pound
the aimless
           crumbling streets

O daughter of sunlight
           where were you conceived
where were you born
           where were you raised
what violence drove you
           to abandon all hope
striving to survive
           on the pique of your beauty
blunted the cutting edge
           of your intelligence

The play’s the thing
           but time’s all out of joint
your birth stars are receding
           in the outer regions
of outer space
           your matter-of-fact fantasies
have waned and life
           is the only truth left to tell
and it is a sorry tale at that
           all caution thrown to the wind
along with love leaving a senseless trail
           of unmitigated disasters

John Lyons

A view from the bridge

A view from the bridge

Hard to believe that the sea
           comes from the sun
that all things
           have a common origin
that the relationship
           between mass and energy
is unbreakable
           and that no inner
or outer space exists
           just space on all sides
stretching backwards
           and forwards
within an expanding

We were born to cross
           the Brooklyn Bridge together
that summer’s day
           born to know and love
one another
           to recognise
our common origin
           our particles reconnecting
to live as one
           as it was in the beginning
is now and ever
           shall be

John Lyons

Washington Roebling

Washington Roebling

From his window
         stubble on unshaven cheeks
the crippled engineer
         looks out over the harbour
as day by day
         the towers rise up and cables
are spliced and strung
         a proposition that has come
to be an obsession
         and an act of love
the binding of two parts
         his life transformed
into landscape
         indelible on the skyline
a place of congregation
         and disparate communion
a paradigm
         a passageway for the living
and for the dead
         they carry in their hearts
a filter of dreams
         and despairing moments
an affirmation that feeds
         the lone eye
birth of a view
         among the spiders
so it soars
         arpeggios of light
rippling in the shifting
         waters below
the structure stirs and is alive
         an impulse of beauty
caught in the curve
         of memory

John Lyons

Brooklyn hurrah

Brooklyn hurrah

How many dawns ?
         How many bridges ?
I had not thought
         the earth contained. . .
From his window
         each morning
         the waters that lead
out to Liberty’s torch
         and the thrust
of the bridge
         into space

Scuttled out of the subway
         at Jay Street
in Downtown Brooklyn
         heat leaked from the sun
bought water
         with a ten dollar bill
brisk stride
         infernal heat

harp and altar
         of womanhood
fused fury of the night
in petty eternities
         in the sleepless
         of love

each day a discovery
         a caravel
a caravan
         the gleaming mail of the river
discoveries are our exile
         the ageless hue of her eyes
and my bewilderment

the deepest fathoms lie
         in her flesh
a delirium of jewels
         the strands of our parting lives
woven as cordage
         across the bridge
the lanes of death and birth
         eddying breath
man’s parable enchained
         to the sepulchre

O for a needle
         by which to steer
the dark amplitude
         that time explores
free from the toil of heaven
         from the slash and burn
of discovery
         O for a shore
beyond desire
         beyond beyond

John Lyons

By Brooklyn Bridge

By Brooklyn Bridge

The diametric gaze of love
and of lovers’ unstinting eyes

so that vision becomes a bridge
Hart Crane carrying his perceptions

in his pocket : poetry is span and projection
It moves on bold heels knowing that

nothing is new under the sun and yet
no two skies are ever the same

a lighter shade of blue or grey or a paler dark
Science has its sesames    poetry too

but poetry has mutinous song that fires
on all cylinders     that breaks in waves

at the base of the towering chalk cliffs
Mountain laurels and Easters of speeding light

the span of consciousness within an earth
drained of its tears    Poetry demands an end

to the fraternal massacre    to the slaughter
of lilies and the perversity of human disdain

The sound-waves launched from her lips
buttressed across the crisp morning air

slipped through the coruscation of the outer ear
penetrated and curled around the spiral cavity

of the cochlea and cosily implanted themselves
in the depths of his mind and his heart

Poetry is pact    is the bread of angels
is love’s purest breath when it so wills to be

John Lyons