Pulse

Pulse

Dawn breaks 
         to the idle chatter of birds
and in the distance
        the hum of traffic
slowly builds
        Life is on the move
once more

What challenges
        will it bring today ?
What fleeting pleasures ?

I have slept through
         the tired night
peaceful in my dust
        Bone by bone
life lays us all to rest
        Love is the only reprieve
the ruffled rose
        the dimpled beauty

We are the flesh of moans
        our bodies mindfully 
twisted in schemes of passion
        our defenceless dreams 
raised to the heavens
        Without love
life is shapeless
        a journey without
destination

Our breath is
        our greatest possession
no stone or metal
        congealed can ever
measure up
        to the warm chafe
of skin on skin –
        we were born
for this

Dead leaves scurry across
        the conservatory roof
driven by an artless wind
        under an oyster-grey sky
In time we too will tumble
        scattered flakes of gold
turned into the damp soil

        on a drab winter’s day :
change is permanent
        all beauty migrates

Until then dear reader
        while we remain paused
on the threshold
        let us celebrate
the unerring pulse

John Lyons

Robert Herrick – reader be warned!

Herrick
Robert Herrick

The great 17th century lyric poet, Robert Herrick (1591–1674), an admirer of the even greater British poet, Ben Jonson, is best known for his first book of poems, Hesperides, which was published in 1647. This includes the famous poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” with its opening lines:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.

As was the custom of those days, Hesperides opens with a number of short poems in the form of dedications to noble sponsors and warnings to the readers.

One of the more direct cautions reads as follows:

Who with these leaves shall wipe (at need)
The place where swelling Piles do breed:
May every Ill that bites or smarts
Perplexe him in his hinder parts.

Say no more!


Live for the moment

hummingbird

Everything passes in time: the theme of so much poetry because that is the abiding sensation in life. We learnt the Latin tag as children: carpe diem, live for today. And as we get older, the truth of that statement becomes ever more evident. Poetry and song take us out of the moment briefly and they celebrate the fact that we can turn the passage of time into something beautiful, into something dynamic. Hence the frequency with which the rose appears in poetry, as a metaphor for beauty and fragility, the intensity of the beauty heightened by its ephemeral nature. Nothing lasts for ever, but life is a seemingly endless sequence of things or activities which do not last forever. Poetry records the moment and the feelings of the moment and it savours the moment paradoxically forever.


John Lyons