At La Closerie des Lilas


At La Closerie des Lilas

That evening we spent
           with Ulyana and her friend
talking over a bottle of wine
           while the shades of Cézanne
and Oscar Wilde moved
           among the tables

There where the Surrealists
           once came to blows
with their opponents
           you talked of the politics
dividing the Ukrainians
           of Philadelphia
the egos and the rivalries
           the desire to control

there where back in the day
           Picasso and Modigliani
came calmly to chat
           and Joyce and Beckett
and on occasions
           Gertrude Stein

and Hemingway
           of course
in every bar

But I’d gladly return there
           with you if you would too :
would you ?


John Lyons




The poetry
         of unapparent reality
that which before our eyes
          we fail to see
Life in the broad swathe
         and in the fine detail
Cézanne steadied the hand
         trained the eye
learned to see the elements
         that constitute
the whole picture
a simplification

          of complexity

Does the earth not
         celebrate itself
with so much beauty
         in sound and sight
and taste and texture ?
          A contemplative art
the form and movement
         of thought

The artist’s responsibility
         to be true to the truth
to have the courage
         of one’s convictions and
to wield an impeccable palate
         with aching precision

John Lyons