The dissolution of bones

The dissolution of bones

Who is to say
           that a poem that grows
in the mind
           is an abstract creation
if indeed that word
           has any meaning
and abstracted from what
           one might ask

Does the rose not grow
           in its mineral bed
secretly building the beauty
           of its texture and colour
until ready to present itself
           in all its glory

A congery of particles
           in the smallest branch / plant
fern and roots that nervously
           delve into the depths of the earth
and all things prosper in the warmth
           and retreat or die in the dead of winter

Experience isolated and observed
           picked over and measured
and raised in words that are
           as pincers in the scientific cage
Othello’s handkerchief a specimen
           examined in the Shakespearean frame
Duncan lives on but for a perverse prayer
           Caesar dies in the cold doing of the deed

Flakes of snow alight
           on an impressionist canvas
reality revealed in oils
           thinned with turpentine
and in every gesture
           a remembrance of the destiny
of flesh and blood
           the hue and cry of complaint
in the wilderness and love
           the single solitary comfort

John Lyons



A Monday revisitation

A Monday revisitation

To see as love sees
           wholly and completely
to be as love is
           disavowing all
enmity or division
           that would detract
from our humanity
           truth and beauty
fired in the soul
           all from a single flame
the smile the kiss
           the caress the same
all fed on the fruits
           of photosynthesis

That no love
           is ever lost
is a cosmic law
           of which the literal
sunlight in her eyes
           is living proof

To the meadow
           where often I am permitted
to return and find it
           transformed into
a lush carpet of dandelion
           and delicate daisy
overlaying the deep green
           such vibrant colour owing all
to the ardent light
           that lights our lives

John Lyons

The chain of memory

Mindscape (oil on canvas)

The chain of memory

The chain of memory
           one step after another
from daybreak to dusk
           in the cold
or the sweltering heat
           the past barely behind us
we immersed
           in its consequences
but constantly edging
           forward to cover
or so we hope
           new ground
to free ourselves
           from all that would
tie us down
           or hold us back

Love tells us that
           there are no repetitions
that each moment
           is sacred
each kiss or caress
and that tenderness
           is sometimes a gift
of parentage
           We live the fact
of our existence
           yet pass our lives
in search of the true
           innocent inner self
a cosmos unto ourselves
           with our own laws
and trusted properties
           and it takes quite a mind
quite a heart
           to grasp it
in its totality
           we who dwell
in the known country
           struggle with a muddle
of necessary imperfections
           of missed goals
and opportunities
           of failures and remorse
taking comfort only
           from the pity of love
from the hand and lip
           of another much like us
a brother or a sister
           a poetic companion
sharing in our humanity
           moved by the same rose
soothed by the same birdsong
           driven by the same desires

John Lyons

Into the open field

Into the open field

This describes her love
           a place of first permission
no ephemeral dream
           but a property of her mind
and of her body
           a construct of flesh and blood
as a flower is formed
           in the open field
a gesture of invitation
           a hand extended
with words enfolded
           on her lips

The properties of love
           are truth and beauty
pure as the greening sun
           that ripens all life
creating place out of chaos
           and such architectures
that cast no shadow
           she the host to my visitations
I bring roses and orchids
           and daffodils to brighten
the table at which we dine
           and share the secrets
of coherent

This is no game
           no history
but a ring around
           celebrated jointly
with full-throated vows
           no nightingale so melodious
here hours are the dust
           that love drives away
here the flame may flicker
           but never die
here where our minds
           are made up

John Lyons

Greetings from beyond the page

Greetings from beyond the page

Salute the rising rose
           red in its bed
for you chose
           above all else
           as your path
to happiness
           knowing that this
would set your breath
           against the wind
that your spirit
           would sometimes fail
and that your heart
           would be left
to find its way
           among the thorns

Salute the rising sun
           proud parent of us all
witness too to our trials
           and tribulations
Salute the stars
           that guide our path
at night or when
           we are lost at sea
The mystery of love
           is one we carry deep within
our full-blooded frames
           we in our oneness
constantly in pursuit
           of the perfect duplicate
but life’s duplicities
           lead us so easily astray

Salute the wisdom
           of the child’s kiss
of a mother’s or a father’s
           given in the innocence
of love’s nature
           We are to live
for no other purpose
           than love and on occasions
we must die for it
           without question

John Lyons

First will and testament

First will and testament

The world we live in and by
           but not for
no purpose other than
           the true birth of our self
that work in progress
           each of us carries within
the rose focused on its beauty
           the thrush and the nightingale
defined species of being
           while we must make ourselves
day by day and choice by choice
           whether it is nobler in the mind
and in the body to be true
           and the essence of poetry
to which Marianne Moore
           was by no means averse
anecdote of the soul maybe
           but as far from the banal
as one can get
           and as far into love
as another will permit you
           each incandescent moment
lived for its honesty
           and the pleasure
of shared being
           living in love not for it
loving that equilibrium
           of frenetic surrender
passion of the flesh
           that thrills the soul fibres
of the mind slipping into
           and out of each other

John Lyons

Make much of love

Make much of love

Failure is commonplace
           and most of us fail
           though we may enjoy
minor or temporary success
           from time to time

We know where it will all end
           under leaves and grass
under snow when the weather is inclement
           or when the wind and the rain
rattle the eaves
           where we once lived

Love is the cornerstone
           it is the common thread
more beautiful in its day
           than any rose :
it is the root
           of all life all human life

Defy the slings and arrows
           defy the thorns
and make much of it
           indeed make the most of it

John Lyons

There is an absolutely exquisite poem in the Collected Poems of Charles OlsonOnly the Red Fox, Only the Crowthat should be read by all who love poetry.