Maximus of Gloucester

Maximus of Gloucester

. . . as it has always been
           Olson is talking about
the moral struggle
           here as in America
or ancient Greece
           or down among
the Guatemalan Mayans
           a struggle over the land
over property over
           who owns the fish
in the sea
           does anyone hold
a title to them
           inherited from whom
the origins of ownership
           just as one bird may steal
the food from another
           to feed its young

who owns the discourse
           who owns the language
who owns art and poetry
           the pomposity of some
so-called professionals
           who despise the amateur
who look down on all from
           their towering ignorant egos
Truth is the holy grail
           and beauty shall be known
by its innocence
           by its wholesome disclosure
as it has always been
           the struggle is moral

John Lyons

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After midnight

After midnight

After midnight
          after hours of love
Charlie Parker
          playing in my head
rain at the window
          lying in complete darkness
half-listening to her breath
          as she sleeps
I feel that perhaps
          one day the world
could be a peaceful place
          for poetry

John Lyons

In the dawning hours

In the dawning hours

Allow me to paraphrase
          what Olson writes—
love is so lively
          it cannot easily be contained
it jumps for joy
          it attracts attention to itself
it is consumed with its own
          importance and wants
to make its presence known
          everywhere and at all times
it has a constant constancy
          because this is a single-subject
universe with sole purpose
          the expression of energy

So at night
          I walk under the stars
and they follow me
          a greater wealth
than any diamonds
          and by day they are there
in the lily ponds
          and beneath the large
green pads where carp swim
          their bright scales
reflecting the light
          and in the waters
I see the ripple
          of my reflection
and beauty is vertical
          and horizontal
and its volume equal
          to the love it inspires

There are no unnecessary dreams
          no redundant species
no flower that does not
          warm the heart
Time is the possibility
          to know all this
and to taste love
          Neither the fish
nor the flowers
          are idle :
and notice
          that in our habitat
the sheets upon which we lie
          till daybreak
are crisp and clean
          and our poetry a space
in which to meet
          and make love

John Lyons

 

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_21
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
           devotional
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
           multiplication

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