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

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Make much of love

Make much of love

Failure is commonplace
           and most of us fail
mostly
           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.


 

Undying pulse

Undying pulse

Blood and breath
           taken for granted
thought and feeling too
           how the sunlight
reaches into the earth
           producing all energy
including the air
           that we breathe
and such an array
           of beauty in the natures
around us / not to mention
           our own

To speak of blood
           its flow and its warmth
and to speak of the words
           shaped by tooth and tongue
how vocal this world of ours
           how intricate
the truths of the rose
           and of her beauty
and of our love
           and its undying pulse

John Lyons

Genes

Genes

Our stories are in our genes
           our genes in our stories
Olson called them
           the genes of the soul
the dreams of light and dark
           the voyages of fantasy
of exploration and discovery
           the confrontation with our fears
the defeat of all those
           who would oppress us
with their mythical truths
           Theseus had a thread
and Ariadne’s love
           and the Minotaur died
and by the skin of his teeth
           Ulysses made it home

John Lyons

Blessings

Blessings

Of all the blessings
           I could ever wish for
to see as love sees
           would be the greatest
to live as love lives

pure and unadulterated
           let all things be themselves
the rose and the unicorn
           the leopard and the wolf

but let love be
           a brilliant undying flame
never a gesture nor a word
           but being in all intensity

what the earth gives
           the earth takes away
but not love that surpasses
           all understanding

Love holds the heart firm
           never loses its grasp
even in the darkest night
           or through the coldest winter

and that is the essence
           of peace : to see as love sees
in all places at all times
           all souls of one mind

John Lyons

Chain of thought

Chain of thought

Life is chain and resurrection
           variation within the repetitions
the roses are as red as ever
           and so too are the lovers’ lips
but we are all of traceable origin
           we all go back in time
our genes chosen
           from a common pool
our hopes and dreams too
           that are dictated
by the soft anatomies
           of the heart

So this day may blow over
           but another will follow
and waves will crash
           on the fine sand of a beach
we knew in our youth but which
           we may never revisit— who knows
and all the kisses we never gave
           may one day be given
and the beauty of it is that
           the truth may finally be told

John Lyons

Outsourcing

Outsourcing

Out of my bones and flesh
these words unauthored

a flood that rises from within
without rhyme nor reason

knowing not the source
of my thoughts and feelings

nor possessing the titles
to my deeds nor my dreams

as much a mystery to me
as to the reader casual or not

we create our own mythologies
and spend our lives

impersonating ourselves
counting the roses in our gardens

yet weary of daisy and dandelion
only in love do we find completeness

when we can find it : so much
judged by shallow appearances

but love truly is the acid test
in which selflessness is dipped

into the heart’s solution
life’s true colours felt in a beat

John Lyons