The foxes have gone to ground

The foxes have gone to ground

The foxes
           have gone to ground
in the silence
           in the stillness
they know
           that something
is seriously wrong
           with the world

No more sunbathing
           on sheds roofs
no more slinking
           from garden to garden
no more wandering
           the streets after dark
no more chattering
           in the early hours

the foxes
           are self-isolating
mothers are confining
           their litters
to the lair
           they can sense
that something serious
           is afoot

John Lyons


A poem of thank you


A poem of thank you

It was a very pleasant day yesterday
           and it is pleasant that today
is as warm as yesterday
           a blue sky is always welcome
long hours of sunshine
           the birds were in good voice yesterday
and today is no different
           I heard the foxes in the early hours
they were planning their day
           they sensed it was going to be
a very pleasant day
           a day as warm as yesterday
it was no surprise to me
           it is no surprise to me

naturally the world is never
           always full of bad news
there is always some light
           some hope to cling on to
and there is always room
           for love and gratitude
and so I gave my love a kiss
           and she agreed that it was
a very pleasant day yesterday
           and that so it would be today

John Lyons


A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

It’s been a good year
for the foxes
they all turn up
in the back garden
looking well-fed
in their rich dense fur

I’ve observed them
gathering from time to time
on the shed roof
when the sun is out
and watched them taking note
of everything around them

in particular
they have been studying
the agility of the cats
that appear every so often
that wander back and forth
prima donnas
paying no attention to anything
other than themselves

and today
for the first time
I saw not one fox but three
walk along the edge
of a garden fence
with all the nonchalance
of their feline friends
first they played tag
gambolling amid the tufts
of the tall grass
before one by one
they leapt onto the wall
and with perfect balance
strutted across
the thin wooden bar
professionals all the way

John Lyons

The Brexit complex

The Brexit complex

The darkness had barely settled
           before I heard the cackle of the foxes
their shrill voices disrupting the peace
           It sounded like a political meeting
at which not a soul could agree
           each one trying to shout the other down
but these were foxes members of nothing
           representatives of no one but themselves

And I wondered what decisions
           or what prospects could have them
so at each others’ throats
           But within half an hour it was all over
and silence reigned as they slunk off
           into the night to do
what a fox has to do when it’s cold

           and the lights are low

John Lyons

The last throes of winter

The last throes of winter

The wind is back with a vengeance
           just when we thought it safe
to say that the winter was over
           the wind is rattling wooden fences
the tree branches with their fresh
           green leaves are thrashing violently
and the birds are totally confused
           not sure what melodies to sing

or whether to sing at all :
           it’s really quite an agitated world
the sort that disturbs dogs
           that may prefer to sleep it out
in their baskets or go for a long
           romp on the heath chasing sticks or
whatever curve ball they are thrown
            On Thursday I saw a fox moving

in the undergrowth outside Lewisham
           its bright coat barely visible
but I could tell that it had had
           a good winter and was in good shape
for the coming summer months
           it is their world after all as much
as it is ours so nothing to begrudge
           and foxes are so true to type

they know nothing of betrayal
           nothing of deceit being as honest
as the day is long and they are such
           shrewd observers of human behaviour
they know their place and they know exactly 
           when to come and when to go

John Lyons

The human problem

The human problem

This morning
         in the early hours
I was again awoken
         by the chatter of foxes
under the hedge
         at the end of the garden

Yesterday evening
         I had noticed a clear sky
and a bright half-moon
         and wondered whether
another conference
         was on the cards
I’m getting good
         at predicting
these meetings

But this morning
         the tone was different
voices were being raised
         one fox talking over another
I could sense
         a loss of tempers
and some jostling
         a baring of teeth
and then I knew
         that they were all
agonising once again 
         over the human problem

John Lyons

Unless the seed. . .

Unless the seed. . .

On one side
            the long neatly trimmed box hedge
                        a fragility of shimmering bronze
            in the fast fading half-light
                        of this misbegotten winter’s day

On the other
            by the lap-panelled fence
                        an apple tree – perhaps a Bramley –
            from which all but two crisp leaves have fallen
                        but to which twenty or more

            still cling on for their dear fruitless lives
                        roundly reluctant to detach
            to tumble gravely to the ground
                        to take their chances in the damp

fertile soil
            Soon it will be dark : soon
                        the endless agony of the long night
            will grip those prone to despair while
                        ravenous couples gorge on scraps

of unrequited love
            Outside the unkempt lawn is marked
                        with narrow trails blazed by frisky cats
            and foxes that gently indent the lush green grass
                        as they ply their necessary trade

John Lyons