Resting bones

Tell me Alice what is a loving tongue
when there are tears? A loving tongue is when
tenderness restores
                             meaning to language
Yes I believe that’s so     A pliable
succession of pleasing surrenders makes
for a pocketful of ingenious
joy     even a silence     and a special
anticipation         And Apollinaire
gazing into the Seine’s fleeting waters
saw only the outpouring of his heart
A moment’s sincere silence for Guillaume
In the house that Jack built we remember
all the poets who have gone before us
We give thanks and honour
                              their resting bones

John Lyons

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A beautiful beam of light

Stein-Gertrude

Tell me Alice, what is the difference
between right away and a pearl? A pearl
is milk white and right away is at once:
this is a good explanation indeed
Happily very happily Alice
embroidered linens and Gertrude threaded
strands of silken words
                      through page after page
Neither woman felt interdiminished
For Guillaume Apollinaire crystal tears
were shed. Pin ware, fancy teeth, stout caesar.
Wet syllables in the rue de Fleurus
Picasso painted sobs for the deceased,
Alice pickled plums while Gertrude admired
a beautiful beam
                  of light in the room

John Lyons


Revised version

Blue door

Blue door

      Blue door, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

If I told you
If I told
If I told you
would you like it
would you ?

A play not on words
but a play in words
In space words
In time words

If I found them
my feelings
If I found them
and if I told you
If I told
would you like it
would you ?

Played out
in rooms
sitting
dining
bed and
bathroom

One door leads
to another
and another
and another
all our lives
windows and doors

One door
on either side
entrance and exit
coming and going
first to last

If I told you
If I told
If I told you
would you like it
would you ?

John Lyons

(revised)

Blades of grass

dregs

The dark side of coffee, John Lyons

It could after all
have been
blades of grass
rather than leaves
the cutting edge
of poetry
in a brave new world

Love is child’s play
innocent as the day
is long : and a poem
is so many words
immersed in silence

as Gertrude said
it’s a meeting place
where everything
is on the table
so bring your appetites

All I know is that
when I said
what I meant
I meant
what I said

You are no flower
you are no blossom
no alabaster neck
no peachy skin

you are the flesh
of my blood
the blood
of my flesh
my love incarnate

Look to the heavens
I have counted the stars
all present and correct
nothing dies forever

John Lyons

The passing of age

To be older is not
to be aged or antique
or ancient or passé
or frail or forsaken
or to be dyed
in the wool

or to be mutton
dressed as lamb

To be older is neither
to be forgotten
nor remembered
nor to have lines drawn
across the forehead
or circles under the eyes
or to be a big noise
or to suffer in silence
or to be seated
in the corner
with curtains closed
nor to eat bread
without crust
nor to be butter
without jam

To be older is neither
to deny nor to affirm
nor to chatter without teeth
nor to put duty before love
nor to sleep with all the angels
nor to rearrange the stars
nor to believe in the past

to be older is not a vocation
nor a vacation nor an excuse
for a reason
nor a missed opportunity
nor an opportunity
not to be missed
to be older is to be younger
as time goes by 

John Lyons


Corrected version

A love song

In the thousand small places
       of myself and of my name
in the growth of passions
       of interests and abilities
of successes and failures
       in all the one-by-one days

and the one-by-one nights

       when flowers bloomed
and before those flowers faded

       in every moment of intimacy
and despite the solitary pain
       of unfolding distance

in every meadow crossed

       and upon every river sailed
at every waking hour
       whether observed or deep
into my dreams I have
       heard you in the song

of sparrows and finches

       and held you in my heart
and will do so for however
       many months and years
remain knowing that in love
       all things are for the best

John Lyons

The business of love

table
                         Table, John Lyons (70 x 50 cm, acrylic on paper)

A steadfast table

Icelandic blue
on an arctic white
chequered cloth
that cannot contain
every object
the shoes and plates
and tickets to ride

A table
a tenderness
a place in time
an invitation to all
who are absent
a necessary space
where laughter
and silence may
congregate

A table where chance
would be a fine thing
and intimate moments
may be played out
or where a hat may be left
or a bunch of keys
and a dog may bark
off camera

A table fit
for the business of life
or the business of love
or to address the appetite
or to say grace
before a meal
or to lay or to clear
or to be in between
or to bear the weight
of a cool red rose
in a cut glass bowl

John Lyons

Gateway to love

gate
        Gateway to love, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Sometimes the best poetry
       for the moment is composed
of silence : just as sparrows
       do not sing all day long
a pause a respite a lull
       is always welcome
rather than
       a glut or an excess

Broad margins
       of white space
a huge empty sky
       blue by all accounts
waves of transparent air
       shifting imperceptibly
a kind of nothingness
       of fulfilment

What I want to tell you
       is. . .
but it can wait
       just allow me to be
the one beside you
       basking in your beauty
loving you wordlessly without
       so much as a sigh

John Lyons

The passing of flowers

dressed

There is no aim
       to clean cut flowers –
to be frank they are
       an unnecessary need
We place them
       upon pedestals
we water them
       with affection
we say we love them
       we admire them
from all angles
       they centre our rooms
and light up the hours
       of our lives that are
themselves mere petals : and
       when their stems droop
and their blooms
       fall apart we mourn
their passing just as
       we mourn the passing
of our loves and all things that
       must necessarily pass

John Lyons