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

The red ball gown

How the words fall
       the occasion of words
or words for an occasion
       words that tell a story
or words that are the story
       pivotal words not merely
yes or no but found to be
       at every inflection of our lives
words in the midst of silence
       intriguing or decisive words

A widow in a wise veil
       a careless colour applied
to a carefree canvas
       a meal consumed
without animosity
       words measured so as
not to cause offence
       or precisely the opposite
: if a silence is not observed
       does it exist does it ?

A luscious red ball gown
       laid across a bed –
who will wear it and
       will she or won’t she ?
And if love is not observed
       does it exist does it?

John Lyons

Love is the only hope

stein_alice

                 Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas at home

Winter is closing in
       I read Gertrude Stein
to cheer me up –
       a cushion
a seltzer bottle
       a long dress
a red hat a blue coat
       a piano a chair
white lilies in a vase
       on a table upon which
particles of fine dust
       are clearly visible
or perhaps not dust
       but withered pollen

Outside
       the silence is singing
I can hear the sea
        where we bathed in July
I can hear the birds
       who have kept us amused
all summer
       their shadows gathering
on the wires overhead
       soon to be on their way
I think of our lives
       trimmed by the light
trimmed by time
       and how slowly
but surely our days
       spread into nothing
and how love
       is the only hope

John Lyons

Love’s faded flowers

trash

         Trash, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, mixed media on canvas)

Trash
       garbage
the faded flowers
       of friendship
heaped in a pile
       of sweepings
of yesterday’s news
       to which everyone
turns a blind eye
       as though
it never happened
       forgotten smiles
kisses consigned
       to ancient history
who lives by the sword
       dies by the word

John Lyons

Faded flowers

vannn

Faded flowers, John Lyons (25 x 30 cm, oil on canvas)

These are the raw months
       of north winds
of incessant rain and snow
       trees stripped to their bones
faded all but a few 
       of the flowers 
of friendship
       when skeins of ducks
fly west
       in tattered v-shapes
while other flocks
       simply flee the country

and in my heart stillness
       a longing for sunshine
to warm the cold stones
       to soften the edges
of the brutal horizon
       I watch foxes dance
within circles of magpies
       their days one long string
of unbridled entertainments
       : these are the raw months
a time to dig trenches and wait
       for these times to pass

John Lyons


Corrected text

In a love poem

why

In a poem of love
there are feathers and fish
and roses and butter
and slow-burning candles
there are tables and chairs
and a sky made of rain
and curtains to be drawn
and sunshine over the horizon

in a poem of love
it is summer and winter
and beaches and sandals
and today and tomorrow
and happily ever after
and blushes and kisses
and words made of silence
and naturally we celebrate
and swim in the mountains
and sweet as a baby
and tall as a castle

in a poem of love
there is time and again
and bells gently ringing
and Saturdays and Sundays
and moons to be baking
and an alphabet of promises
and sharp needles for mending

in a poem of love
there are paintings and photos
and pearls made of wisdom
and sonnets for reading

and beds for the lying
and pleasures for sharing
and songs for beginning
and streets never ending

John Lyons

Of art poetry and love

infancy
Infancy, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Of art poetry and love

Nothing changes
           from generation
to generation
           but the thing seen
and that makes
           composition

writing and painting
           are like that in that
what is observed
           whether internally
or externally
           provides the material
necessary to live
           as an outlaw
in defiance of rules
           and totally open
to the unexpected
           that is why lovers
are always ahead
           of their time
because they create
           something entirely new

a bond composed
           of myriads of affinities
alongside refreshing
           disparities—
love like that
           is always beginning
is never ending
           is a fount of constant
innovation and harmonious
           consolidation
art poetry and love
           are the natural trinity
in which beauty and truth
           are enshrined

John Lyons

 

Stars gliding through space

simple
Simplicity, John Lyons (oil on wood)

Stars gliding through space

A light blue and a dark blue
and a faded pink
what do they make ?

An arrangement of shapes
suggestive of other shapes
an odd kind of ornament

There were swans on the Serpentine
on Monday resplendent in the sunlight
their plumage a deep titanium white

Swans are never careless
they know exactly what they are doing
at all times without fail

Most flowers have their season
but once they are cut
their days are numbered

So what is the lesson?
That some things last
and others do not ?

It’s hard to believe that the stars
are gliding through space
they seem so fixed in the heavens

Lovers who would be guided by their stars
can very often lose their path
they must trim their sails to the cosmic wind

John Lyons

A poem of thank you

stein

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

 

Gertrude Stein – a portrait

gertrude stein
Gertrude Stein, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Gertrude Stein – a portrait

Neatly folded napkins
           and freshly cut roses
in a cut glass vase
           a long oak table
guests to populate it :
           amid the wealth of words
silences cultivated
           in every nook and cranny

Alice and her embroidery
           Gertrude with hers
a carafe of red wine
           sparkling silverware
shining porcelain 
           At the window
heavy drapes
           to keep out the dust
and for the world
           to know its place

Sometimes always
           occasionally
loving glances
           often exchanged
time under orders
           and life
on its best behaviour :
           a dog with a name
a stern smile
           the making of history
word by word
           line by line

John Lyons


Revised