White bluebells

White bluebells

White bluebells in a narrow
            strip of land on Holly Hill
Hampstead : and brambles
            with their white buds
tightly packed with life
            holly bushes too
with tiny bullet-like buds
            on the slender stems
and not a single berry
            left by the birds

John Lyons

Holly berry

Holly berry

At the top of Maresfield Gardens
           in Hampstead at the front
of one of the houses there’s a holly tree
           the lower branches of which hang over
the brick wall close to the pavement
           and their leathery leaves are covered
in a fine film of dust and on some
           there are signs of damage and decay
but hidden among them
           is a solitary bright red berry
sole survivor from last season
           and I wonder how the birds
could possibly have missed it
           for so long just as I am happy too
to admire the utter simplicity
           of its ineffable beauty

John Lyons

Observation

Observation

The marvel is
           that this dead world
that we have all around us
           will suddenly spring to life
Yesterday I shivered
           under a frosty sky
Out on a Hampstead street
           I heard the caw of a magpie
and looking up watched
           as it abandoned its nest
high up in the bare branches :
           it flew south-south-east
heading for the city centre
           Too early for any eggs
to have been laid
           perhaps it had merely
paid a call to ensure
           that every twig and blade 
was in order in preparation
           for the new clutch
I thought too
           of the homing instinct
that such birds have
           such a powerful tool
in the preservation
           of the species
and how birds
           in their own way
are such masters
           of time and space

John Lyons