The poet’s melodeon

ocean

The poet’s melodeon

How constant this ocean
           gnawing day in day out
at the rock face : at night
           clouds move across the sky
their progress tracked
           by whales who keep
to the shadows cast
           by the moonlight

Blue waters by day
           time barely ruffled in the breeze
curls of light finely shaved
           a virtuoso performance
in which we are all the players
           the crash of cymbals
and the roar of horns
           here at our birthplace

Think of Wallace Stevens
           his obsession with melody
and with number
           his mother’s fingers
on the keyboard
           the silence of his bass voice
as he composed his poetry
           delving deep into his emotions
remembering the blue silk
           the clear warm evenings
the homeliness of life
           the beauty behind every breath
whispers of immortality
           in the mute nights
fitful tracings overlaid
           with love

John Lyons


Revised

The mind takes a break

The mind takes a break

When I am lost
           for words to write
I reach for the poems
           of Wallace Stevens
and allow my mind
           to drift in his obsessions
two figures in the dark night
           the voice of the moment
and the place in which
           he has Florida in his ear
and always the singularity
           of the eye that builds
from what it sees
           a world of the imagination

I think of his restless fingers
           and his rule of thumb :
say it and it shall be
           the conceiving words
from which he constructs
           a composite of reality

Below Key West
           there’re stars I’ve never seen
and on the roof of a rusty barn
           there are buzzards
crouched in anticipation
           there are palm trees
etched against the blue-black sky
           and there is a full moon
with nothing to reveal
           other than itself
Finally there is the sea
           sleeping in silence in the bay
and this silence I tell you 
           is such a welcome serenade

John Lyons