A trip to Hastings

St Clement's Church

The earth and the sky
        and in between
the white cliffs
        and the rolling sea
from sunrise
        to sunset—our lives

In old wooden huts
        down by the shore
old men and women
        silently mend the nets
the air heavy with brine
        and the stench of sea debris
broken shells and damp
        seaweed underfoot

We were there
        for a few short hours
one summer’s day
        and when we walked
among the backstreets
        we came across a row
of Tudor buildings
        and we felt as though
it was our discovery

And in those days
        it felt too as though life
belonged to us
        that it was our world
and that we would
        always be in love
with it and with
        each other

John Lyons

The silence of the sea

new horizon
                     Silence of the sea, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Immense oceans
vast stretches of water
each with an individual
shape and personality
adjusted to shores
adjusted to depths
habitat and source
of sustenance
of life itself
where once
we emerged

vast waves of energy
issuing out of time
flooding the universe
with births and deaths
and rebirths in endless
cycles and expressions
from sunlight
and for no other purpose
than to mutate
into something bigger
or better or smaller
or more efficient
but a single process
at the heart of creation

the silent sea
that we observed
as it licked the shore
at Ramsgate
our birthplace
beckoning us

the silent sea
bathed in moonlight
gentle coruscations
as the wind picked
at its surface

relentless ebb and flow
a long slow pulse
the systolic and diastolic sea
the aqueous beating heart
into which we waded
at Hastings or that day
when we lay on the beach
at Copacabana
until a sudden sandstorm
drove us away

the silent sea
with its mysterious smile
posing more questions
than there are answers
and yet Turner obsessed
with its changing moods
its troubled temperament
although the day that
we lay on the sands of Margate
there was barely a ripple :
we ate cockles and mussels
succulent saline fruit
and the day was long
and under the warm sun
love seemed eternal

John Lyons