The wheel of art



The wheel of art

who made the leap
           from hunting gathering
to hand prints
           bison and antelopes
on the cave wall
           and Jackson Pollock
scouring a white canvas
           prowling back and forth
waiting to pounce
           to lunge at the surface
in stabbing motions
           to open wounds
that drip
           with colour

John Lyons


Memories arrested in space

Tray, John Lyons (oil on plastic)

Memories arrested in space

Paint that captures
           the shape of gestures
memories arrested in space
           sinuous as the body is curved
And he thinks too
           of the unbound energies
they expended
           and of the shapes
that their bodies made
           when they came together

the arc of a breast
           a mouth agape
the slope of a thigh
           or an angled elbow
Form and the absence of it
           light and the absence of it
colour and the absence of it
           love and the absence of it
and under a wrathful sky
           their union and the absence of it

John Lyons

Held in the memory

Held in the memory

Momentary flames
            a brief fire that flickers
in the mouth of a cave
            a time for reflection
and for expression
            Pollock’s hand prints
on the wall
            the colours mixed
with intention
            a scheme of things
in the mind
            deliberately executed

Not to leave a record
            but simply to tell
of how it is
            of how it was
that day when we walked
            through the rain
or when we parked our bikes
            and stood in the shadow
of Chartres cathedral
            and admired its beauty
Days that we will never forget
            until the end of our days
and our love held
            in the memory

John Lyons

I sometimes paint

I sometimes paint

I’m a poet and a patriot
            but I sometimes paint
though I make no claims
            for my artistic skills
I simply try to lay down
            the colours and shapes
of the words I carry around
            in my head along with
whatever energies
            I can bring to bear

If I was a painter
            I would strive to be
a de Kooning or
            a Jackson Pollock
or wherever the action is
            but there’s no hope
of that so relax
            it’s Saturday
and my mind’s on
            the walk we are about
to take over the river to Spitalfields
            to try a Philadelphia
cheese steak sandwich
            and on Sunday
I will be watching the Superbowl
            and cheering on the Eagles
even though I have
            only the vaguest
understanding of the game :
            it’s just not my game

John Lyons

Riding the Big Dipper

Reflection of the Big Dipper, Jackson Pollock (1947)

Riding the Big Dipper

Follow the trail of paint
           the boundless
shapeless energy
           the thin line
that speeds Pollock on
           to reveal his inner likeness

a see-through heart
           a tangled coil of veins
with the ceaseless
           coming and going
of the courageous mind
           addicted to freedom

He of the multitude
           perpetually present
in the scene of selves
           and just imagine
the sensual pulse
           that flicks the wrist
all colours fused
           in passionate exhalation

compositions that disturb
           the veils of dishonesty
burying them beneath
           a bed of his truth
for this truly is
in the eye
           of the beholder

John Lyons

This poem appeared earlier today in a slightly different version.





When I was a child
           all the talk was of
how to grow the best roses
           and what types of soil
make for a better lawn

I remember those roses
           with their savage thorns
their soft petals
           dripping with morning dew
but nobody told me
           anything about the challenges
I would face in later life

I was not a sickly child
           and I learned most things
with relative ease
           I played out on the streets
my feet dragging home the dust
           only when the sun set

Life seemed in those days
           to be administered
by perfect hands and reality
           was representational
Had someone shown me
           a Jackson Pollock
I might have had an inkling
            of what was to come

No I am not ill today
           or any other day
not even tired
           simply perplexed
by the mystery of the stars
           scintillating above
an empty ocean

and yet I know exactly
           what I need to make
a perfect day and so do you
           so why don’t we ?

John Lyons