The dissatisfied soul

The dissatisfied soul

Ever undiscouraged
          resolute
the soul struggles
          grapples with the mystery
of all earth’s ages
          old and new
eyes and ears
          eager
but the soul ever dissatisfied
          curious
but unconvinced
          the same struggle
the same battle
          down the years
leaves of grass
          in the searing wind

John Lyons

 

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Whitman unchained

Whitman unchained

Liberty relies upon itself
         invites no one
promises nothing
         sits in calmness and light
is positive and composed
         and knows no discouragement
It is as the fox
         as the nightingale
natural and honest
         acute and mellifluous
a law unto itself
         the beauty of candour
innocence with a backbone
         inviolate in the passage of time
it goes under no disguise
          A rose among thorns
its openness wins
         the inner and outer world :
deceit and subterfuge
         and prevarication
are its enemies
          It is the voice and expression
of the poet
         stung with compassion
It keeps faith with all
         who are enslaved
a taunt to the tyrant
         a scourge on the swarms
of cringers and suckers
         and the sly lice of politics

John Lyons

Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass

Nothing is finer than silent defiance
         advancing from new free forms
poems of philosophy or politics or
         the mechanisms of science
or the craft of art
         and the throes of human desire
and the dignity of nature and passion
         all in the cleanest expression

What it is to be alive
         and to confront the turbulence
of time with all its privileges
         and all its challenges
to observe the flight of the grey gull
         over the bay or the mettlesome
action of the blood horse
         or the tall leaning of sunflowers
on their stalk or the sun’s daily
         journey in the heavens
or the magnetic phases
         of the moon

Remembrance and understanding
         faith in the flush of knowledge
and the beauty of body and soul
         an independent eye in thrall
to no vested interest or party
         that thrives on the investigation
of the depths of qualities and things
         with all the impartiality of one
who loves and is content
         every motion and every spear
of grass every miracle of being
         that frames the perfect spirits
of men and women examined
         and honoured in awe

John Lyons

After Walt Whitman

After Walt Whitman

The spirit of peace
         large and rich and thrifty
that builds vast and populous cities
         that encourages agriculture
and the arts and commerce
         the balance of freedoms
nothing too close
         nothing too far off
neither the stars too far off

The poet who is a workman
         who concentrates the light
who turns a pivot with his finger
         allows no time to stray
is obedient to his conscience
         who understands how
the processes of life
         grow men and women and children
who talks of the soul of eternity
         as manifest in the rose
and in all creatures
         his thoughts hymns
in praise of things
         equable and egalitarian
expecting and believing
         and trusting in what is good
and upright and firmfibred
         who sees certainties
for what they are
         and beauty for what it is
the preserve of the smile
         and the noble gesture
a beauty beyond the panting
         and sighing of sex
the beauty of fluent truth
         expressed
in the beauty
         of words that are lashed
to the earth out of which
         all things arise

John Lyons