In retrospect

In retrospect

What was there to love
           but the light that danced
in her eyes : starlight
           and through her words
the music of her mind
           the love that flowed
through her voice
           the joy it exuded

The vibrant love in her
           the song sounded
in her heart : the quickstep
           and the foxtrot
that we two tangoed
           Now tears from the tongue
new art and old hurt
           slack bow of the violin
that my father played
           in days of sadness : the grace
from having known her
           the pursed once-kissed lips
stretched on a canvas
           that the eyes haunt
dark pupils that once embodied
           the affirmative

I press strings
           to the fingerboard
but grasp only those airs
           that emanate
from the mournful outer stars
           Overnight my world
withered to mute music
           mute wisdom
and no second paradise
           Turn again I say
to recapture the imprint
           my mirror still bears
of a time when desire
           was free and our love
prospered honourably
           and grief was unknown

John Lyons

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Not for want of asking

Not for want of asking

Animate the still-life
           bring passion in
bring drive
           and determination
Through the threads
           of autumn and winter
sap will rise
           cherries will bloom again
trees will extend their branches
           to provide shade and comfort
through the summer months
           Admire the crisp new leaf-edge
that softens the bleak urban sprawl
           let the lines of poetry grow long
as they romp chapter and verse
           through the purple clover

Lend an ear to the vowels
           that bend in the breeze
and to those words
           that might save you :
you from yourself
           or your self from you

Learn from the wind that breathes
           life into us all
the air that burns in our lungs
           and think :
is there any other purpose
          than love ?

John Lyons

Cry of angels

Cry of angels

Language that developed
           out of deep need
that breath breathed into life
           words by which our thoughts
are fleshed out
           place where word and deed
coalesce and shape our lives
           passionate palpitating texts
soundscape wordscape
           of our day-to-day significance

the sense and sensibility of it
           snow flurries on a northern hillside
flakes forever frozen
           for all time captured
sight and sound recordings
           of how good it feels to be alive
to live in the warmth of another’s love
           out of the deep need
to give and to partake
           to annotate the cry of angels
an eye spy upon the world
           and to feel through what we see
to turn a deft hand to love
           to pursue the heady heart
to celebrate with the pulse
           of rhythm our soulful kinship

and how one body latches
           onto another for all time
a kiss at the point of creation
           what rises out of the mist
the perfect synthesis of light
           beauty’s truth
the poetry of it all
           the timed theme of our life
the ardent renewal
           of the face of the earth
all wordthings in
           immeasurable motion
in ecstatic dance
           until our dying day

John Lyons

Starlight

Starlight

All art
all music
all poetry
imagined
the mind
that moves
the hand
that hovers
over the
strings
or over
the line
to be or
not to be
creative
hesitation

do not
despise
the day
of small things
of small
mercies

so we stroll
hand in hand
by the river
at low tide
lean over
and peer
at the wall
of washed
stones
known
to our mutual
friend

we are here
to take delight
in the mysteries
of starlight

 

John Lyons

Metaphysics

Metaphysics

Sweet alyssum sweet asylum
the resolution of love’s equations

in the approximation of distances
let the heart not reprove

nor the eye fall foul of truth
in all its radiant beauty

music is there to invoke
to guide our steps to the stars

not to distract but to raise us up
to the heights that lie within us

our lives driven ever soulwards
fulfilled in the soft-petalled bliss

of love stripped of pain and error
wisdom pledged in piety and patience

John Lyons

Rare flower

Rare flower

Rare flower soaked
           in the summer rain
the wind will outlive you
           your petals will wither
and fall and your dust
           will be a distant memory

though you hale
           from a proud corridor
of stars your beauty
           will not survive the season
of salmon rising

dragonflies will buzz
           above your head
indifferent to your charms
           and through the black night
you will feel abashed
           in the shadow of the rose

there is no wisdom in old age
           merely senescence
a paltry figure in a tattered coat
           as the poet would have it
bones that fail and eyes
           out of focus
a limp from day to day

of her he recalls
           how he penetrated the light
how she listened enrapt
           to his song of innocence
and how their hearts were lost
           in a tangle of limbs

rare flower in spring
           do not raise false hopes
do not long for love everlasting
           delight in the bed in which you lie
and know that time will take its revenge
           come what may

John Lyons