Poetic mastery

Poetic mastery

How journeyed ?
           thought that leads
                      to shape
shape to thought
           the impulse to create
                                 to innovate
                      to add fresh colour
to revitalize
                    to labour at an idea
from tree
                      to wood
                                            to table
to an installation
           that spells domesticity
                      a home built
                                            from forms
all of which
           are a kind of script
                                 a man-made world
                      by women too
                                            the structures
we inhabit
           our practices
                                   how they shift
with time—
                      all works
of the imagination
           and of these
                      the greatest
                                            is love

John Lyons

 

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Rilke’s Apollo

Archaic torso of apollo
Archaic torso of Apollo

Rilke’s Apollo

Value shaped
           by the heart
and by the hand
           lends form to love
The torso that gleams
           the flicker of stone
seen in the eyes
           all the softness
of starlight
           caught in the lines
from which these
           my words
take their life
           gracefully
The artist a beast
           that preys upon
the timeless universe’s
           distance
movement
           and depth

John Lyons


Em português:

O Apolo de Rilke

Valor formado
            pelo coração
e pela mão
            dá forma ao amor
O torso que brilha
            o cintilar de pedra
visto nos olhos
            toda a suavidade
da luz das estrelas
            pego nas linhas
das quais
            minhas palavras
tiram a vida
            graciosamente
O artista uma fera
            que faz pilhagem
da distância
           do movimento
da profundidade
           do eterno universo

First date

First date

How to speak
            of that moment in time
before time existed
            and how to measure
that pre-moment
            before the Big Bang
and all our energy
            all our time
all our particles
            date from then
the first date
            hence the expression
stars in their eyes
            is no metaphor

and all our love
            the life and death
of us all contained
            within the cycle
and not a hair
            can be added
or subtracted
            to or from the universe
all the feelings
            the hopes and desires
that we embody
            the quantum mechanics
of our existence
            self-knowledge
data-mined
            in the kiss

John Lyons

Snow moon

Snow moon

Was this the snow moon
            poised low above the horizon
in the east this morning
            How the light reveals
and yet plays tricks
            the optical illusions
from rainbows
            to the crock of gold

And how each of us
            longs for a mirage
to relieve the angst
            of our inner deserts
And how we see ourselves cast
            in the planets and in the stars
We dream of Venus
            and of Mars and so set them
on imaginary paths
            How far have the particles
that made me
            travelled in their own
lifetime or yours
            in your lifetime too ?
Extracts as we are
            of distant energies
we bear the imprint
            of the universe
in our disparate souls
            and in our love
that seeks to bind
            the cosmic dust
into a marriage
            of perfect being

John Lyons

 

Look to love

Look to love

What do you want to know
            what words do you look to
for wisdom for understanding
            that there’s nothing free from dust
in this world
            or that the turbulent sea
will outlive us all
            that the genius of nature
is inexhaustible ?
            Seed bud leaf flower
the mysterious genealogies
            of all living things
and natural selection
            and the truths that never waver

Look to love
            to the love in your life
the love that survives
            the day to day
the flesh bound fast
            to another’s flesh
for better or for worse
            Arrange your home
the inner sanctum
            be seasonal and fill it with roses
never mind the dust
            honour your heart’s desire
time is a luxury
            spend it wisely

John Lyons

Magnetic alignment

floweroffrost
Flower of frost 

Magnetic alignment

The beauty of frail
            flowers of frost
on the window pane
            fine filigree of ice
that will soon melt
            under the morning sun
And I think of love
            of compassed perfection
magnetic alignment
            in which the eyes have it
a tongue-tied love
            that exceeds the night
subsists on the light of stars
            values truth and sincerity
holds the body sacred
            knowing that the flesh
source of all life
            never lies

To lie in the lee of love
            sheltered from time
from the depredation
            of thwarted dreams
that lives in shared decision
            set upon a common path
a sole direction
            that trades not in power
but in tokens of gentleness
            As the wind ruffles
the fresh leaves of trees in spring
            so love stirs the heart’s fibres
its voice never fades
            never fails

John Lyons

A sense of gratitude

A sense of gratitude

A change in the weather
            drives the gulls inland
once again
            twenty or thirty of them
soaring in wide circles
            above the rooftops

High pressure and the trees
            almost perfectly still
while I sit and read
            and watch and meditate
on the way things are
            thinking and feeling
my way
            through the morning

Reject no one
            and debase nothing
Zukofsky wrote
            : wise words
And I turn my eyes
            to explore the face of the sky

We made a pact
            in Southwark Tavern
to which I hoped
            she would adhere
but those were days
            in which the sun shone
no sign of cloud or rain
            no threat of thunder

Luck has a way of turning
            as we know
though love built on luck
            never lasts
and our love was always
            unequal

Beyond desire our drives
            were different
but for a while we shared
            the very best of ourselves
and for those days
            for that part of the journey
for those happy times
            I give thanks

John Lyons