Stéphane Mallarmé – the sapphire of silence

Poorly equipped
defenceless
the poet enters
the world
rides a wooden
rocking-horse

an all-weather
walker he explores
ancient woodlands
and hikes across
endless fields

the stars render
time meaningless
just the beat
of his heart
and the pace
of his footfall

his ancestors
are words
words and music
and his home
is the sapphire
of silence
in which his soul
savours love

life is light
and colour
and all the world
feeds on life
patience is
a natural virtue
which the poet
cultivates
along with sparrows
along with magpies
he admires
their point of view
the purity
of their speech

spiders play
on strings
melodies rich
to the poet’s ear
crude vowels
and consonants
struggle to express
the beauty around us

John Lyons

What never dies

Our frailties
       humble flowers
in the meadows
       and happiness
an art a skill
       that enables us
to live for
       another day

To be is better
       than not to be
words words words
       to fill a theatrical
space in time
       to know all
that defies entropy
       peace and love

John Lyons

Generations of stars

Generations of stars

Generations of leaves
       have fallen
will fall
       She leaves in winter
and returns in the fall
       hopefully

Generations of lovers
       have filled
will fill the earth
       with their joy

My love left
       without so much
as a by your leave
       Blue sky today
effortless
       I read
turn over a new leaf
       We live in the light

Generations of stars

       have taught us
that time withers
       on the oak branch
that fruit falls
       and flesh perishes
but life rises up
       out of the dust
that stars age into
       immortality

John Lyons

Critical light

Critical light

Critical light
            immaterial time
the distance
            between
two objects

the universe
            a play on light
without which
            no beauty

imagination
            the mind’s eye
a play on words
            or colours
or textures
            or dimensions
multiples of three

the poet
            who was
of three minds

a blackbird
            a field of snow
notes slung
            across an empty
stave

peace
            is the absence
of darkness
            love is
omnipresence

the measure
            of all things
the sparrow
            and the lily

what is done
            in the darkness
critical light
            all the love
that radiates
            outwards

in the end
            she may come round
it all takes time
            Rome was not built
in a day

you ask
            how many times
must we repeat
            I reply
until we get it
            right

John Lyons

 

Yes culture too is breath

Yes culture too is breath

Yes culture too is breath
           and all breath comes
from the stars
           and we know
that when the breath cools
           it’s time to move on

She will withhold her kisses
           and in her eyes there will be
disdain and she will glance
           away into the future 
toward the life she has planned
           for your absence

Passion is our birthright
           and we are born
to hold one another
           in our arms
and our words are there
           to console in times of grief
to support in times of distress
           and to express the love
that never dies when it is
           true love

John Lyons

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

 

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