The silence of the sea

new horizon
                     Silence of the sea, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Immense oceans
vast stretches of water
each with an individual
shape and personality
adjusted to shores
adjusted to depths
habitat and source
of sustenance
of life itself
where once
we emerged

vast waves of energy
issuing out of time
flooding the universe
with births and deaths
and rebirths in endless
cycles and expressions
from sunlight
and for no other purpose
than to mutate
into something bigger
or better or smaller
or more efficient
but a single process
at the heart of creation

the silent sea
that we observed
as it licked the shore
at Ramsgate
our birthplace
beckoning us

the silent sea
bathed in moonlight
gentle coruscations
as the wind picked
at its surface

relentless ebb and flow
a long slow pulse
the systolic and diastolic sea
the aqueous beating heart
into which we waded
at Hastings or that day
when we lay on the beach
at Copacabana
until a sudden sandstorm
drove us away

the silent sea
with its mysterious smile
posing more questions
than there are answers
and yet Turner obsessed
with its changing moods
its troubled temperament
although the day that
we lay on the sands of Margate
there was barely a ripple :
we ate cockles and mussels
succulent saline fruit
and the day was long
and under the warm sun
love seemed eternal

John Lyons

View from the Turner Museum, Margate

Turner Contemporary
The Turner Contemporary gallery, Margate

View from the Turner Gallery, Margate

How light the liquid light
          lies upon the sea
as the sun sets
          the silver shimmer
of tiny waves that roll in
          from the distant horizon
candescent curls
          that ferry brilliance
to the shore : calm now
          on this end of summer
afternoon with contentment
          settled among the families
at play on the beach
          fine dry sand underfoot
and a rising tide and a waning
          moon in the wings

Here Turner knew
          tempestuous times
when ships were lost
          with all souls drowned
: but there were days too
          when the placid waters
held his eye and he saw
          only peace and comfort
his heart awash
          with the beauty of it all

John Lyons


Visit the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-6pm.