Shakespeare’s Globe


A globule – 
       a small dark cloud
of gas and dust
       seen against the background
of a luminous nebula
       or more simply
a viscous drop of fat
       ball-shaped hence the globe

Falstaff’s belly shifted from Curtain Road
       in Shoreditch to Southwark
all the world within the confines
       love and jealousy and murderous
ambition alongside scholarly indecision
       tears running down their cheeks
of joy and laughter
       of pain and despair
full of the pomp and circumstance
       of life lived out on the boards
the bard with a silver tongue
       who filled that word that name
that astronomical sphere
       with drama with poetry
with all the magical dust
       of human life

John Lyons


The early morning air

The early morning air

I love the early morning air
           the way it hits the lungs
and tells me how good it is
           to be alive and to be walking
the streets around Shoreditch
           where Shakespeare once performed
in the early hours
           just before the offices open
It’s one of the most alive places
           on the planet
full of the real buzz of life
           people who have come
from their beds
           with fresh energy
ready to engage with the day
           with the win-some lose-some
open mind you get
           from a good night’s sleep

I love the bustle and the jostle
           of people prepared
to make a go of it
           I love the sound of friendship
in the air as people greet or part
           and go on their way to work
I love the simple affections
           that bind us all together
and the deep love
           in my heart

John Lyons

Blood thicker than water

Hieroglyphs, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Blood thicker than water

Blood thicker than
           the waters we crossed
to get to Shoreditch
           or to St Katharine’s Dock
past Traitor’s Gate
           along Kingsland Road
to eat at Vietnam
           duck on a platter
and mango salad
           the stuff of memories
and wondering now
           what it all meant
and why it was
           so soon forgotten
a mystery written
           in our dust

John Lyons

All the world

St Leonard's Shoreditch
St Leonard’s, Shoreditch

All the world

All from
      the same earth
clay formed
      in our image
and likeness
      the willows
the swans
      the geese waddling
by the river’s edge
      the church where 
actors are buried
      in the yard

all from
      the same stage
      in the fading
      these too were lovers
were sons
      and daughters
players all from
      the same earth
the damp grass littered
      with autumn leaves
all from
      the same earth

John Lyons

There has been a church on this site since medieval times. It is situated near the site of The Theatre, England’s first purpose-built playhouse, built in Shoreditch in 1576, and is the burial place of several Elizabethan actors.