Down by the Thames

Down by the Thames

The flow of language
that runs down to silence
: the rivers that bury
themselves in the sea

just as today at Erith
Thames waters glide away
into the distance
out of my sight and mind

Farewell to the idea
to the passing moment
to the creatures that live
within beneath or above

these tidal reaches
to times marked
by the sun and the moon
A lone fisherman casts a line

into the deep unknown
What passion lurks
within his heart what loves
has he known and lost ?

His head is in his dreams
his hope in the bite of a fish
his life has brought him
to the pier where for a while

he will be

John Lyons

In these cold waters

In these cold waters

Low mist lying across
           the Thames at Erith
a wide stretch known
           to Daniel Defoe

no warmth in these waters
           where bream and perch
and pike and roach
           and rudd and carp
and gudgeon live out
           their cold-blooded lives

Between October and January
           salmon may be seen
heading upriver
           to Hampton Court
and rainbow trout
           are known to spawn
in the Wandle
           at Croydon

A Siberian sturgeon
           that had lost its way
was once caught
           at Dartford provoking
rare excitement
           among devotees

John Lyons

Heron in flight

Heron in flight

What roused me
           from my daydream
was the sound of a heron
           flying overhead as I stood
in the supermarket car park
           It was down by the Thames
one cold January morning
           and the heavy flap flap flap
of its wings surprised me
           I looked up and watched
as it flew off into the distance
           into the silence

I knew that it was heading south
           perhaps to Crayford marshes
or beyond and I wondered
           whether I would ever see it again

John Lyons



Love lifts the grey day
           from the grey waters
of the grey river
           that flows by the Tower
of cold hard grey flint

Love lifts the day
           with her warmth
and her kiss
           and her kind words
and the tenderness
           of her smile
and the openness
           of her arms

Time is a single measure
           and not of all things
but of things only
           that pass and fade
and grow dimmer
           and decline and ultimately
wither away —
           petals consumed
in the fiery furnace :
           not so love
that lifts the day
           however grey
and fills the minute and the hour
            with bliss enjoyed  
and the promise 
             of more to come

John Lyons