The day Frank died

Cannot forgive myself for not knowing
where I was on the day Frank O’Hara
died      “Do what you want, but don’t get hurt,” his
father told him.       I get a little Ver-
laine for Patsy 
                 feel the dust in the back
of my throat     “Take my watch, it’s always fast,
cram more life into your day.”     Grace to be
born with that wit     that gift for friendship    for
poetry       to live more variously
Slow sobs of autumn     played on violins
a library of crystal tears    Cribbage
into the early hours     Patsy asleep
in my arms  :  so silent I hear the thump
of her heart
             she’s out cold to the sadness

John Lyons

In so many words

In so many words

It is words that bind us
         words that shape our lives
words that capture our gestures
         words that guide our minds
out of the darkness
         The rose for all its beauty
is inarticulate and carries
         no inherent message
its wordless script
         is but a summer long
its status springs entirely
         from the words
of our imagination
         in love or sorrow
it assumes the mantle
         that our emotions assign
Without the rain
         there is the sadness
of the rain that haunted
         the verse of Verlaine
the sobbing sound of notes
         from the violin
falling upon the silent city
         a city that is perhaps no more
than a congregation of words
         a text of intelligence
a single multi-tongued voice
         and so it goes—words
words watery words
         awash with meaning
words in which reality
         is pinned to the ground
words with the aid of which
         our dreams reach for the stars

John Lyons