Plain sense

Plain sense

The plain sense of things
           the end of the imagination ?
I don’t think so— and certainly
           not for a fallen leaf
We imagine all our lives
           we envisage and plan and hope
and sometimes pray
           and whether we gamble or not
we are always calculating odds
           she loves me she loves me not

Stare out from the train
           as it passes Deptford Green
where children still skateboard
           within office hours
where the ornamental pond
           is covered in thick green slime
the trees bare these winter days
           and all the time I’m imagining
what will happen next
           and where will it end
and I think of all those
           I have loved and love still
and wonder what they’re about
           imagining all the time so that
nothing inanimate or inert
           will ever lay down the law
and condemn me to silence
           Thoughts and feelings are
expressions sometimes
           voiced sometimes not
and our world a construct
           of collective consciousness
so fragile it could pass
           in the blink of an eye

John Lyons

 

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From my lips to your ear

From my lips to your ear

What do I know of poetry
           other than it is words
for effect or words
           for special effect
Shakespeare knew
           that we are locked
in mortal combat
           with the sun
and his sonnets
           are sun-shaped
held up as mirrors
           to deter its ageing action
verbal markers against
           the depredations of time

Keats’ ode that enhances
           the beauty of the bird
so that a poem can fly
           across the ages
undimmed :
           poetry beyond seasons
beyond the woman sitting
           on a bench in a park
with a cloud on her
           shoulder and art
breeds art
           ever since the caves
of Altamira when no storm
           deflected the act of creation

John Lyons

 

Notes towards . . .

Notes towards . . .

In the uncertain light
       some certainties
the passage of time
       the coming and going
of the seasons
       youth followed hopefully
by the wisdom of age
       and a little less ignorance
hell receding as the heavens
       come a little closer
less fear of fear
       and life refreshed
in the commerce
       of words and the truth
of poetry and belief
       in the purity of love

John Lyons

Blackberry and apple

Blackberry and apple

I noticed that the blackberries
on the canes in the garden
are almost ripe for picking

Blackberry and apple pie
was one of my favourites
when I was a boy

In those days I knew
nothing of poetry
but I was an expert
when it came to judging
blackberry and apple pies

I understand that I am
the world in which I walk
can debate whether
it is nobler or not but would
honestly kill for a decent
blackberry and apple pie

John Lyons

Snowstorm

Snowstorm

The beauty of what is

or the beauty
of what’s about to be 
fully-fledged
or new-born

the rose that is
about to droop
or the tight bud
bursting with energy ?

a single flake falling
or a field covered in snow
and the roving eye
of the blackbird

the only thing seen
in that entire scene

and the fact
as Wallace tells us
that poetry

is all in the mind

John Lyons

Imaginations

Imaginations

Of course poetry may dwell
on the surface of things
but words are not surfaces
and their significance
runs deeper than we might
in reality imagine 

the unblemished rose
is one thing
and the imagined world
quite another

poetry is the magnificent
cause of being

and if at all
we only ever exist
in the reality
of the imagination
and beauty is
what is taken
to the heart

John Lyons

London marathon

London marathon

Thousands of men
           and women and children
crossing a bridge
           all ages all shapes all sizes
all faiths all creeds
           every denomination
and of every ability
           crossing a single bridge
one end to the other
           of a finite bridge
the clump of their feet
           on the boards of the bridge
and on the sidelines
           thousands urging them on
the air thick with their
           cheers and their applause
life from one end
           to the other

John Lyons