Mere being

Mere being

Is it my body
or my mind
or my soul
or my heart
that loves


is it in time
or space
in the here
and the now
or does it
extend back and forth
into infinity ?

and if so
what is that ?

did I love you
ever since we were
ions longing to bind
with kindred ions
drifting across the ether
in the afterburn
of creation ?

let there be light
means let there be love
means let there be life
because all things mate
all things cohere
and condense
and reproduce

the palm
at the end
of my arm
with which
I caressed you
the woman
I love

John Lyons


The magnolias are in bloom

The magnolias are in bloom

The purple magnolia is in bloom
           streets are lined with cherry blossom
nature’s festive season has begun
           rains have rejuvenated the land

What more is there to love
           than the pulse of life
rising up from the dead of winter
           with the promise of spring
leading us on into the heart
           of a mid-summer’s dream ?

Even the fish that move silently
           through the reeds know
that a change is at hand
           the signs are there in the sunlight
that floods the river’s depths
           and in the soft debris of petals
swept downstream by the tide of life
           All that lives dies so as to live again :
it’s what nature knows
           and nature never lies

John Lyons

My Sunday morning

My Sunday morning

Sunday moves slowly
           through the day
I feel the emptiness of space
           all around me
the silence and the air
           moving imperceptibly
through the trees
           Life is breathing
and I’m soaking it in
           my mind dipping
into and out of
           a number of memories
flicking through emotions
           through times and places
where we were happy

She is never far
           from my thoughts
though she’s far
           from me now
There was a time
           when so much of her life
was a part of my life
           making absolute separation
           I learn to live with it
one day at a time
           I read poetry
for consolation
           poetry that is about
what truly counts
           human feelings
love for all things
           that are good
and the truest of all loves
           that never fades

John Lyons

Lightness of being

Lightness of being

Momentary in the mind
            a reflection caught
in the mirror
            or a sudden gust of wind
that nearly blows me
            off my feet

Portion control
            and the weight dropping
since mid-October
            16 pounds to date
nosing slowly towards
            my target
I walk on air
            a spring in my step
one less person to carry

I catch buses and trains
            I might have missed
Love is immortal
            the flesh is not
Care must be exercised
            but life as the poet says
is a sacrament of praise
            the beauty of all good things
the interminable flow
            of the seasons
along with my breath
            along with my blood
The only strings attached
            are those of the viol
the melodies that arise
            in my heart’s chamber

John Lyons


An aside on Wallace Stevens

An aside on Wallace Stevens

I read him for the granulations of time
            for the immaculate imagery
with which he sketches our existence
            the true interior life that sums us up
for the transparence of place he inhabits
            and for the thoughtfulness of his voice

He is a master of landscapes
            of rivers and mountains and plains
and trees and blackbirds with an acute eye
            for anything that moves
in a field of snow
            and in his observations he is always
central and necessary and just as the stars
            he stands naked in the cosmos

How often do we note that the sea
            breaks on the edges of his lines
that are composed
            for oboe or hautboy
intuitive melodies to be performed
            in the haunted forests of our cities
evoking all those unsettling truths
            so deeply buried in our blood

John Lyons

Fruit of the stars

Fruit of the stars

A sky
            full of snowflakes
obscures the stars but
            from their hydrogen
and their oxygen
            comes water
a marriage made
            in a molecule

            fruit of the stars
and chain of constant
that for which
            we were born
moving within the light
            at rest within the shade
a temperate life
            capable of noble deeds
energized from before
            the moment of conception
and measured against
            the inspirations of time
and judged
            by our capacity to love

            that supreme fiction 
poetry of all that’s made
            bonds of flesh
bound in words and intoned
            in tender hymns
to our humanity
            cherished thoughts
that elate the heart
            and fire passion
in our blood until we attain
            the proud pangs of paradise

John Lyons


In praise of Wallace

In praise of Wallace

Some say that he’s no poet
           but what do they know
he is succinct and always
           to the point
and shadows run freely
           through his verse
and the heavens are a backdrop
           to the endless mountains
Men and women live
           in his lines and he observes
more than a blackbird
           will ever see

He hears the strumming
           of a poor pale guitar
but he is generous
           in his appraisal
because he knows
           that things are as they are
and so he gives them a voice
           and poetry is the subject
of his poetry
           and his life’s summation
the flesh the bone
           the dirt the stone

In Margravine
           where the squirrels romp
and crows fill the air
           with their raucous song
and the tombs sink deeper
           into the earth while nature
flourishes all around
           and young lovers walks by
without batting an eye
           and not so much as a sigh

John Lyons