More imagining

More imagining

A rose needs the light
           in order for its beauty to shine
though the thorns can
           prick a finger in the dark
and a rose shared becomes
           much more than itself
it establishes a dialogue
           even if unspoken
between two perspectives
           a flow of feeling and meaning
that does not need
           to be put into words
the silence for example
           of two people in love
in the presence of a rose
           that adds a third dimension
nothing more substantial
           nothing more real
than the kiss that is
           yet to be given

John Lyons

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The common life

The common life

I lead the common life
           I too am a result
of mixed blessings
           of wild gifts
and irresistible flaws
           I’m familiar with church steeples
and power plants
           and black lines on the horizon

I know who made me
           and for what purpose
and I prefer boots to shoes
           and yes I know which way
the ball bounces
           I’m conscious of the poetry
that I write and anxious
           not to waste my breath
Birthdays come and go
           but I remain
and I’m open to love
           always

John Lyons

The intelligence of trees

tree.jpg
Tree, John Lyons (oil on wood)

The intelligence of trees

Wallace refers to the intelligence of trees
the famed tree of knowledge is related
the thing that grows organically
and the metaphors that we may apply
the roots that reach so deep into the earth
the branches that reach constantly for the sky
the leaves that burst from buds in spring
that bring delight in the summer until
in the autumn they fall as all things fall
the rings of age that mark the wood
the gnarled bark of ancient specimens
the shade under which lovers lounge
the stillness of time until the wind rises

John Lyons

A bravura of the mind

A bravura of the mind

Fret fear fate
           new texts in the world
as though time dragging its heels
           even though time does not exist
outside of our perception
           the archaic forms of poetry
from worlds long gone
           the shift in customs and belief
and so much forgotten
           or abandoned and yet
the struggle is the same
           how to deal with the day
how to fill our lives
           with being

and how to remain open
           to love in all its gestures
receptive also to truth
           the beauty of it
to know the value
           of our breath
a bravura both of the mind
           and of the heart

John Lyons

 

The surface of things

The surface of things

The beautiful surface of things
           life in all its infinite detail
and in all its glory
           the capacity to articulate
to put two and two together
           the chalk hills
of the North Downs
           at present covered
in pure white snow
           where pure white lambs
will graze unknowingly
           in days to come in spring

the rich hue and cry of life
           lived and held
in the conscious mind
           assembled in our language
a world built word by word
           and recalled word for word
just as our love grows
           accumulating acts of affection
mutual and stored
           in the necessary memory
of living words :
           there was a wedding feast
at which the water
           became wine and filled
the imagination
           as all art does in changing
the face of the earth
           in its becoming

John Lyons

The mind takes a break

The mind takes a break

When I am lost
           for words to write
I reach for the poems
           of Wallace Stevens
and allow my mind
           to drift in his obsessions
two figures in the dark night
           the voice of the moment
and the place in which
           he has Florida in his ear
and always the singularity
           of the eye that builds
from what it sees
           a world of the imagination

I think of his restless fingers
           and his rule of thumb :
say it and it shall be
           the conceiving words
from which he constructs
           a composite of reality

Below Key West
           there’re stars I’ve never seen
and on the roof of a rusty barn
           there are buzzards
crouched in anticipation
           there are palm trees
etched against the blue-black sky
           and there is a full moon
with nothing to reveal
           other than itself
Finally there is the sea
           sleeping in silence in the bay
and this silence I tell you 
           is such a welcome serenade

John Lyons