Out of Eden

             Out of Eden, John Lyons (40 x 40 cm, oil on canvas)

Out of Eden
       there flowed two rivers
through fields of corn
       and barley and rye
and people gathered on the banks
       their eyes fixed upon
the shifting waters
       and the sunlight
that danced on the surface
       : this is where
our ancestors learned
       the shape of love
and where they chose
       their colours

John Lyons

Love’s last look

detail 2

                Detail 2, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Whichever way
you look at it
it’s words
there’s no escape

the absence of speech
but not necessarily
of thought

Viewed from this angle
what does this canvas
convey ?
Shapes and colours

are the same
but a shift in orientation
is a shift in perception
just as love

observed from a distance
is simply not the same
her face her eyes
caught in a new light

a composition of the mind
a flurry of questions
where is this all going
and where will it end ?

John Lyons

Love’s refusal


                                Detail, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

Dark lashes
       eyes abashed
reticent lips
       gentle wind
sifting the hair
       a vulnerable beauty
built of taut flesh
       and supple bone
that must step out
       into the world

Sometimes words
       get the better of her
and she turns in
       upon herself
no mirror can
       hold her for long
nor any man’s arms
       nor moon her night
she is a truth
       waiting to be told

John Lyons

The doors of perception


                            Door, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

“If the doors of perception
were cleansed
every thing would appear to man
as it is, Infinite.

For man has closed himself up,
till he sees all things
thro’ narrow chinks
of his cavern.”

William Blake
from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93)

The painting illustrating today’s text is a reading of Willem de Kooning’s A door to the sea, held at the Whitney Museum in New York. It is perfectly legitimate for one painter to base a painting on an existing work by another artist. Think of the plethora of nativity or crucifixion scenes in Renaissance art. In its own way, a door may represent a nativity or a crucifixion.

I sometimes paint

I sometimes paint

I’m a poet and a patriot
            but I sometimes paint
though I make no claims
            for my artistic skills
I simply try to lay down
            the colours and shapes
of the words I carry around
            in my head along with
whatever energies
            I can bring to bear

If I was a painter
            I would strive to be
a de Kooning or
            a Jackson Pollock
or wherever the action is
            but there’s no hope
of that so relax
            it’s Saturday
and my mind’s on
            the walk we are about
to take over the river to Spitalfields
            to try a Philadelphia
cheese steak sandwich
            and on Sunday
I will be watching the Superbowl
            and cheering on the Eagles
even though I have
            only the vaguest
understanding of the game :
            it’s just not my game

John Lyons