Time lives and dies

Under a blue sky     today     at lunchtime I will eat
gently charred chicken    cooked over hot coals
I will count my summer swallows and sip
at a cold beer
                    Yesterday is so much dead meat
My eyes are focused on the future       the path
through the final thorns       leading all the way to
the finishing line      whatever that might be
         How strange
                    to have no ambition      other than
for the prospects of what might unfold with
every breath       Time lives and dies with us
so too does love           and all things cherished
I will not gather dandelions    nor count each
wayward butterfly that flutters into my life
the nectar I have garnered
                                 sustains my soul

John Lyons

Everything turns into writing

I read you.    I get it.      Everything turns into writing.
Sat with my steaming hot coffee on a cold October day
in Bowling Green park
                                 planning to finish it
before I hit the subway. I’d crossed on the ferry
from Staten Island with Elaine and we had just
said our goodbyes.         I never did see her again
yet here she is once more in my wanting words like
some affable familiar ghost whose memory
has travelled with me all these years even though
most of the time she was never even in my mind.
In a moment’s distraction
                         I’d spilt some of the coffee
on the salt and pepper overcoat I was wearing
How strange to be haunted      by a cute face and
by certain gentle innocent words spoken over
                                  forty-five years ago

John Lyons

Poetry will absolve me

It is daybreak. The city that never sleeps
has been sleeping. My dream was of trains
moving silently through the night. I must
wake the city and feed it with poetry.
I must get the world moving. I must dry
its tears and dress it with poetry. From
the Capital of Pain, Paul Éluard will assist me
with his hymns to freedom and to courage.

It is daybreak and I will never forget the beauty
of your eyes as you looked into my eyes.
Birds are singing sotto voce and a blue
silk skyline is unfolding as the city stirs.
It’s no disgrace to have loved you nor to love
you still : poetry will absolve me.

John Lyons

A nightingale sang

What will people say of us
        when we are gone
what do they say now ?
        they say that we were
meant for each other
        they mean I was meant
for you but you meant
        for me not to be the one
meant for you because
        I meant nothing to you

It just shows how meaning
        can be so confusing
and far less certain
        than it’s cracked up to be
William said doubt truth
        but we all doubt truth
we all turn our back on it
        at some time or another

In the midst of this forest
        or this woodland we long
to be in open ground
        on the heath for example
where the burning stars are
        more clearly visible
our stars : the ones meant
        for you and me and who
on earth has a kingdom
        to exchange for a horse ?

Chance is a rare fine thing
        and love too and all the
beauty associated with it
        the endless feelings
of satisfaction and content-
        ment     Once I heard
a nightingale sing on a warm
        summer’s night and I
remember that the moon
        was full and I took you
in my arms and kissed
        you and then there was
silence and I held you
        for an eternity but
you never returned
        will never return

John Lyons

Shakespeare’s Globe

The_second_Globe_Theatre

A globule – 
       a small dark cloud
of gas and dust
       seen against the background
of a luminous nebula
       or more simply
a viscous drop of fat
       ball-shaped hence the globe

Falstaff’s belly shifted from Curtain Road
       in Shoreditch to Southwark
all the world within the confines
       love and jealousy and murderous
ambition alongside scholarly indecision
       tears running down their cheeks
of joy and laughter
       of pain and despair
full of the pomp and circumstance
       of life lived out on the boards
the bard with a silver tongue
       who filled that word that name
that astronomical sphere
       with drama with poetry
with all the magical dust
       of human life

John Lyons

Sonnet 30

Sonnet 30

Tonight no stars
           no mirror to my mood—
thick cloud rolled in from the west
           and temperatures have risen
Rain or shine we make our luck
           we also live and learn

as William woefully put it
           So let’s not let remembrance
of things past drag us down
           in sobbing sessions of sweet
silent thought : Get over it
           and live for the day

John Lyons

Shakespeare

Shakespeare

The pen and ink of it
the physicality
Shakespeare wrote
with his fingers
leant on the desk
knew the blank page
and moments of frustration

Stumbled though he had eyes
lived through the mutability
of the imagination
smudged days of passion
and at the end
perceived the vanity
of immortality
died beset
by the wilderness wish

John Lyons

The mating game

The mating game

How many days does it take
           I mean really take
to make a year
           and how many years
add up to a life
           and what’s a life ?

words are cheap
           words words words
two pigeons on the window ledge
           cooing dating mating
it’s a black and white world
           which is why they are grey

he says—
            no why don’t we do
what we said
           we were going to do
while Miss Universe says
           but I can change my mind

meanwhile the grass is getting greener
           everywhere daffodils are sprouting
and the first bees of the season
           are out on patrol :
it must be spring
           so the syrupy sap rises
and a young man’s thoughts
           turn to love

John Lyons