Lyon (VI)

Sunday’s streets mostly silent

I hear the leathery leaf of a plane tree fall

Now Saturday’s night is done

This is how life used to be

A day of rest, officially

When even clocks seem to pause

But Metro lines, buses and trams

Still running efficiently

Over the viaduct a TGV rolls

A slow start

This is a time to breathe

A gentle stroll

City parks, the river promenades

Come into their own

The carousel yet to turn

Boulouger rises early

Flower stalls bloom

A street market unwraps

Churches’ heavy doors let in light

Let out dust and gloom

Street cleaner already vacuuming

While dog walkers stoop

Still having to pick up the mess

Their dogs don’t get Sundays


n.b. Yes, the old clock wasn’t working. It was 08:00h when I took the photo.

CLP 25/11/2019

Lyon (V)

Out to the east

Where there is space

Derelict factories rust

A stadium has been built

Tram lines laid

Office blocks stand

Apartments planned

Colour blind posters

Promote hygienic living

At the concrete shopping arcade


Gather out of the pissing rain

Under the awning

Listening to music

In the company of old drunks

The unformed and the broken

The over-looked brought together

By the vagaries of weather


CLP 25/11/2019

Cards or Dice (Lyon IV)

Cut, shuffle

Rattle, roll

Which is better?

I don’t know.

When asking for a sign

Throw the jacks


n.b. Fate does not lay out our fortune, but the interpreter of fortunes does. We hear what we want to hear, believe what we choose and act out our lives accordingly.

King James VI of Scotland, James I of England, assessed the character of men by the way they played cards. This is quite an interesting way to assess someone’s character. Since I read this in Antonia Fraser’s book about the Gun Powder Plot, I have considered how I play cards and how that is reflected in the life I have lived. Is this what I have lived, or a romanticised perspective brought on by the idea of character played out at the table?


I would describe my card playing as optimistic to the point of reckless. However, I would say that one can tell a person’s character better by the way they play cricket, or football as these involve not only intellectual and emotional character, but physicality too – the whole person.


Are cards but a parlour game? The above picture is from Lyon’s exhibition of Resistance and Deportation. Even in the death camps of the Nazis the deportees found ways to pass the time before their execution in play. What would King James (a man who wrote about hunting and prosecuting witches) have said about the resourcefulness and resilience of the incarcerated in these appalling circumstances


Would different characteristics between players emerged? Probably. Yet to even subscribe to play at such a place shows the enormous depth of human spirit.


The Romans who built Lugdunum, (now Lyon), thought that how the jacks fell most accurately foretold the path of future events – not that they could do much about the projected outcomes.


CLP 24/11/2019