Fastenzeit / Lent


An bitterem schwarzen Brot
nagt mein Mund.

An bitterer schwarzer Erde
nagt mein Herz.

Grauer Wind
fegt die Fluren rein.

Alles fastet
der Farbenfülle entgegen.

Christina Egan © 1985


My foot sinks
into bitter black earth.

My heart gnaws
on bitter black bread.

Grey wind
sweeps the fields clean.

Everything fasts
towards the flood of flowers.

Christina Egan © 1999

The church year mirrors the natural seasons  and symbolises our life events: voluntary renunciation in Lent corresponds to the hardships of winter or to emotional deprivation.

I shall shortly post a poem about Easter at ostermorgen, where faith in God and resurrection is linked to the renewed sunshine of spring and to the experience of communion and fulfilment.

Winter Sunrise in Morocco / in England

Winter Sunrise in Morocco

Orange tree full of fruit and rose tree with large roses in front of high pink wallsthe rainbow scarf of the sky
stretched out above the battlements

awesome and unnoticed
by the markets which never sleep

and millions of golden roses
rolled out along the highways

in the carved and inlaid caskets
of the powdery-pink courtyards

strings of peach-coloured roses
clusters of orange-blossom and fruit

Christina Egan © 2012

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012

You can read a German poem about a Moroccan city at In Marrakesch. The buildings and walls of Marrakesh are pink by law!

Around the turn of the year, I found it warm and sunny by day and pleasantly mild by night. In fact, people were hoping for some rain…

Winter sunrise in England

at the edge of the orb of the earth
a mighty web of finest twigs

painted onto leaf gold
by a master’s hand

and then the blob of molten gold
so bright that it seems to melt them too

like a favour from the heavens
like the face of a god

as if life were possible
one more day one more winter

Christina Egan © 2012

In northern Europe, the winter is so hard that by the beginning of spring, you may feel, even if you are not at all old, that it was the last one you reached.

In Germany, it is cold by day and by night for many months, there is snow and ice, and above all, the nights are long and the days often dull so that you may not see the face of the sun for days; in England, the cold is less bitter, but — which is worse it reaches indoors…

In Marrakesch (Einst fiel ein Regenbogen)

In Marrakesch

Einst fiel ein Regenbogen auf die Wüste
zersplitterte in funkelnde Oasen
in Perlen Spiegel abertausend Tücher
in Brunnen Palmen abertausend Rosen

Zum Regenbogen wird der Horizont
zum schwarzen Drachenkamm das Hochgebirg
und über kühnen Türmen hängt der Mond
wenn Dunkelheit das Mauerrund umwirbt

Und immer Hupen Räder Rufen Reden
Laternen Tänzerinnen wie zum Fest
Dies ist die Stadt wo jede Nacht das Leben
ein Feuerwerk ist: Dies ist Marrakesch!

Christina Egan © 2012

There is a longer version of this poem, as lyrics for a love song, for once a happy one…

This text may work in a translation software. You can read an English poem about Marrakesh at Winter Sunrise in Morocco.Vast square by night, illuminated by lamps in market stalls, with the sunset along the horizon and a massive minaret showing. The Square of the Dead is incidentally the most lively place on the planet. You must visit it after dusk to get the full experience. Nothing prepares you for Marrakesh!

Photograph: Square of the Dead, Marrakesh, Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012

Am Rad der Weltgeschichte

Ich möcht am Rad der Weltgeschichte stehn

Ich möcht am Rad der Weltgeschichte stehn
Und eine Nacht beharrlich rückwärts drehn
Das Telefon zerfällt in deiner Hand
Der Flachbildschirm entgleitet deiner Wand
Das Internet verweht wie bunter Rauch
Die Rapmusik verebbt im Morgenhauch
Durchs Weltall stürzen Sonden zu uns her
Die schwarze Fahne rutscht vom Schießgewehr
Palmyra schüttelt sich aus Schutt und Sand
Manhattans Splitter fügen sich zum Band

Und wenn die Mauer aus dem Staube steigt
Dann halt ich an – und die Geschichte schweigt

Dann geh ich aus und such und finde dich
Und nichts und niemand hält und hindert mich

Der Rest darf weiterrasseln wie zuvor
Die Mauer stürzt es platzt das Wüstentor
Die rote Fahne sinkt die schwarze steigt
Und Pluto wird gefilmt und Mars erreicht
Das Internet wird um die Welt gespannt
Der Bildschirm schrumpft in deine hohle Hand
Doch mitten in des Lebens Wirbelsturm
Stehn du und ich wie jener Doppelturm

Zweitausendfünfzehn schrieb ich dir dies Lied
Denn ich bin müde und die Zeit entflieht

Christina Egan © 2015

Dense layers of rusty gearwheels.The narrator imagines that he or she can turn back the wheel of history.

Tiny hand-held telephones, huge television screens, and the whole internet dissolve; one after the other, the Arch of Palmyra, the Twin Towers, and the Berlin Wall rise from the debris.

Then the person stops history to find the beloved one this time round and live a new life together, while everything else rolls on as before: the monuments fall, the internet rises, till we arrive back in 2015.

These lines could be developed into a rock song. I imagine hard music which grows more intense until it stops when history stops!

Rusty gear wheels. Photograph by susannp4 (Susann Mielke).

Crystal Rock

Crystal Rock

View from Gothic cathedral, almost vertical, onto structures forming a pattern

You follow a hidden winding staircase
and step down inside a crystal rock.

You have become very small and dark
or the space around you tall and light.

You stand on the ground of a tower of ice,
a polygon of translucent stone.

Is it a cavern? Is it a glacier?
No, it’s a chapel beneath a chapel!

Gothic cathedral in winter, dark grey against light blue

It is a cell in an ancient cluster:
a grey cathedral crouched on a rock.

Your soles touch a surface beneath the soil,
your eyes reach a tent of light like the sky.

This staircase does not lead to a nightmare:
it should be baptised a lightmare instead.

That era should not be known as Dark Ages:
it ought to be honoured as Ages of Light!

Christina Egan © 2016

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2016

These lines refer to the same ancient town of Béziers as the last post, Roof-Tile / Plateau. There, you can see more views from the roofs of the Cathedral.


Roof-Tile / Plateau


Lower half shows ancient wall with lichen and moss, upper half houses and roofs with motley tiles

A roof-tile, grooved: a hill, a dell,
in broken ochre, earthy red,
with greenish circles in between;
a piece of world, of time a shred.

And then I see: the whole old roof
is such a patch of orange clay –
the whole old town in weathered brown,
resplendent in a tender ray!

Christina Egan © 2016


Roof with motley tiles - Detail of above photo

Life is a gnarled and narrow hill,
so steep as scarcely to be climbed:
you scramble, stumble, slide or fall,
you stay below, you stay behind.

Then opens, through a hedge or wall,
a gap, a gate, an avenue,
a whole plateau, a spilling well,
a plain beneath your startled view!

Christina Egan © 2016

Round basin in park, with trees, houses and statue mirroredTwo views from the ancient city of Béziers in France, which is piled up
on a couple of steep hilltops: the first view is from
the Cathedral tower; the second, from the park called Parc des poètes / Plateau des poètes.

Well… the respite after struggles and setbacks might be found in enjoying or creating art — or in life itself!

Old Town of Beziers, with red roofs dominating, landscape round horizon.While getting lost and strained in the lanes of Béziers reminded me of nightmares, exploring the Cathedral like a giant Crystal Rock  induced me to create the word ‘lightmare’!

Photographs: Béziers from the Cathedral roof ; Parc des poètes. Christina Egan © 2016