Hochsommerhimmel

Hochsommerhimmel

Himmel, wolkenlos
schon am Morgen. Schwalbenflug
bestickt das Hellblau.

*

Himmel, weich und warm
über Mittag. Seidentuch,
endlich einfach blau!

*

Himmel, licht und sanft
noch am Abend. Holzspanduft
umwebt die Rosen.

Christina Egan © 2015

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Geflecht / Geflechte

Geflecht

Jedes Leben ist verstrickt,
Masche um Masche, Stich um Stich,
in die Leben neben ihm,
ob wir’s wollen oder nicht.

Jede Reihe ist verschlungen,
ohne daß das Garn je bricht,
in das vorige Geflecht,
ob wir’s wissen oder nicht.

Jeder Jahrgang ist der Boden
für die nächste bunte Schicht:
Kaum geboren, sind wir Ahnen
für ein künftiges Geschlecht.

Christina Egan © 2015

Silk cloth dominated by vivid pinks and greens.

Geflechte
(Altstadt von Köln)

Reihen auf Reihen von Häusern,
hell und freundlich im Frühlingslicht,
Reihen auf Reihen von Fenstern,
schimmernd in allen Augenfarben.

Und hinter einem jeden Fenster
Gesichter… Geschichten… Geflechte.
Und unter einem jeden Pflaster
Pflaster… Pfade… Schwellen.

Stockwerk um Stockwerk von Leben,
hinauf ins ausgelassene Blau!
Schicht um Schicht von Geschichte
bis in den unbetretenen Staub.

Ich strecke mich hin auf dem Mäuerchen hier
und höre die Vögel und höre ein Herz –
Das Herz diese Platzes? Das Herz dieser Stadt?
Mein eigenes Herz, wie es schlägt für die Stadt?

Christina Egan © 2016


These poems describe human life as a knitted or woven tissue: every person is a mesh amongst, above, and below others. Every little life is part of a layer of history, as every modest buidling and ordinary street is.

Every life is interwoven with  others. Every single one of us is history!

I wrote the second poem on the way back from Cologne, where I had briefly rested on a little wall, which turned out to be in the area of the ancient forum and which in hindsight reminded me of excavated foundations.

For a poem on weaving words into a poem, see the previous post, Word Weaver.

Photograph: Silk cloth from Madagascar. – © The Trustees of the British Museum

Word Weaver

Word Weaver

More purple clouds than I can count
or weigh or paint for you
or snatch and send them underground
with some surrounding blue…

To one whose windows do not stretch
to spy the heaving sky,
I’ll weave my syllables to fetch
the purple passing by.

To one whose dusk and marble moon
are filtered through a rail,
I must thread silver on my loom
to leave a shiny trail.

I must request the best black silk
to mark the balmy dark…
By day I’ll stitch a roaring quilt
to catch the city’s heart!

Christina Egan © 2016

Drawing of the mechanics of a loom (yarn on rolls, without the frame)The poet describes the world to a prisoner who can barely see the majestic ever-changing sky and the bright busy city surrounding them. The sound and rhythm of the lines emulate the warp and weft of life, so that the words reflect the world — read the poem aloud and you will see!

The other person may be imprisoned by a totalitarian state or indeed by a democratic state, or locked up by their employers or indeed their own family, behind walls and perhaps under a garment. There are many millions of human beings who de facto are prisoners or slaves without being called so.

For poems about time (for instance ensuing generations) and space (for instance a big city) as a tissue, see my post Geflecht / Geflechte. All of civilisation and all of humanity is one web.

Ich behaupte das Dach über Dächern

Ich behaupte das Dach über Dächern

I.

Ich behaupte das Dach über Dächern
und Wipfeln und Kuppeln der Stadt,
im sonnengeladenen Himmel
ein lebensgeladenes Blatt!

Eine Fahne in sattesten Farben,
ein Winken: „Ich bin! Ich bin hier!“
Mein Herz reißt sich los aus dem Leibe
und fliegt über Meere zu dir.

View from high up along building of concrete, steel and glass to the right, with lawn and trees to the left and clouds in blue sky above.

II.

Ich betrachte die Bäume von oben:
erst leuchtend, dann dürr und dann kahl.
Ich zeichne die Großstadt, gewoben
aus Backstein und Kalkstein und Stahl.

Mein Auge drängt aber hinüber
zum Rande der Stadt und des Lands,–
mein Herz glaubt noch immer, es fliege
zu dir mit dem Goldwolkenglanz!

Christina Egan © 2016

 

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016


The person who ‘holds the position on the
roof above roofs’ gets the bigger picture:
observing the city, the sky, the seasons;  
aware of being a part of the fabric of life.

But really, she or he just wants to fly beyond
the horizon, to be united with a beloved one…
who might turn out to be an illusion of desire.
These lines evoke immanent transcendence.

These poems may work in a translation software.

Zwei Zauberkugeln / Bright Grey Eyes

Zwei Zauberkugeln

Zwei Zauberkugeln, Spiegel
von Wolken, Fluss und Feld
enthalten unter Siegel
die Zukunft, matt erhellt:
Zwei blanke graue Augen
erwecken neuen Glauben
an diese alte Welt.

Christina Egan © 2004


 

Bright Grey Eyes

With you, there is no waning light
of day, of season or of life;
there’s growing glow and growing sight
of bright grey eyes in bright grey eyes.

With you, there is no wasted time
doomed to oblivion or decay;
each day is gained, each year a line
of our winding, climbing way.

Christina Egan © 2009


 

These two poems have a similar topic,
but are not translations of each other.

The colour of the writing on this page
emulates the eye colours of the couple.

Augustfest

Augustfest

August.
Klangvolles,
sattgoldnes Wort,
beinah orangerot.

Abend.
Wort voll blauer Ruhe,
verborgener Kraft
und süßer Verheißung.

Norden.
Ein weites graues Feld
im Winter… im Sommer aber
ein ganz grüner Horizont.

Augustabend im Norden.
Ein Fest ist uns bereitet,
herrlich wie ein Hochzeitstag.
Schau dich doch um.

Christina Egan © 2016


Some more thoughts on the north of the planet… In winter all is grey, sky and land and water alike; but in summer, the world shines in blue and green and golden. This is before you look at the flowers and fruits, and the places and things whose colours show again, and the people who have come outdoors again. Winter lasts six months in Southern Europe, like in the myth of Persephone, but seven months in Central Europe and perhaps nine in Northern Europe… All the more do we enjoy the glories of summer!

This is one of many poems I wrote for my wedding anniversaries in August; I hope plenty of other people will be able to use it for their engagements, weddings, and anniversaries! The little poem I read at my wedding is simply called I Love You.

This is the Northern Land

This is the Northern Land

This is the northern land
of loose and juicy ground
where fern and forest glow
and wheat and fruit abound.

This is the continent
where mound responds to mound
and wind resounds on rock –
this is the home we found.

This is the realm of dusk
and star-embroidered night,
of fog caressing lakes…
and then the roaring light!

Christina Egan © 2013

Mountain meadow filling lower half of picture, high trees right behing and mountain range in the distance along the middle, pale blue sky above.

Dammersfeld mountain ridge, Rhön (Central German Highlands).
Two of my great-grandparents grew up with precisely this view. —
Photograph
 by GerritR via Wikimedia Commons.


 

This poem was inspired by the Czech national anthem, Kde domov muj, which entirely refrains from politics and warfare and mainly describes the lush landscape of Central Europe. The Czech Republic abounds with hills and lakes, forests and fields.

My lines cover the whole of Central Europe or the whole continent (including the British Isles): my home is my region, or my country, or Central Europe, or all of Europe — none more so than the other.

The claim that even those who were born there ‘found’ their land may sound strange: yet their ancestors did immigrate one day, even if it was a thousand years or two thousand ago. No one just grew out of the ground. Moreover, most people are arguably of mixed ethnic origin, in our case, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Jewish, Hungarian, and more. No nation is an island.