Palmenhaus / Palm House

Bright red koi fish coming out from underneath curved green bridge across pond

250 poems!


Palmenhaus am Wolfsweg –
Palm House at Wolves Lane

Huge banana leaf, bright green above bright green bridgeSattgrüne Segel,
wölben sich die Palmblätter
hier im Gewächshaus.

*

Green sails, filled with light,
with sap, the palm leaves billow
here in the greenhouse.

***

Tiny waterfall behind little red bridgeBlütentrompeten
antworten dem Wasserfall:
Kannst du’s vernehmen?

*

The flutes of flowers
answering the waterfall:
can you perceive it?

***

Turtle in pond under palm-trees

Dieser Tümpel ist
dem Schöpfer ein Tropfen,
der Schildkröte die Welt.

*

This round pond is
a drop to the Creator,
the world to the turtle.

***

Two koi fish in bright yellow and bright orange; dark water reflecting white sky and structure of glass-houseIm schwarzen Wasser
das Spiegelspiel des Himmels,
der Blitz des Goldfischs.

*

In the black water
quivering of heavens,
lightning of a goldfish.

***

Birght red koi fish coming out from underneath curved green bridge across pondAus nachtgleichem Naß
unter der grünen Brücke
schießt der rote Fisch.

*

From the night-like wet,
from under the bright-green bridge
the red fish shoots out.

***

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013
German texts: Christina Egan © 2014
English texts: Christina Egan © 2015

December Date

December Date

The afternoon is royal blue,
Burning sparkler on black background, looking like a supernova!with tiny lights festooned,
I rush, I’m flushed, I look for you —
we never meet too soon!

The windows decked with evergreen,
with tinsel and with gold —
and there, my angel, genuine,
a candle in the cold!

Christina Egan © 2015

Photograph by Gabriel Pollard [CC BY-SA 2.5].
Featured picture on Wikimedia Commons.

Quest / Suche

Quest

The market swirls
like ocean’s foam –
The harbour bursts
to roam the blue –

Yet nothing’s real
if not dream –
And music too –
and music too!

Christina Egan © 2015Fest_des_Lebens_1970

Suche

Der Marktplatz quirlt
wie Wellenschaum –
der Hafen quillt
hinaus ins Glück –

Doch nichts ist wirklich
als der Traum –
und die Musik –
und die Musik!

Christina Egan © 2015

Very bright painting of mainly blue and red shapes on yellow.

This poem in German and English versions is dedicated to the painter Curt Echtermeyer, who for some of his work took on the pseudonym Curt Bruckner out of reverence for the composer Anton Bruckner. I hope Curt would appreciate the thought that dreams are more real than life…

Images: Das Fest des Lebens (The Feast of Life) by Curt Echtermeyer. Pastel, 1970. With thanks to Archiv Klaus Spermann.Max Ernst: Fish fight. Oil on canvas, 1917. – © Max Ernst. Distributed under FairUse at  WikiArt.

Steigt später Morgen

Steigt später Morgen

Im nackten Gehölz
am Horizont gen Osten
steigt später Morgen:
das schwächste, stillste Feuer,
der dennoch gleißende Kreis.

Christina Egan © 2015


Laub leuchtet auf

Durch die Wolken bricht
Glanz, Gleißen. Laub leuchtet auf,
rührt sich und flüstert.
Nur diesen Augenblick
haben wir, aber auf ewig.

Christina Egan © 2015


The first tanka celebrates the sunrise 
in midwinter; the second conjures up
a flare of sunshine in midsummer.

Eternity can be experienced in this life:
in the moment — and perhaps in the
moment alone.

For another experience of tranquillity 
through light and dark in midwinter, go to
In Praise of Darkness / Lob der Stille.

Arles im Winter

Arles im Winter

Die Fensterläden wie ein Farbenkasten,
kornblumenblau und flieder und türkis;
die goldnen Wände, die im Wind verblaßten,
die Gasse, die den kurzen Schnee verschlief.

Die Bogengänge wie bestickte Bänder,
die Krippenbilder wie ein Glockenspiel…
Und das Theater wechselnder Gewänder,
wo nie – seit Rom – der letzte Vorhang fiel.

Die weiche Luft am weiten Strom von Norden,
wo beißendkalter Wind bis eben blies,–
er wälzt sich meerwärts, kostet wohl schon morgen
Kornblumenblau und Flieder und Türkis!

Christina Egan © 2016

Lane with old houses, window shutters in various shades of turquoise and green.The Old Town of Arles is huddled together within the precincts of the Roman city, next to the vast River Rhône  and close to its mouth into the Mediterranean Sea – with the churches built of the stones of the temples and the houses built with the stones of the theatre.

Down the funnel of the river valley, there is a forceful and often icy wind, the Mistral; but there is also a mild wind from south, the Wind from the Sea, which may warm up the city in the midst of winter, so that you can sit in the Roman ruins…

Model village on steep hills as backdrop to a nativity scene

There are exhibitions of nativity scenes and figurines in all styles, even contemporary, at Saint-Trophime; in another mediaeval church, a whole side-chapel is filled with a model village with rocks and trees, running water and flickering fire, and hundreds of tiny local people.

I have written another poem on Arles and the Vent de la mer  in French and English. This one here may work quite well in a translation software.

Photographs: Arles. Christina Egan © 2011.

The City Lit Up

The City Lit Up

I lived between Ilex and Salix,
just north of Londinium Town,
and sometimes I climbed to the moss-well
between the oaks and looked down.

I looked at the thatch and the roof-tiles,
as red as the embers beneath,
I looked at the timber and marble,
the highways connecting the heath,

the gates, the walls and the broad bridge,
the fields afloat on the clay;
and I wondered if London would stretch
as vast as the valley one day,

Pond in park, surrounded by bare trees, with tiny island

as vast as Rome, which had risen
from marshes and slopes long ago,
with columns touching the heavens
because the gods willed it so;

and if Rome could ever be shrinking
and sinking into the bog,
or London be burning or flooding
and melting into the fog…

The city lit up in the sunset
and faded away in the dusk;
I felt the chill in the oak-wood,
and down to my villa I rushed.

I entered the gate by the willows
and strode through the dolphins’ yard,
I passed the flickering torches
and stopped by my forefathers’ hearth.

Roman mosaic of a mansion

My name was Appius Felix,
an heir to Aeneas of Troy;
I kept the seals and the idols
to pass them on to my boy.

I used the sword and the saddle,
I held the lyre and quill.
I lived between Ilex and Salix,
at the foot of the Moss-Well Hill.

Christina Egan © 2016


As you can see from the 100-metre-high summit of the Muswell Hill, London does stretch for many miles nowadays, filling the valley to both sides of the meandering River Thames.

You will also notice that there are large patches of green everywhere, some of them left over from ancient marshland and woodland. If you know your way, you can walk across London through woods and meadows, across hills and along rivers for miles!

My Roman observer lives in modern-day Wood Green or Bounds Green, near fictitious hamlets or villas called Ilex (holly or oak) and Salix (willow or osier).

This man firmly believes that gods guard his city and his country and that spirits guard his home and his family. He pursues some useful career in the service of the Empire, but he is also a bit of a poet.

I named him Appius after the statesman of the Republic who had contributed so much to Rome’s infrastructure as well as intellectual life, and Felix because he counts himself lucky.


 

You can find more on Londinium’s fortifications at Ode to London Wall  and more about its straight or winding highways at Quo vadis?

Photographs: Country villa, late Roman mosaic, Bardo Museum, Tunis. —  Pond in Tottenham, North London. Christina Egan © 2014

The First of December

The First of December

The ample, even, hand-like leaves
carelessly crumpled up by the frost
overnight,

the luscious colonies of moss
dusted with ice in the colourless light
of the day.

And we cannot deny this is still only autumn:
the yearly slow and sure descent
towards the cold.

This is the month of shrinking days,
of darkening hair and shivering skin
touched by damp.

This is the season of flickering lights,
some of them real, all of them glimmering
drops of hope.

Christina Egan © 2012