Enveloped in the velvet cloak of night,
I feel I have been chosen before birth
As secret queen of this enchanted earth,
Enrobed in moon and star and rainbow light.
Enveloped in this sparkling cloak of night,
Embroidered by an angel, tireless,
And lined with solid human tenderness,
I know I live and die to see the light.
I’m wrapped into this lining of the night:
Your silver beauty scooped out of the moon
And made to breathe and smile and give me room.
I hold your smooth and tapered fingers tight,
I hold your dreams to give them earth to bloom:
Around us moves the sky’s luminous loom.
Christina Egan © 2010
Under the Blue Bloom of the Tree
Under the blue bloom of the tree,
O little mouse, I buried thee.
I heard thee often run until
I saw thee lying, small and still.
So high the sky, so late the light
ascending to midsummernight…
The deep warm earth is now thy bed,
with snow-white petals for a spread.
Fresh spikes of lavender I chose
and last, a minuscule red rose.
Tonight, the ceanothus tree
will scatter sky-blue dust on thee.
Christina Egan © 2017
The mouse grave in the poem. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.
O daß der Mühlenräderlärm der Plätze
verrauschte wie ein Sommerwolkenbruch,
das grelle purzelnde Geröll der Menge
versiegte in der Großstadtstraßenschlucht,
auf daß das Flußbett sich durchwandern ließe
an Pforten, Traufen, Blumentrog vorbei
und nur die Schwalbe in die Stille stoße,
hoch, froh, mit Sichelflug und Silberschrei.
O daß die Lichterstrecken, Lichterhaufen
verblaßten wie das Nordlicht überm Meer,
auf daß die Sterne aus dem Dunkel tauchten
wie ein mit Bronze überglänztes Heer!
Christina Egan © 2017
The mythical river Sambation at the edge of the known world cannot be crossed because it is wild and full of mud and rocks — or even consists of rocks instead of water.
Here, the busy streets of a big city are experienced as a ravine full of tumbling stones, while the screech like grinding millstones; by night, the galaxies of lamplights drown the stars.
The opposite images are the quiet riverbeds of empty streets; the silent sky punctuated by the flight and cry of a swallow; and then the stars re-emerging…
This poem will be published in the German-language calendar Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019 (available from mid-August).
a flock of birds turns them into
three lines of verse.
No flowerbeds here –
but a line of bright washing
dancing in the wind!
A palm-tree appears
in the rear mirror, and huts
in the still lagoon.
Christina Egan © 2018
These haiku about haiku were written looking at three picture postcards, where I instantly perceived patterns and metaphors.
Poetry – and painting or photography – are like rear mirrors which make hidden things visible and ordinary places special.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.