Tiefgelb / Tieftürkis

Colour wheel with 18th century labels: clockwise from yellow over red to blue and green; one purple field has paled to pink.Tiefgelb

Die tiefgelbe Blume vor wollweißer Wand,
die frohrosa Büschel vor lehmbraunem Zaun,
der vollblaue Tag über kraftgrünem Land –
der rundbunte Sommer, ein tiefgelber Traum!

Christina Egan © 2016


Tieftürkis

Tieftürkis und lässig prächtig,
sonnensatt und sonnenträchtig
steht der Horizont noch spät.
Schwarze Flammen, schwanken Bäume,
stumm gestaltgewordne Träume,
wenn der wirre Nachtwind weht.

Liegt die Erde endlich nächtig,
scheint der Himmel übermächtig,
unerschöpfter Helle Quell.
Alle Sehnsucht kann noch fruchten
in verborgnen Gartenfluchten
oder einer höhern Welt.

Christina Egan © 2017


Colour adjectives develop only very slowly in languages all over the world. There are still not nearly enough! I don’t see why in German, we have the words ‘deep red’ and ‘deep blue’ — written as one word, even — but no ‘deep yellow’ or ‘deep turquoise’; so I am introducing them. I also made up a number of unusual descriptors for the first poem, leading up to the internally rhyming ‘rundbunt’ for multi-coloured in all colours of the earth or of the colour wheel.

Colour wheel with 18th century labels: clockwise from yellow over red to blue and green; one purple field has paled to pink.

 

Image: Arnoldus Lobedanius, Utrecht, 1744. (One purple field must have paled to pink.)

Reproduced with kind permission of the Library of Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule Köln).

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Snow-White Patches

Snow-White Patches
(July Tanka)

Daisies, buttercups,
scattered across the lush green
like two galaxies:
humble, ephemeral and
full of the glory of God.

*

Those snow-white patches,
patterns on the lawn, the mulch:
hortensia flowers,
as if cut out from the world
of colours and of motion.

Christina Egan © 2012


Waterlilies with half-open luminous pink and white flowers.

These poems describe the world as an ensemble of patterns. They also try to make sense of the world, and perhaps the act of discovering order also unveils meaning…

Something tiny resembles something gigantic, the whole of the known world, in fact. Something white appears as a hole or an island in the colourful picture: like a shadow of death or a gate to eternity.

 

Cactus seen from above, with two star-like flowers bigger than the body of the cactusThe line ‘full of the glory of God’ was inspired by the verse ‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God‘ by Gerald Manley Hopkins.

You can truly ‘see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wild flower’, as William Blake claimed!

Photographs: Water-lilies. Liu Ye (Ye Liu) © 2016. — Queen of the night. Christina Egan © 2014.

Silver Vein

Silver Vein

The curves of your step and your hand
leave a feathery trail in the air,
leave a flickering trace in my heart.

It’s a script you can’t see,
it’s a script I can’t read,
it’s a glittering vein on the earth.

That you weigh your weight,
that your flesh fills space,
that you radiate warmth

is a wonder to me,
a wealth of amazement,
a maze of desire.

Christina Egan © 2006

gedichte über blumen

gedichte über blumen

Buds and fresh leaves on top of shoots above a parkein jeder blumenkranz
ein jedes sommerlied

jede hochgemute knospe
ja jeder nadelfeine halm

ist eine kriegserklärung
an den krieg

Close-up of poppy flower with dew or rain on it, above other red, orange, purple, and white flowers.

eine nichtigkeitserklärung
des nichts

eine liebeserklärung
an die liebe

an alle
ans all

Christina Egan © 2014

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2014 / 2016.


My insistence on writing poems about flowers is a reaction to Bertolt Brecht’s often-quoted suggestion that a conversation about trees borders on criminal negligence because it is silent about atrocities. In the poem An die Nachgeborenen from the 1930’s he exclaims:

“Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein Verbrechen ist
Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten einschließt!”

Brecht’s idea is  startling and ingenious; but I hold that all praise of a flower or a bud is a praise of life and peace: ‘a declaration of war / against War… a declaration of love / to Love.’

Also, if you have read a few of my poems, you will have noticed that they do not describe flowers and trees alone, but use them as images for human life and joy, suffering and death. ‘Poems about flowers’ has 35 words — but amongst them are ‘nothingness’ and ‘the universe’!