The Palms and the Poet

The Palms and the Poet

Short sturdy palm-trees, their leaves being blown to one side by a strong wind; blue sky, bright lawn.The palm-trees where the poet lingers
stretch out a thousand feathery fingers
and offer sweetest dates.
The shoulder-high ones’ shining tresses
give to the passing knight caresses,
the tall ones, sprinkled shades.

They weave their silken wings together
to shield him from the weighing weather
and point him to the wells.
He seems to smile, but does not notice
the leaves nor fruits, for in his throat is
a spring of syllables.

Christina Egan © 2005

Pond with weeping willow reflected and white goose crossing.

 

Huge Harp

The weeping willow
is smiling in the sunshine,
dancing in the wind.
You sit by the pond beneath,
as if inside a huge harp.

Christina Egan © 2017

The tanka’s image of the poet beside a large harp or lyre, as if he were sitting inside, was inspired by stained-glass windows or illuminated manuscripts showing King David performing the psalms he is said to have composed.

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2014 / © 2018.

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Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen

Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen

Wie die grauen Gänse zogen
Mit dem schneegeladnen Wind
Sind die Jahre uns entflogen
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

Wie die Flocken niedertaumeln
Daß die Welt zu Weiß gerinnt
deckt die Zeit die bunten Träume
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

White rose, pink buds, hawthorns, all covered by melting snow.Stehst auch du am stillen Fenster?
Rührt der wilde Schnee auch dich?
Haschst auch du noch Luftgespinste?
Denkst auch du noch stets an mich?

Blumenflammen sind vergangen
Und die Welt wird farbenblind
Niemals hab ich dich umfangen
Niemals gab ich dir ein Kind

Wilder Schnee: ein stummes Tosen
In dem strengen reinen Wind
Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

Christina Egan © 2017

White snow melting on white roses.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

This is the first of two love songs which could stand alone or be sung by a woman and a man — from opposite ends of a stage or hall, though…

In White snow on white roses, the first person confesses she (or he) still secretly wishes they had got together a long time ago, and wonders if her friend feels the same.

In White snow on red roses, the second person reveals that he (or she), too, has longed for this relationship all along, but he never lets his friend know… not now either.

Each of them sings into the wind, into the snow… The ‘years that flew away’ like the wild geese in the first poem and the ‘late buds surprised’ by the snow in the second poem show that the pair are at a later stage of life.

If Only It Could Happen

If Only It Could Happen

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

More than a memory
There never to return
More than a fantasy
There never to be born

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

More than an accident
From sadness or despair
More than an overspend
Of pity or of care

More than a fairground ride
Of wild delight, distress
More than a mounting tide
Of wandering tenderness

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

If only it could happen
And swallow up the past
If only it could happen
As lasting as it’s fast

If only it could happen
As lasting as it’s fast

More than a flower, gay,
Unfurling just to die
More than a night, a day,
A lonesome lullaby

Woman in winter clothes waiting under lantern in sunlit lane.

If only it could happen
More happy than before
I think I’ll let it happen
Once more, oh, just once more

I think I’ll let it happen
Once more, oh, just once more

Christina Egan © 2006

Photograph: Montpellier, France, in midwinter. Christina Egan © 2010.

Spätes Wiederfinden

Spätes Wiederfinden

I.

Die strohgedeckten Hütten sind verschüttet,
und in den Säulengängen haust der Wind.
Mir ist, als spürt’ ich unter meinen Sohlen,
wo eigne Schritte eingezeichnet sind.

Ich schliff das Pflaster unter den Sandalen,
ich legte jenes Pferd ins Mosaik;
ich wurde dort am Wegesrand begraben
mit meinem Krug voll Kummer und voll Glück.

Very irregular pavement.

II.

Mir scheint, ich hätt’ schon vor Jahrhunderten
in deinen Augen wie ein Gast gewohnt.
Und wenn ich nur den Schlüssel wiederfände,
dann hätt’ auch dieses Leben sich gelohnt…

Was zählen da die wenigen Jahrzehnte,
in denen wir einander jetzt versäumt?
Ein kleiner Aufenthalt in deinen Augen
bringt, was ich in Jahrtausenden erträumt.

Christina Egan © 2011


The fifth year of this poetry blog sets off, as always, with a Roman road or another ancient road!

In the first poem, someone finds the place where they lived and died in a former existence; in the second one, they think they have also found their former love…

The location is imaginary. The three images for the former life all have to do with the earth: the feet and shoes; the mosaics in the floor; the grave by the wayside. Two of the images also refer to wandering, our wandering on earth: the soles wearing the pavement down and the horse in the mosaic. The second poem mentions the status of guest; as the psalms express it, we are all guests on earth.


Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.  International highway, Via Domitia, crossing the forum of Narbonne. I suppose this bit had been much damaged and patched up, since the Romans built entirely straight and smooth roads!