Silent Roads

Silent Roads
(Virus Crisis)

limpid morning
liquid noon
falling stars and
swelling moon

roaming foxes
flitting bats
passing faces
passing steps

Red houseboats amongst lush trees and blossoming meadows.real colours
newborn light
flowing hours
breathing tide

sweeping herons
floating boats
swelling meadows
silent roads

real flavour
real sound
real labour
on the ground

nimble hands and
muddy boots
curling vines and
twisting roots

real treasures
on your spade
real colours
on your plate

Tall tomb with urn on top, tilting, on old cemetery.real paper
flowing ink
time to wake and
time to think

time to sleep and
time to slow
time to weep and
time to grow

time to rise and
to rejoice
time to hoist your
real voice

Christina Egan © 2020


While London closed down to protect itself from the 2020 coronavirus, I was cut off from my job and from the internet for a while. (This blog ran on as pre-scheduled.)

I was very fortunate to spend many hours outdoors, working in my garden or walking under the countless trees and along the hidden rivers of London, and through the suburban roads, cleared at last of traffic and crowds. Spring brought splendid sunshine, as if it were already high summer.

There was time. There was air. There was life. For many who were not ill or caring for those who were ill, this must have been one of the best times of their life.


Tottenham Marshes / Tottenham Cemetery. Photographs: Christina Egan © 2020.

Pluck the Day / This Silvery Sound

Pluck the Day

Large flat flower in white and purple, with long purple stem, small orange fruit, shiny green leaves.Save time! Save time!
Spend time! Sell time!
Pile time, file time!
Fill time, kill time!

Live time…
leave time…
give time…
weave time.

Close-up of poppy flower with dew or rain on it, above other red, orange, purple, and white flowers.Pluck the hour,
pluck the day,
golden-green or
silver-grey.

Pluck time…
peel time…
suck time…
feel time.

Christina Egan © 2009


This Silvery Sound

This silvery, surging, curling sound:
the whispering leaves
of the urban trees…
O listen, O listen and look around:
the silvery greens
like a dream of the seas…
And fading away as soon as found.

Christina Egan © 2018

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2016.

Der Graben

Der Graben

Meine Kraft sinkt wie der Sand
durch das Sieb der Müdigkeit…
Zum Zerbrechen angespannt
schwankt mein langgeschwächter Leib.

Her springt niemand, denn ich zwinge
knapp mich von des Grabens Rand,
eh’ er meinen Schritt verschlinge,–
meine Not bleibt unbekannt.

Unbenannt bleibt meine Fehde
mit dem trüben Grabeshauch:
Die Gesellschaft scheut die Rede
von des Giftes stummem Lauf.

Auch mein Mut sinkt wie der Sand
durch das Sieb der Müdigkeit…
Schreite ich durchs Schattenland
ungelebter Lebenszeit.

Christina Egan © 2018

This elegy could be about drugs or 
medical drugs – or toxic substances 
in the environment.

I hold that with all our ‘progress’, we
are gradually poisoning ourselves:
a cruel collective suicide.

Erdbeerlaub

Erdbeerlaub

Sunset over English suburb: clear pale sky with one rack of red clouds above the roofs.Nach hartem Tag die stille Stunde.
Ins Gras gewaschen ist der Staub,
und ringsherum glühn rote Punkte
im wildgewordnen Erdbeerlaub.

Das Erdreich duftet nach dem Regen;
am Himmel schwebt ein roter Streif.
Wie oft doch überrascht das Leben
uns überreich und überreif!

Tall brick chimney with blackbird sitting on top.Ein jedes Walderdbeerchen leuchtet
noch einmal auf, bevor es birst
und meine Zunge süß befeuchtet…
Die Amsel flötet auf dem First.

Christina Egan © 2018

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2018.

Gedächtnisgarten zu Tottenham

Gedächtnisgarten zu Tottenham

Wie Sternennebel
schweben die schneeweißen Büsche
im Nachtgrün am Rande des Parks,
und aus dem sattschwarzen Grunde
ruft ihrer mehr herauf
das funkelnde Zepter des Mondes,
als lebte der Amsel Perlengesang
das Dunkel hindurch.

Wie übergroße Urwaldblüten
liegen in Schlaf geschmiegt
die silbernen Gänse,
erfroren geglaubte Träume
verlorengegebener Kraft.
Der Duft von überallher
ist schwer, er wiegt,
er ist wirklich.

Die Rinnen der Inschrift
im Granit des Gartentors
füllen sich langsam mit Sinn:
Garten des Friedens.

Christina Egan © 2006

High brick wall with inscription 'Garden of Peace'; iron gate with lawn and palm-trees behind.

Memorial Garden, Tottenham Cemetery. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

Bloomsbury, on the Ides of May

Bloomsbury, on the Ides of May

I will remember: it was on the Ides of May,
the light was lingering late, still bright behind
the fading curtains of clouds, ready to burst
into colourful banners; so were the buds in the parks.
Short were the shades of the columns and those of the crowds
ceaselessly weaving around the corners of concrete.
I will remember the weary assembly of tombstones,
too weathered to count as a witness, the lime-green life
pushing out from the cracks, the benches eager for laughter,
Edge of tomb, with weeds outside and insidethe birds’ unheeded, untiring, Vespers to God.
See: I lay down the unspoken secret in verse.

Christina Egan © 2007

 

 

Photograph (taken in Tottenham
in July): Christina Egan © 2013.

Blütenschnee / The Opposite of Snow

Du bist der Blütenschnee

Du bist der Blütenschnee,
du bist die Blütengischt,
die Blütengalaxie,
die mir das Glück verspricht,
die mir das Glück versprüht,–
die Frühlingssymphonie,
die nimmermehr verblüht…
Du funkelst mehr denn je!

Christina Egan © 2018


The Opposite of Snow

This sweet and heavy blossom,
white with a golden glimmer,
an incandescent glow…
Its sweet and heavy scent,
like gingerbread in summer –
the opposite of snow!

Christina Egan © 2018


The first poem compares blossom to snow, the second declares it the opposite of snow. Both could be a description of a beloved person: delightful or even delicious like gingerbread…

April (Aufquellend)

April

Aufquellend
wie Perlennester
der Vogelgesang
voller Lust.

(Eingezingelt vom Gebrüll
der Preßlufthämmer.)

Amongst high, dark, buildings, lawns, trees in blossom, and in the middle, a red doubledecker bus.Blütenwolkenweiß
und babyblättergrün
lacht das Land,
lacht die Luft.

(Aufgeschnitten in kleine Gevierte
zwischen den braunen Backsteinbauten.)

Jetzt sind Licht und Wind.
Jetzt ist Atem, endlich.
Jetzt ist das Jetzt
ein Jetzt.

Christina Egan © 2006

Park with bright green lawns and tree-tops; in the centre two trees covered in pink or white blossom.

Russel Square; Tottenham Cemetery. Photographs: Christina Egan © 2016/ © 2018.

frau (außen und innen)

frau

außen und
innen
ganz
frau

lebe ich
rund
träume ich
dunkel und
bunt
denke ich
durchdringend

ruhe ich
in mir
rufe ich
mein du
runde ich mich
um mein kind

gebäre ich
mein gedicht
berge ich
mein gebet

auch mein gesicht
ist lehm und
licht
ist ebenbild

Christina Egan © 1990

Detail of woman, with her body, clothes, and jewellery describing curves.

 

My early vision of my identity as a woman holds: centred around marriage and motherhood as well as thought and art, different from a man but absolutely equal — created from the same clay, not from a rib, and from the same spirit!

The central image is the round shape: this person is somehow round, gentle; she is rounded, balanced; bending herself around other things and other people in a natural impulse. Only her thoughts can be straight and piercing!

 

Jewellery from Lanzarote, made of lava, olivine, lapis lazuli. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

The End of Lent

Sext
(Midday prayer)

Amidst a day of darkness,
amidst a life of fight,
the pillars and the organ
build up a vault of light.

Somebody must be present
to hear the silent screams!
There’s help past understanding,
there’s hope beyond all dreams.

But where do you keep hiding?
O Lord, who has left whom?
Dispense a drop of mercy
on each of us this noon.

Christina Egan © 1998


The End of Lent

There’s more to life behind the troubled scene,
more light than mighty, timeless words can mean:
there is a truth that never lies,
a truth that fills the earth
with fragrant breath.

There’s more than we can fathom and esteem,
or ask for, seek for, need, desire, dream:
there is a love that never dies,
a love that will give birth
in very death.

Christina Egan © 1999