Milder Mai

Milder Mai

I.

In der weißen Marmorwanne
wartet schon ein warmes Bad:
So steht weiche Luft im Marktplatz,
füllt ihn bis zur feinsten Naht,

nimmt die Jacken von den Schultern,
von den Gliedern das Gewicht,
taucht das graue Reich des Nordens
in ein weingetöntes Licht.

II.

Lavender with fresh and wilted blossom, next to pale-golden grass.Wieder wuchert der Lavendel
halbwegs übern Gartenpfad,
birgt in prallen grünen Stengeln
seine süße lila Saat,

säumt die amethystnen Rispen
noch mit Lapislazuli,
jubiliert mit frischer Stimme
in der Sechsten Symphonie!

III.

Little tree with bright-blue blossom, next to pink and blue flowers.Wieder naht die Sonnenwende,
milder, üppiger denn je;
niemals tat so wohl das Leben,
niemals tat es mir so weh.

Selbst die losen Rosenblätter
leuchten wie ein Wolkensaum…
Und ich pflanze unter Tränen
einen himmelblauen Baum.

Christina Egan © 2014


I was thinking of sunlight like golden wine, but it might also a dusk like rosé…

The blue-blossoming tree is a ceanothus; the Sixth Symphony is Beethoven’s Pastoral.

Lavender; ceanothus. Photographs:  Christina Egan © 2016 /© 2017.

 

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City Made of Dreams / Stadt aus Träumen

City Made of Dreams

This is the city made of dreams: it knows
no end. Its splendid roads roll on and round
the bristling castles and across the mound
and down across the squares. Its fabric glows.
But right below this net of rugged ground
a second net of ample pathways flows:
the rivers and canals in sparkling bows;
below the bridges, barges go around.
I stand astounded, lost amongst the towers
and giant spires, and walk on for hours…
This is the ancient city without end.
A steep and green embankment is resounding
with laughter and guitars, with life abounding.
This is the Queen of Flanders: this is Ghent.

Christina Egan © 2018

Castle with turrets directly on high street, with life-size statues of historical figures in front.

Stadt aus Träumen

Dies ist die Stadt aus Träumen. Ihr Gehege
ist grenzenlos. Die stolzen Straßen klimmen
empor den Hügel, strömen um die Zinnen
und über Plätze, leuchtendes Gewebe.
Doch unter jenem rauhen Netz der Wege
sieht man ein zweites weites Netz sich krümmen,
Kanäle oder Flüsse glitzernd rinnen,
und Boote gleiten unter breite Stege.
Ich steh verwundert, wandere verloren
im riesenhaften Wald von Türmen, Toren…
Dies ist die Altstadt, die kein Ende kennt.
Die steile grüne Böschung hallt mir wider
vom frohen Rhythmus der Gitarrenlieder.
Dies ist die Königin von Flandern: Ghent.

Christina Egan © 2018

Bridge over river lined by ancient stone and brick buildings with steep gables.

In both languages, the poem follows the same strict sonnet form.

There are only five rhymes, placed as: abba – baab – cce – dde. The final line is linked to one other line, with both of them carrying the main message together: “This is the ancient city without end. / This is the Queen of Flanders: this is Ghent.”

There are also enjambments, particularly “it knows / no end”: unusually, a very short sentence is cut in half so that the vastness of the place is felt in the pause at the end of the line.

The verse are also full of assonances and alliterations and other sound clusters, e.g. “verwundert, wandere” and the corresponding “stand astounded”. In this way, the form of the poem corresponds to the content, a description of a web of roads and rivers and a forest of towers and battlements.

Form and content cannot be separated. This is an essay; the above is a poem!

Photographs of Ghent: Christina Egan © 2018.

Chandelier

Chandelier

At last, the air is warm again; the sky
at last gets gradually infused with light,
the clouds are dusty blue and creamy white:
the colours, too, warm up, warming the eye.
And that pale cliff of buildings, sheer and high,
gets saturated with the same delight
and holds it up against the sinking night:
this half-forgotten gentle golden dye.
And here, above the square of glittering grass,
above the blossom bursting on the trees
which trembles when the wilful spring winds pass,
there floats another sparkling tree, it seems:
a thousand particles of precious glass
struck by the grand piano’s swelling breeze.

Christina Egan © 2013

Sooft die Sonne rot

Sooft die Sonne rot

Sooft die Sonne rot
auf dem Seil des Horizontes steht
und bebt und loht
und schweigt
und steigt und steigt,
als wolle sie der Erde Angesicht entfachen,

so steht das Herz
und schaut und staunt
und schwebt
und schlägt und schlägt
und weiß: die Welt
ist ein errötendes Erwachen
und wird bald ganz in Flammen stehn…

Christina Egan © 1990

Gleam of rising sun through black web of bare branches and twigs.

 

You can get the sense of the text more or less through an automatic translation; but you would have to read it aloud in the original language in order to get the music of the language and the rhythm of the heartbeat…

 

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

 

au jour des ténèbres

au jour des ténèbres

Three tall gothic windows with modern stained galss, abstract and subdued.au jour des ténèbres
une chandelle dansait
au jour des funèbres
une fleur étincelait

à l’heure de silence
une voix m’a touché
à l’heure de souffrance
une main m’a brossé

à l’aube très lente
une étoile est surgie
dans l’âme patiente
la lueur s’élargit

comme si la souffrance
se tintait de bleu
ô douce espérance
qui baigne les yeux

Christina Egan © 2018

This poem was inspired by a French church service where the words ‘souffrance’… ‘silence’… ‘patience’… seemed to echo in the dark church on a dull Good Friday…

Windows in St Nicholas, Ghent. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2018.

Obituary (I Think I Died Last Night)

Obituary

Deep-pink rose over, bent in the snow, with pond in background.I think I died last night,
but none of you noticed.

You talk to me as if
you were talking to me!

The clocks are ticking,
the coffee is dripping…

Even the sun is smiling
while I pretend to carry on.

I was a fount of life,
never looked at, never listened to.

I was an orphan on earth.
I have to write my own obituary.

Christina Egan © 2012

Tottenham Cemetery, London.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

Yellow Fire (April Haiku)

Yellow Fire
(April Haiku)

*

Little rust-red leaves,
no, blood-red in the sunlight,
there, throbbing with life!

*

White stars are floating,
above the ancient tombstones,
on the slanting tree.

*

Little lime-green leaves
running along the hedges,
look, like yellow fire!

*

Christina Egan © 2017

Drawing of three old-fashioned spinning tops.Illustration from
‘Children’s games throughout the year’ 
(1949) by Leslie Daiken.