Kirchenkonzert / Church Concert

 


Joint 100th English and 100th German post!


Colourful ancient glass window, prophet in red hat, red shoes, green cloak.

 

Kirchenkonzert

Ein Dom mit hohen grauen Fensterscheiben
und berstend bunten um den Pfeilerreigen –
und alles, alles aus Musik!
Und unerreichbar fern, unsterblich stark
du stille dunkelblaue Gegenwart,
du mein Geheimnis, mein Geschick.

Christina Egan © 2008

 

 

Large astronomical clock with two blue and golden dials in wooden frame.Church Concert

A dance of pillars round the sacred site;
round them, tall windows, grey or burning bright –
and all is made of music, melody!
Unreachable, immortal and immense,
a tranquil deep-blue presence grows more dense:
it’s you, my secret, you, my destiny.

Christina Egan © 2017


Find more poems about the power of music at Quest / Suche  and Auf dem Purpurteppich / On the royal-purple rug.


 

There are fewer than 200 posts of poetry here, since some show parallel or similar poems in two languages (and some are in French), but almost 300 poems.


 

Prophet Hosea, window in Augsburg Cathedral, around 1100 (!). Photograph:  Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons. — Astronomical clock with carillon playing hymns (20th c.). Marienkirche, Lübeck, Germany. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

La Mer, enfin

La Mer, enfin
(Cimetière marin, Sète)

Ô vagues de vers sincères et idolâtres…
Ce vaste pan de verre d’un vert bleuâtre
Entre cieux et ombres suspendu,
Et cet essaim neigeux de tombes en marbre
Parmi les flammes géantes noires des arbres :
La Mer, enfin. J’ai vu et j’ai vécu.

Ces fleurs en bas, comme lèvres entrouvertes,
Impérissables certes, mais inertes,
Moulues de cet argile du Midi ;
Ces fleurs en haut, rosées et scintillantes,
Ces tressaillantes et minces, mais vivantes !
Le Cimetière. J’ai vu et j’ai écrit.

Christina Egan © 2016

Light-blue sky and light-green ocean in the background, white tombs in the foregrund; in the front, a flat marble slabs decorated with two large pink flowers, one in clay and one in plastic.

 

Paul Valéry’s tomb on the Cimetière marin, which has become famous through his poem. It is shown and played all day in the neighbouring art museum erected as a homage to him.

These lines are closely related to Valéry’s. The durable but lifeless flowers are of clay and plastic; the perishable but living ones blossom on the bushes around. My picture and poem were created in early January!

An automatic translation into English may convey the meaning of  my French homage to Valéry quite well — but not the music of the words!

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016

Toys / Baskets / Bowls

Toys

I
scanned
the
scattered shapes
heaped around me and picked out
the flowers and fresh fruits and fleeting clouds filled
with sun and added some slanted squares of marble and slate and
trunks of birch-trees and fashioned my finds into this
spinning-top. Just don’t ask what
it means. It’s a toy
I made for
you !

***

Baskets

The most delicately plaited words
still awkward, thick like things.
Bent over pads of paper,
the poet labours, late,
dexterous, impotent
to convey music,
silence…
peace.

Christina Egan © 2012


Roman_bowl_01_MusLon

Bowls

Like bowls of ordinary wood,
robust, adept, like workers’ tools,
these hands seem empty. Yet they are
filled to the brim, invisibly:
with jewel-like ideas the one,
the other with tranquillity.

Christina Egan © 2012

Roman bowl. Photograph from the
website of the
Museum of London.

Tâter pour une langue

Tâter pour une langue

Il me manque les mots…
Ils flottent sur les flots :
turquoise… îlots…
glaciers et glaçons…
le bateau, le ballon –
ardoise… sillage…
nuit et naufrage –
sans peindre une scène,
sans rendre une chaîne,
parure, ceinture,
magie d’écriture !
Ô langue étrangère,
étrange, passagère,
je te cherche, te chasse,
je regarde dans ma tasse –
il me manque les mots !

Christina Egan © 2016


These lines describe the struggle to write literature in a foreign language. The poet has to look into her coffee-cup for inspiration…

The sequence of words appears to be disconnected but does produce the outline of a scene or story — a vague turquoise and grey image of a dangerous voyage — which also scans and rhymes. So there is the poem!

Ich fülle das Papier

Ich fülle das Papier

Caterpillar, very bright green, with crumpled leaf and edgy stone on sand.Ich fülle das Papier
mit langen schwarzen Kringeln,
die sich von mir zu dir
wie lauter Raupen ringeln.

In Wörtern schicke ich
mein Lächeln und mein Zwinkern
und jenes Frühlingslicht
gleich hinter meinen Wimpern.

Christina Egan © 2012

I had the poem and font colour before I found the caterpillar…!
I send a lot of handwritten letters; last year, it was exactly 100!

Photograph:  Christina Egan © 2016.

Siegeskranz

Siegeskranz

Vor fünfzehnhundert Jahren,
da hab’ ich einen Kranz
aus Lorbeer und aus Ölzweig
gelöst und eingepflanzt.

Mein einst mit dunklem Lorbeer
gekröntes goldnes Haar
blieb fortan ungefeiert
und bleichte Jahr um Jahr.

Nach sieben Sommern aber
bot meine Ölbaumschar
die  bittersüßen Früchte
mit stolzem Lächeln dar.

Und Völker schwollen, ebbten,
und Rom verging in Rauch;
doch aus dem Kreis von Zweigen
entsproß noch Strauch um Strauch.

Und Bäume blühten, dorrten
und sanken in den Staub;
doch immer wieder grünte
das zähe Ölbaumlaub.

Nach fünfzehnhundert Jahren
betret’ ich einen Hain
aus silberhellen Hölzern
und spüre: Er ist mein.

Christina Egan © 2015

Olive grove, trunks and tree-tops silvery grey, like ashes.

Someone plants an olive grove towards the end of the Roman Empire, comes back to earth fifteen hundred years later — and recognises the descendants of her or his trees, which have survived the Dark Ages and are still thriving.

The narrator had taken the original olive shoots from her (more likely, his) victory garland, for instance for a poetic contest; so they could be an image for a contribution to civilisation in late antiquity which is relevant to this day.

For an English story about the end of Rome and its afterlife, go to The City Lit Up.

Photograph: ‘Olivenbäume in Umbrien’ by Adrian Michael.

Fewer Things!

Fewer Things!

We need to churn out fewer words,
we need to burn out fewer lamps,
we need to fashion fewer things,
Roman_bowl_01_MusLon
but those, of perfect elegance:

a shallow bowl with turned-out rim,
just like a pale and slender hand;
a silver ring with single stone,
as if the sky and moon descend. 

Christina Egan © 2013

Jar, elegantly curved, with brown and blue glaze.

 

Roman bowl. Photograph from the
website of the Museum of London.

See also my musings on the little
Mesopotamian jar, Glazed Clay.

Assyrian jar, glazed pottery. Photograph:
© The Trustees of the British Museum.