Window Seat

Window Seat

You beat me to the window seat,
Silhouette of man against tall window with curtains.the secret poets’ nest;
you watched the broad and busy street,
a highway on your quest.

You beat me to the poets’ prize,
without a rhyme or form:
you saw the faces floating by
in the approaching storm,

you caught the litter and the leaves,
the puddles and the birds
and strung them as bizarre bright beads
on your vibrating verse.

Christina Egan © 2019

The poem has its origin in a coffee bar in a busy high street in London. It was published in the Tottenham Community Press (print issue of December 2018).

The elusive poet in a window seat. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.


Bundle of daffodils in front of a wooden fence in bright sunlight.Osterglockenlied

Was soll ich jene jauchzenden Narzissen,
die sich in zartesten Zitronentönen
und vollem Apfelsinenleuchten dehnen,
die mehr als wir vom wahren Leben wissen,
mit meinen leisen Reimen nacherschaffen?
Um unauslöschlich nun sie zu entfachen:
in Flammen, die dem Blatt Papier entspringen
und Freude ringsherum zum Klingen bringen!

Christina Egan © 2015


Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

Solstice Scroll

Solstice Scroll

I break some rare and short-lived flowers,
I sacrifice some sunshine hours
for Melpomene’s altar steps.
Since Phaeton’s horses thunder higher
with ever more abundant fire,
I’ll finish ere the day-star sets.

I’ll call upon Apollo’s powers,
I’ll stand amongst the cypress towers
around my children’s hidden tomb.
I’ll write my elegy and sing it,
I’ll scroll it up, stand up and fling it
into the bright barge of the moon.

Christina Egan © 2018

Straight Roman road with ruins and trees to the left and right, in the dusk

Roman road in Carthage, Tunisia.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014

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.


(Museum moderner Kunst)

Der weiße Dämmer:
von Regenbogenfängern
mit Blüten bestückt.


Bunte Mondfische…?
Wirklicher als Wirklichkeit
hier im Tagtraumteich.


Praller Löwenzahn,
tausendfach, singt der Sonne
aus voller Kehle!

Christina Egan © 2014

Very bright painting of mainly blue and red shapes on yellow.

Illustration: Max Ernst:  Fish fight. Oil on canvas, 1917.
© Max Ernst. Digital image distributed under FairUse at

These poems were inspired by an exhibition of modernist art at the Max Ernst Museum Brühl. Germany. The bizarre and very colourful ‘moonfish’ make an appearance in the painting Mondfische (1917); I show a similar work here.

In a way, visual art is more real than reality. In Quest / Suche, I claim the same for music.

The Odd Word

The Odd Word

In this noise this dust this waste
of the traffic the toil
the relationships the part-time
part-heart commitments
the remorseless rap from the radio
the news of murder and treason the trash
worth millions of dollars the scraps
of subtle philosophy the divine
passionate percussion solos
something went missing
and the problem is
we don’t miss it.

In a café full of words and music
like lightning
somebody mentions Hölderlin
(a poet who went mad
after they had treated him
in a lunatic asylum)
and I remember his odd expression
‘the God’
odd isn’t it
must be Classical Greek
I’ll clarify that.

Christina Egan © 1998

The phrase ‘words and music’ allude to 
a poetry event where I met my partner!
At a later reading, I presented this poem.



My love, I’d so much love to give you a gift:
a kite with the face of a friendly dragon,
a goblet carved from a coconut shell,
a rocking-chair on a scarlet rug,
a house by a little lake,
a little lake,
a life –

But I have none of these things to give away:
only smiles slotted through half-open doors,
kisses smuggled on underground trains,
words typed on a cluttered screen…
only these worthless,

Christina Egan © 2008

You can find a poem shaped like a spinning top at Toys / Baskets / Bowls,
one shaped (and tinted) like a bush at By the Brittle Brown Fence,
and one shaped (and tinted) like a balloon at Red Balloon!

Schimmernder Streif

Schimmernder Streif

Ich weiß noch den Teich
zwischen Wiese und Wald,
offnem Meere und Land,
zwischen Süße und Salz,
wo die Dämmerung lang
und unsagbar weich
in den Baumwipfeln hing,
auf dem Wasser verging…

Jener silberne Teich
gleicht dem schimmernden Streif
der Musik, jenem Reich
zwischen Stille und Wort,
Empfindung und Ding,
zwischen Jenseits und Welt,
jenem Raum, der vergeht
und aufs neue ersteht…

Für Anton Bruckner

Christina Egan © 2017

This poem, like others in German and English, was inspired by one of the greatest landscapes I have seen: the strip of land called The Darß (Darss) in the south of the Baltic Sea.

The first stanza can be read as an impression of nature independently of the second, which compares it to Bruckner’s music, or indeed any music. Bruckner, in turn, is one of the greatest composers I know!



Ich bin relativ normal.

Ich trage normal verrückte Klamotten
und subventionierte Brillengestelle.
Ich prüfe mit Mühe die Reife der Avocados
und wehre mich nicht gegen Rostbratwurst.

Ich steige beinahe rechtzeitig in den Bus
und steige am richtigen Bahnhof um.
Ich sitze am Bildschirm und tippe.
Ich gieße die Dickblattgewächse im Büro.

Ich kaufe die richtigen Zeitungen
und entsorge sie ordnungsgemäß.
Ich gehe auf die richtigen Demos
und brülle ein bißchen herum.

Ich rede von Konflikt und Diskurs
und folge den Regeln der Republik.
Ich sitze am Bildschirm und tippe.
Ich gieße die Dickblattgewächse im Büro.

Ich buche das Zimmer mit Seeblick
und Reiserücktrittsversicherung,
ich recherchiere die Sonnencreme
und die regionale Sozialgeschichte.

Ich wirke normal; es gibt Zeugen.

Und die ganze Zeit, die ganze lange Zeit
lebe ich entlang der unsichtbaren Linien
auf den Fluchtpunkt deiner Gestalt,
deines Lächelns, deiner Lippen.

Als käme darauf alles an.

Ich renne den Strand entlang,
wild wie der Wellenschlag,
ich werfe deinen Namen in den Wind
mit den Schreien der Möwen.

Aber nur, wenn mich niemand hört.

Ich schreibe Verse über Sommerwolken
und Schwäne zwischen den Wellenkämmen
und Orgelklänge und Engel vielleicht
und dann noch ein paar Obdachlose.

Aber eigentlich suche ich nur dich.

Christina Egan © 2018

White sandy beach, deep blue water and sky; German beach chairs in the foreground; two swans in the surf.

The first part of the poem is a portrait of normal and politically correct behaviour: healthy diet, regular work, keeping pot-plants, recycling waste, joining in demonstrations, and so forth.

Woman standing on sandy beach, in a blue-and-white striped dress, with a heart motif on her chest.The second part reveals the inner world of the same ordinary citizen, passionate and unreasonable: secretly in love with someone far away… and writing verse about clouds and swans.

The title has a double meaning: ‘vanishing lines’ and ‘flight lines’, as in ‘escape routes’.

Beach of Świnoujście (Swinemünde) on the Baltic Sea, complete with the hooded beach chairs typical of Germany and the swans which live in the estuary. – Photographs: Christina Egan © 2017.

Diet of Dreams

Diet of Dreams

My lodgings are perched at the seams
where a canvas of cloud islands leans.
All my life I have nibbled on air,
on a breeze, on a bird chirp, a song,
on a call or a bell or a gong.
I have fed on my speech all along.
The more hope, the less room for despair…
Watching dew-drops in quivering beams,
I am used to a diet of dreams.

Christina Egan © 2006

Layer of orange clouds on blue sky







Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.