Triumphboot des Sommers

Triumphboot des Sommers
(Chateau de Chillon, Genfersee)

Gesättigt mit Licht
der Spiegel des Sees,
die Glocke des Tals,
der lange Nachmittag
letzter Frische
vor dem bronzenen Sommer.

Hingeschüttet das ganze Geschmeide
der Erde von unter den Wurzeln,
schimmernde Schuppen
auf der Schlange Landes
zwischen Bucht und Gebirg.

Blondes seidiges Licht
fällt in die Fenster der Burg,
tief hinein ins Verlies,
reicht an den rohen Fels;
tastende Fingerkuppen
wärmen die toten Kamine,
die fernen Wände der Säle,
rufen verblichene Sänger herauf
zum zeitlosen Tanz.

Am anderen Ufer
ragen reglos die Segel
der senkrechten Felsen,
bewimpelt mit Wolken,
Triumphboot des Sommers.

Die Stunde der Sonnwende schlägt,
unhörbar,
unumkehrbar,
unzerstörbar.

Christina Egan © 2001


‘Triumphal Barge of Summer’ may work in a translation software. It is a memory of Lac Leman, a vast lake between towering mountains, around summer solstice. One of the most beautiful days of my life!

On the Volcano’s Rim

On the Volcano’s Rim

Goldstaub
(Lanzarote)

Hoher blauer Himmel,
weißer Wolkenflug,
ungestüme Winde,
rascher Schattenzug

über rote Halden,
über graue Höhn,
über grüne Matten,
wo schon Sterne stehn:

abertausend Blüten
wie ein Frühlingslied,
Goldstaub, den die Sonne
aus dem Erdreich zieht!

Christina Egan © 2015

Gold Dust
(Lanzarote)

Blue sky, ever higher,
white clouds in full flight,
winds wilful and forceful,
swift change of the light

across the red boulders,
across the grey height,
across the green lichen,
where stars tremble bright:

a flourish of flowers
and spring in a splash,
the gold dust the sun
can draw out of the ash!

Christina Egan © 2015

Dreaming Dragon
(Lanzarote)

Dew-drops sparkling in all colours
on the mighty coal-black craggy
shoulder of a dreaming dragon:
so these tiny tender flowers
perch on the volcano’s terrace –
fire, earth and wind distilled
to a dainty dotted quilt.

Ceaseless gales and sleepless fire,
ashes fed with salty dew –
ocean and volcano brew
flora’s early, lacy layer,
magic carpet in the air,
in the boundless brown and blue…
Dreams are real. Dreams come true.

Christina Egan © 2015

The Hoard
(Lanzarote)

As the mountain bears the flower,
as the giant holds the gem,
so the hour bears my poem:
purple speck on silver stem.

Where a myriad wild flowers
sprout behind the dry-stone wall,
I must gather all my powers
till the heavens hear my call.

Christina Egan © 2015

Valentine on the Volcano
(Lanzarote)

We dance on the volcano’s rim –
although its low and sunken side,
although extinct for centuries –
tossed partly by the wild wind’s whim
and partly drunk with liquid life –
suspended over sky-blue seas!
(I found my love above Teguise!)

Christina Egan © 2015

Plain and mountain range with very dark surfaces, rosy clouds in sky

The little volcano. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2015

These lines all sprang from one of the greatest experiences of my life: climbing a little volcano on the isle of Lanzarote, about which you can find a poetic description in German and English at Isle of Bliss / Insel der Seligkeit.

Gold Dust and The Hoard could equally be set in my native Rhön Mountains, also of volcanic origin, but very far inland and much greener.

The three poems in English only may work quite well in an automatic translator. The first two poems are translations of each other, or rather, parallel creations in German and English, where rhythm and rhyme required some changes in wording. It is better to do it this way, since the message is partly conveyed by rhythm and rhyme!

You could leave out the line in brackets to use the poem for a Valentine’s or anniversary card. Copy that line, though, into your list of places to see — both little towns, Teguise and Costa Teguise, because one has got the history and the other one the beach!

This handful of poems almost sums up my work: they describe plants and mountains and the sea; they refer to most basic colours; conclude with thoughts on art and religion and love; and use the beauty of language to capture the beauty of the world.

Buchenland / Heimaterde

Buchenland

Schon der Frühherbst
Schüttet Nebel aus
Über die Hügel hin
Haufenweis.

So verschwimmt mir der Pfad
Bevor noch die Buchen brennen
Und die stolzen Wiesen vergehn
Zu lustlosem Staub.

Doch unterm zerklüfteten Fels
Sitzt sommersatt das Moos
Blüht mondhell die Distel
Aufs Geheiß verborgener Geister.

Christina Egan © 2013

heimaterde

unter der haut
schimmert sie durch
die rote krume
der ich entwuchs

hinter den augen
blinzelt es vor
das urgestein
schwarz und gewaltig

unter dem haar
wirbeln sie hoch
nebel und wind
die mich umfingen

unter der zunge
schlummert sie noch
die fruchtbare sprache
die mich entfachte

Christina Egan © 2013

The first poem describes an autumnal landscape with trees in flaming colours and fog drifting in the dales. The name, Land of Beech Trees, stems from the times when most of Germany was covered by dense forests.

Nature appears as animate, sentient, and even spiritual: the meadow is proud and the moss content, while hidden spirits command a thistle to blossom bright as the moon.

The second poem reminds us that our bodies are made of the world around us — the air and water, the earth and its fruit, the flesh and bone of our ancestors while our minds are moulded by the language of our parents and ancestors.

The speaker imagines that red soil shines through his or her cheeks and black rock blinks through her pupils, while her hair is softened by thick fog and tousled by rough wind.

526px-Carlina_acaulis_160907These words were inspired by the landscape and climate of the Rhön Mountains in Germany.

Their symbol is a rare wildflower, the silver thistle.

Photograph: „Carlina acaulis 160907“
by Bernd Haynold via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Auf den Höhen der Rhön

Auf den Höhen der Rhön
(Juli-Haiku)

*

Mit blauen Blumen
bestickt, bläht sich das goldne Korn,
ein Tanzgewand.

*

Auf dem Kiefernduft
gleitet der Habicht dahin
hoch über den Höhn.

*

Die Kuppen im Dunst,
ein perlgrauer Scherenschnitt
vorm Silberhimmel.

*

Im kupfernen Laub
ganze Quader von Jade:
bemooste Felsen.

*

Christina Egan © 2003

The Rhön Mountains, part of the Central Uplands of Germany, stand out through their wild and austere beauty. – This series of haiku has just been published in the photo calendar Rhönkalender 2016.

English speakers: This text, titled On the heights of the Rhön, works quite well in a translation software. You can also see two wonderful panoramas of the mountains at the link to the calendar and some more on Wikipedia.

Silhouette of low silver-blue mountain range against silver-blue sky, just like in the poem.

Photograph: “Kegelspiel” by N8mahl at the German language Wikipedia.