As Limpid as the Moon / Alabasterschale

As Limpid as the Moon

Some people are as luminous,
as limpid as the moon:
with truthfulness amidst the lies
or happiness in gloom.

They float and glow across the road
or mesmerise a room;
they never fade, and when they’ve died,
they leave a shining tomb.

Christina Egan © 2016


Alabasterschale

Überm schwarzen Heer der Bäume,
überm grauen Heer der Gräber
ruft durch dunkelblaue Räume
eine Glocke unbeirrt.
Balanciert auf spitzem Pfahle,
schimmert ferne feingeädert
eine Alabasterschale:
fremdes riesiges Gestirn.

Überm schwarzen Heer der Bäume,
blätterlos und blütenträchtig,
überm grauen Heer der Steine
lädt die Glocke zum Gebet.
Überm hingestreckten Tale
steigt gemessen, schlicht und prächtig,
jene Alabasterschale,
bis sich uns das Herz erhebt.

Christina Egan © 2017


As Limpid as the Moon remembers my radiant parents-in-law.

Alabasterschale compares the full moon to a bowl of alabaster; the scene is the vast old Tottenham Cemetery in London. The poem integrates awe before Nature and faith in God (as worshipped in church etc.).

This text will be printed in the Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019.

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Ex tenebris (The day is like a daffodil)

Ex tenebris

The day is like a daffodil. Yet
the green garland of the garden,
the golden garland of the sunset
cannot dispel the dark of the depth.

On the crests of the hills,
tiny blue brushstrokes,
you can watch them wander,
the deceased and the unborn.

My heart is a fist in my chest.
My tears are grapes of glass.
No one sees them: no one sees me.
I am alone with the angels.

Christina Egan © 2017

Daffodils and narcissus growing thickly around a fivefold gnarled treetrunk.Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

weiße borke / Roof-Top Sculpture

weiße borke

rasch zogen weiße wolken hin
im tanz von sonne regen schnee
und weiße wolken hingen tief
mit zarten düften im geäst
als ich noch beinah winterschlief

ich gähnte und ich dehnte mich
und rührte plötzlich wie im traum
an einen kleinen toten baum
der hinter mir im winde stand
mit einer borke weiß wie schnee

ein birkenschößling manneshoch
den man einst pflanzte und vergaß
in einem kübel ohne raum
um seine füße wogte gras
und unkraut voller übermut

die blanken zweige ohne grün
die weiße borke ohne schrift
minutenlang im rampenlicht
blendende botschaft ohne wort
die ich alleine schweigend las

die tote birke tat mir weh
geschöpf das langsam nur verdorrt
dann nahm ich einen kleinen stift
und schrieb ihr diese elegie.
denn schönheit stirbt und schwindet nie.

Christina Egan © 2016

Slim dead tree trunks, brown and white, with thick weeds and a narcissus around the bottom, all in a large box.

Roof-Top Sculpture

Tall slender trunks with silver bark,
pale crinkled copper-gold the leaves:
it is a sculpture, spectral, stark,
the haunting beauty of dead trees,
of roof-top birches left to die
when no one heard their silent cry.

Christina Egan © 2015

 

Photograph: Dead trees with white narcissus flower. Christina Egan © 2015

traurige ernte / Funkenschlag

traurige ernte

purpurn häufen sich die trauben
äpfel rollen dick und gelb
unter meinen müden augen
neben meinem armen feld

unerwidert bleibt mein lächeln
meine tränen ungezählt
unbedeutend rinnt mein leben
und ich sterbe unvermählt

Christina Egan © 2011


Funkenschlag

Ich habe spät beim Wein gesessen
und in die Nacht hinausgedacht:
Ich werde ohne Erben sterben;
was hat mein Leben ausgemacht?

Ich habe nicht umsonst gelitten,
ich habe nicht umsonst gelacht:
Der Funkenschlag geschliff’ner Worte
hat oft schon Flammensprung entfacht.

Christina Egan © 2009


The first person is dejected in the belief that his or her life has not been fruitful; they feel lonely and poor, not necessarily in material terms. The second person is convinced that he or she has not  lived and suffered in vain: they made a difference through their words.

That successful person could be a politician or a novelist, for instance; but it does not matter, because everyone has made a difference to the world and has been irreplaceable. Our heirs are those who inherit our lives, whether in  money, property, things or in achievements, inventions, ideas.

The Ice-cream Van is Coming

The Ice-cream Van is Coming

(Nice, Bastille Day 2016)

The ice-cream van is coming
It’s huge and fast and white
And filled with little portions
Of summerly delight

The ice-cream van is coming
It’s driving round the bend
Along the cheerful sea-front
Towards the feast-day’s end

The pretty bunting’s dancing
The solemn banners too
The fireworks are sparkling
Above the silver moon!

The ice-cream van is coming
It’s huge and fast and white
Dispersing now at random
Its freight into the night

It hisses metal bullets
An evil dragon’s breath
A sinister last drumroll
A fireworks of death

The ice-cream van is coming
It’s huge and fast and white
A giant metal bullet
Right into Europe’s side

A land of stone has brandished
The whip of slavery
Against the joy of living
The land of liberty

It will now stand up stronger
In grief and unity
It will now last yet longer
In joy and liberty

Christina Egan © 2016

Vive la France !
Vive l’Europe !
Vive la Liberté !

Motionless Fire

Motionless Fire
(May Tanka)

Small azalea bush with lurid pink blossom, amongst lush feathery nigella leaves.

 

A motionless fire,
the azalea unfolds, flares,
and slowly burns out.
From the mud it wrestles force,
colour, and returns to mud.

*

 

Small azalea bush with brownish wilted blossom, amongst lush green nigella with feathery leaves and blue flowers.

Pink snowflakes drifting?
Forgotten miracle of
the cherry blossom!
Every spring, the petals sail
into death so serenely…

 

Christina Egan © 2016


 

Photographs: Pink azalea.
Christina Egan © 2016/2017.

Suburban traffic jam / Vorstadtstau

Suburban traffic jam

It’s raining, the traffic is creeping,
the morning is seeping away…
The bus windows seem to be weeping
at boundless suburban grey.

Yet should a grenade or a comet
now strike us, as if to sift –
I’d meet my death as a poet,
I’ve smiled and I’ve breathed and I’ve lived!

Christina Egan © 2015


Vorstadtstau

Es regnet… Minuten verrinnen
im Vorstadtstau, Stoßzeitstau…
Die Autobusfenster verschwimmen
im uferlos traurigen Grau.

Und sollte der Tod uns jetzt lichten
– Granate oder Komet –
so hab’ ich gelächelt, gedichtet,
so hab’ ich geatmet, gelebt!

Christina Egan © 2015


These thoughts came to me on a bus near the spot in London where a man was shot dead by gangsters in 2015; no one has been charged with the crime. In 2016, another man was shot dead nearby by police. Later that year, another man was stabbed to death just down the road, near Wood Green Station.

Moreover, many terrorist attacks have happened in Europe, and many more have been prevented in London alone; but more are bound to afflict us.