Captivity

I.

looking through the lofty glass door
I feel the faint sun on my forehead

I press my hands against the glaze of ice
I grasp the slender handle to crack it

I must lean out of it
I must step out of it

into the sparkling garden below me
into the buzzing street beyond it

I must follow the clouds to the edge of the land
I must follow the winds to the edge of the earth

 

II.

Iron railing in brick wall, like a gate without lock, with view onto green riverbank.tomorrow I will open my eyes
as if I saw the sun for the first time

tomorrow I will get up and go
as if my steps were guided and guarded

I will step out of my mind
into someone else’s mind

I will step out of my eyes
into someone else’s eyes

then I shall touch beauty
then I shall taste life

 

III.

Heavy rusty gate, decorated with swirls, with keys in lock.the summer was short
and long was the winter

I witnessed neither
I looked upon bricks

that was when I realised
how glaring lamps are and how bland

how pages are made of paper
and screens stay stubbornly flat

that was when I faded
from a flag to a shadow

I chewed on the bare bread of hope
turning sweet on my tongue

Christina Egan © 2012

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2018 / 2014.

regenbogenlied

regenbogenlied

in meinem herzen geht die sonne auf
man sieht es nicht auf meinem lebenslauf
ich bin gekettet an denselben platz
ich bin verwickelt in dieselbe hatz

doch fällt ein lächeln mir aufs angesicht
wie wenn das licht sich bunt am regen bricht
wie wenn das licht
wie wenn das licht
sich bunt am regen bricht

 

in meinem leben geht die sonne auf
ich setz es nicht auf meine karten drauf
ich pflüge weiter auf demselben feld
ich mache schulden und ich mache geld

doch fällt ein lächeln mir aufs angesicht
wie wenn das licht sich bunt am regen bricht
wie wenn das licht
wie wenn das licht
sich bunt am regen bricht

 

in meinen augen geht die sonne auf
und scheucht den nebel und den frost hinaus
die matten haare glänzen silbern auf
und kunterbunt kurvt nun mein lebenslauf

doch liegt ein lächeln mir im angesicht
wie wenn das licht sich bunt am regen bricht
wenn mein gemüt
wenn mein gemüt
sich bunt am segen bricht

Christina Egan © 2011


Is the blissful encounter which has invisibly changed a life one with another person or with God? As in Im Inneren des Regenbogens / Inside the Rainbow, it is left open.

Inside the Rainbow inspired Francis Logan to this beautiful piece of music, available on SoundCloud and YouTube:Image: Still from Inside the Rainbow on YouTube. Music and video: Francis Logan © 2018.

Do Diamonds Die?

Do Diamonds Die?

Even diamonds die.
Empires erode,
battlements decay,
skyscrapers melt.

Not so what locks
your look into my look,
my heart into your heart.
Love will live.

With or without a night
or even a day,
a confession, a vow.
Love is born love.

Diamonds have grown for us,
as rare in the vast dark soil
as stars in the fathomless void.
Heaven does happen.

Christina Egan © 2004Engraving of hot-air balloon between layer of clouds and starred sky with moon.Illustration from a children’s book of 1896.
Image provided by British Library
through Flickr.

P.S.: Reader, he married me!  ;o)

Quiet Fire

Quiet Fire

In balmy darkness
I was floating
over sand and salt,
along the garland of lights,
below the curtain of stars…

One fell.
In a flash, I thought of
my distant beloved one,
in a flood, it came back,
the impossible future.

Decorative paper, black with ripples in grey, white, purple.He, too,
had come like a shooting-star,
fair, fast, in a sweeping curve,
with careless grace,
like a message from life.

Cold is the sea now and rough,
with dullness tainted the days
and the sparkling tent of the night.
The quiet fire has passed:
the face that mattered.

Around me is autumn,
and I know that spring will return
and my youth will not.
The voice that struck me is silent;
and my heart eats death.

Christina Egan © 2012

A memory of the Mediterranean Sea, where one can swim, and swim even in after dark, even into autumn…

Decorative paper. Image provided by British Library through Flickr.

Tranquil Dragon

Tranquil Dragon

Embroidered with orange lights
are the fanned steel wings of the bridge

suspended in the summer night,
a tranquil dragon bringing luck. 

Wide is the night and warm,
like the dark wine of old and ardent love.

The sky reads the low, slow river
as my eye reads yours in a dream.

Sparkling with lights is the city,
sparkling with lights is my soul.

Christina Egan © 2003


Dragons, of course, are noble and bring luck in Chinese mythology.

I must have been thinking of Hammersmith Bridge in London.

You can read more poems about suspension bridges at On the Orange Bridge (San Francisco) and Rosenquarzkammern (Malmö).

August Night / Nur Asche zu essen

August Night

The night is short and moist and sweet,
with secret sprouting life replete…
and stark and bitter all the same.

There is no peace on golden wings,
there is no peace from silver limbs…
only a tiny steady flame.

Christina Egan © 2012


In the midst of abundant midsummer,
the narrator has not found peace — neither
through prayer or meditation nor through
the presence of a beloved person.

The following poem laments the unborn dead,
whose graves are nameless and forgotten and
who never saw the light of the sun although
angels may have taken them elsewhere…


Nur Asche zu essen

Nur Asche zu essen,
nur Lehm statt Brot,
nur Erde zu wissen:
der bitterste Tod.

Den Leib ohne Atem,
das Aug ohne Licht,
das Grab ohne Namen:
das schärfste Gericht.

Die niemals Gebornen,
fast ohne Gewicht,
von Engeln Verborgnen:
Vergesset sie nicht.

Christina Egan © 2018

August (Hell ist mein Herz) / Amseln und Schwalben

August

Hell ist mein Herz
unterm Kornblumenblau
in der Wiege der goldenen Hügel.

Steil steigt es auf
mit dem Schwalbengepfeif,
denn es reiften ihm stämmige Flügel.

Christina Egan © 2010


Written for a wedding anniversary in August.
Midsummer also stands for the middle of life
and for the fullness of life.

The next poem was written in May, when
summer is unfolding with the exultation of
blackbirds and swallows.

Double rainbow above park, with grey sky and sunlit building.

Amseln und Schwalben

Im Saum des bewimpelten Wipfels,
im Dämmer erquickenden Tröpfelns
entfalten die Amseln Voluten
von Flötentönen und Fluten
von Jubel in wechselnden Wind!

Und lauter und lauter schon pfeifen
und höher und höher schon streifen
die Schwalben in schwindende Wolken,
als warte der Morgen schon golden…
Ein Regenbogen erglimmt.

Christina Egan © 2017

Double rainbow in Lund, Sweden. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.