Silent Roads

Silent Roads
(Virus Crisis)

limpid morning
liquid noon
falling stars and
swelling moon

roaming foxes
flitting bats
passing faces
passing steps

Red houseboats amongst lush trees and blossoming meadows.real colours
newborn light
flowing hours
breathing tide

sweeping herons
floating boats
swelling meadows
silent roads

real flavour
real sound
real labour
on the ground

nimble hands and
muddy boots
curling vines and
twisting roots

real treasures
on your spade
real colours
on your plate

Tall tomb with urn on top, tilting, on old cemetery.real paper
flowing ink
time to wake and
time to think

time to sleep and
time to slow
time to weep and
time to grow

time to rise and
to rejoice
time to hoist your
real voice

Christina Egan © 2020


While London closed down to protect itself from the 2020 coronavirus, I was cut off from my job and from the internet for a while. (This blog ran on as pre-scheduled.)

I was very fortunate to spend many hours outdoors, working in my garden or walking under the countless trees and along the hidden rivers of London, and through the suburban roads, cleared at last of traffic and crowds. Spring brought splendid sunshine, as if it were already high summer.

There was time. There was air. There was life. For many who were not ill or caring for those who were ill, this must have been one of the best times of their life.


Tottenham Marshes / Tottenham Cemetery. Photographs: Christina Egan © 2020.

Erdbeerlaub

Erdbeerlaub

Sunset over English suburb: clear pale sky with one rack of red clouds above the roofs.Nach hartem Tag die stille Stunde.
Ins Gras gewaschen ist der Staub,
und ringsherum glühn rote Punkte
im wildgewordnen Erdbeerlaub.

Das Erdreich duftet nach dem Regen;
am Himmel schwebt ein roter Streif.
Wie oft doch überrascht das Leben
uns überreich und überreif!

Tall brick chimney with blackbird sitting on top.Ein jedes Walderdbeerchen leuchtet
noch einmal auf, bevor es birst
und meine Zunge süß befeuchtet…
Die Amsel flötet auf dem First.

Christina Egan © 2018

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2018.

Gedächtnisgarten zu Tottenham

Gedächtnisgarten zu Tottenham

Wie Sternennebel
schweben die schneeweißen Büsche
im Nachtgrün am Rande des Parks,
und aus dem sattschwarzen Grunde
ruft ihrer mehr herauf
das funkelnde Zepter des Mondes,
als lebte der Amsel Perlengesang
das Dunkel hindurch.

Wie übergroße Urwaldblüten
liegen in Schlaf geschmiegt
die silbernen Gänse,
erfroren geglaubte Träume
verlorengegebener Kraft.
Der Duft von überallher
ist schwer, er wiegt,
er ist wirklich.

Die Rinnen der Inschrift
im Granit des Gartentors
füllen sich langsam mit Sinn:
Garten des Friedens.

Christina Egan © 2006

High brick wall with inscription 'Garden of Peace'; iron gate with lawn and palm-trees behind.

Memorial Garden, Tottenham Cemetery. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

Bloomsbury, on the Ides of May

Bloomsbury, on the Ides of May

I will remember: it was on the Ides of May,
the light was lingering late, still bright behind
the fading curtains of clouds, ready to burst
into colourful banners; so were the buds in the parks.
Short were the shades of the columns and those of the crowds
ceaselessly weaving around the corners of concrete.
I will remember the weary assembly of tombstones,
too weathered to count as a witness, the lime-green life
pushing out from the cracks, the benches eager for laughter,
Edge of tomb, with weeds outside and insidethe birds’ unheeded, untiring, Vespers to God.
See: I lay down the unspoken secret in verse.

Christina Egan © 2007

 

 

Photograph (taken in Tottenham
in July): Christina Egan © 2013.

Blütenschnee / The Opposite of Snow

Du bist der Blütenschnee

Du bist der Blütenschnee,
du bist die Blütengischt,
die Blütengalaxie,
die mir das Glück verspricht,
die mir das Glück versprüht,–
die Frühlingssymphonie,
die nimmermehr verblüht…
Du funkelst mehr denn je!

Christina Egan © 2018


The Opposite of Snow

This sweet and heavy blossom,
white with a golden glimmer,
an incandescent glow…
Its sweet and heavy scent,
like gingerbread in summer –
the opposite of snow!

Christina Egan © 2018


The first poem compares blossom to snow, the second declares it the opposite of snow. Both could be a description of a beloved person: delightful or even delicious like gingerbread…

April (Aufquellend)

April

Aufquellend
wie Perlennester
der Vogelgesang
voller Lust.

(Eingezingelt vom Gebrüll
der Preßlufthämmer.)

Amongst high, dark, buildings, lawns, trees in blossom, and in the middle, a red doubledecker bus.Blütenwolkenweiß
und babyblättergrün
lacht das Land,
lacht die Luft.

(Aufgeschnitten in kleine Gevierte
zwischen den braunen Backsteinbauten.)

Jetzt sind Licht und Wind.
Jetzt ist Atem, endlich.
Jetzt ist das Jetzt
ein Jetzt.

Christina Egan © 2006

Park with bright green lawns and tree-tops; in the centre two trees covered in pink or white blossom.

Russel Square; Tottenham Cemetery. Photographs: Christina Egan © 2016/ © 2018.

La table jaune

La table jaune

La table jaune limpide,
couleur de tournesol,
Table surface of bright yellow mosaic, with café chairs on the grass, sunlit.m’invite dans l’oasis
au cœur des plaines arides,
parmi palmiers et roses
en fleur sans fin, sans pause :
i
l met l’esprit au vol
vers les sommets saphir,
vers le soleil couchant,
mais fort même au nadir…

La table tournesol
est un tapis volant !
M
ais il me manque le mot
qui le transforme, le pose
carrément aux epaules
des vents comme un radeau…
Ô table jaune et rouge,
écoute-moi et bouge,
transporte-moi aux flots
de l’air vers l’horizon !

Christina Egan © 2016

The yellow table in the oasis becomes a flying carpet: it lifts the mind up towards the high mountains. Yet, to lift the body up also, it requires a password, and we do not have it!

The rose garden is set in a country where the sun is strong even towards evening or in midwinter, and where roses are always in blossom in abundance: I found it in Morocco.

Photograph: Roadside café in Morocco in midwinter. Christina Egan © 2012.

 

Children of the sun and moon

Children of the sun and moon

When we drift through ink-blue dusk
under the twigs of moon-white blossom,
under the crystal orbs of street-lamps,
under the shadeless signals of neon,

when we slide across concrete squares
and sail around sharp and rounded corners,
restless and vigorous, at home in the dark,
at home in the city, nocturnal birds,

we know deep down that we are still
children of the sun and moon:
the sun must rise in our eyes,
the moon must rise in our brain;

we must admit that we are still
children of the earth and sky:
the spring must rise in our bones,
the stars must rise in our veins.

Christina Egan © 2016

Osterglockenlied

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.

Curling Up

Curling Up

I’m curling up
against the cold
against the world

its random roar
its lazy contempt
its glacial loneliness

Buds and fresh leaves on top of shoots above a parkI’m curling up
with the sky in my mind
and the sun in my heart

around a seed
already unfurling
and then: uncurling

Christina Egan © 2014

 

I am at Home in the Darkness

I.

I am at home in the darkness.
At least, dreams shine more brightly here,
lanterns among phantoms,
gold grains in the drifting sand.

Only my dreams
are real,
are true.

II.Passionflower with bee, colours inverted to create psychedelic purple structure.

All those who wish to die
crave for life, life, lost
in this cavern of wandering shades,
crazed by the thirst for a garden.

Only those who wish to die
are aware,
are alive.

Christina Egan © 2014

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2014 / 2016.


I assume that very, very often when someone feels they want to die or are about to die, they are simply physically unwell — or simply overtired — or simply literally in the dark. If this insight informed our science and our society, we could manage our lives so much better.

The date these three poems were written is significant: it was mid-February, which is when I (like everyone in the northern hemisphere) feels the dark and cold most bitterly, because halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox, the various reserves of our bodies are dangerously low. From late February on, things get better, and this is not a mental phenomenon (little flowers can, after all, not cure leaden fatigue) but a physical fact.