Brown Butterfly / Brauner Schmetterling

Brown Butterfly

 

Found, found on sandy ground:
bronze brooch from an unknown age,
bright map of an unknown land,
O quivering flower,
brown butterfly!
Where have you flown…?
Little butterfly,
your mirroring wings
are dust lifted up from the earth
and assembled to beauty of heaven.
Grace, grace beyond a name.

Bright admiral butterfly, maroon with 'eyes', on purple cone of flowers.

 Brauner Schmetterling

 

Gefunden auf sandigem Grund:
Bronzebrosche verlorener Zeiten,
bunte Karte ferner Gefilde.
Du erbebende Blume,
du bräunliche!
Wo flogst du hin…?
Schmetterling,
deine Spiegelbildflügel
sind Staub, der Erde enthoben,
gesammelt zu Himmelsschimmer.
Anmut, namenlose Anmut.

Huge tropical flower, orange and wide open, with human hand for comparison.

The shape of the poems — and their
colour — emulate those of a  butterfly.

English poem: Christina Egan © 2005. 
German poem: Christina Egan © 2017.
Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013.

Advertisements

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.

Wer schaut (Wer lauscht)

Wer schaut

Wer schaut,
sieht, wie die seltenen Wolken ziehen,
über die Firste entfliehen,
und dann, wie der Himmel blaut.
Bloß blaut.

Wer lauscht,
hört die stumme Amsel
das heiße trockene Gras durchstreifen
und den seltenen Wind sich erheben,
wie er die blühenden Büsche bauscht.

Tall purple verbena with two white butterflies, one sitting, one flying, with its wings spread out.Wer lauscht,
hört die Schwalben pfeifen
und weiß, daß die Heiterkeit
noch eine Zeit bleibt
vor dem Herbst.

Wer schaut,
sieht die Blaubeeren reifen
im selben sommersatten Rotviolett
wie das ragende Eisenkraut…
und auf dem matten Blaubeerlaub
den winzigen flatternden Schatten
und dann den wolkenweißen
Schmetterling selbst.

Wer lauscht,
schweigt
in ein leuchtendes Schweigen hinein.

Wer schaut,
begreift
und darf sein.

Christina Egan © 2018

Garden with a few colourful flowers and berries in the foreground.

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013 (butterflies) / © 2014 (garden).

A Patterned Carpet

Silk cloth dominated by vivid pinks and greens.A Patterned Carpet
(July Tanka)

A patterned carpet,
the city is unrolling
between the bus stops…
I roll it up in my eye
and send it on to a friend.

*

Fountain in round basin in park, flanked by large flowerpots

Clouds, high in the sky,
saturated with sunshine,
rapidly drifting –
like currents across oceans,
like thoughts across continents.

Christina Egan © 2012

 

 

The idea of the big city as a woven carpet is  also pursued in the German poem Geflechte.

Photographs: Silk cloth from Madagascar. © The Trustees of the British Museum. — Schloßgarten Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.

Lilac and Lime

Lilac and Lime

Vase with small but very bright flowers, mainly raspberry-pink and lemon-yellow, like fireworks, against turquoise table and turquoise sheet.It is coming at last! With the singing wood
of luminous lutes, with trumpets and drums,
in garments and feathers of lilac and lime,
of honey and rose, with stately stride,
with canter and caper, the pageant of summer
is wending its way and filling the valley
with birds and butterflies, blossom and breeze.

Christina Egan © 2008

Little tree with apple-green leaves in a park in average summerly green

For a German poem about the pageant of summer, see geh aus mein herz.

 

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013 / © 2014.