Ripples of People

Ripples of People
(Spring Equinox)

*

Ripples of people,
uneven waves, sudden whirls,
fast currents of cars:
a wayward river within
a canyon of grand buildings.

*

These neat white windows,
row upon row, road after road,
a thousand eyes
trying to catch light, praying
to touch the feeble sunset.

*

Christina Egan © 2013

Busy junction in the dusk, with red and yellow lamps of cars and buses glaring.

These tanka were written in Knightsbridge, London,
in the last days of March — after equinox! —
when after months of dull and dark skies,
you may still be desperate for light and warmth.
For similar poems in German, see Alles drängt vorwärts.

Photograph: Deptford Broadway, London.
Michael Oakes © 2016

Friday in Lent

Friday in Lent

Friday morning.
The city is busy and tired
under the closely curtained sky.

The headlines shout out:
Things fall apart,
trains, towns,
countries, couples.

Life hurts.

The day is a prison, a lenient one,
with gardens and books as windows
and magical messages beamed onto screens,
with the freedom of speech
and the purple pursuit of the heavens.

Christina Egan © 2001


Purple is the colour of Lent, representing suffering; you will find churches decorated —and their statues covered up — with purple fabrics. Purple (violet, lilac, mauve) is a slightly melancholy colour, but it also has dreamlike and spiritual qualities. My ‘purple pursuit’ has all these shades of meaning; ‘the heavens’ could refer to religious faith or simply to a decent and fulfilled life on earth, as in ‘Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’.

Friday is the time when Christians remember Jesus’ passion and keep some fasting, a miniature Lent within each week… or at least the time when they do remember their faith during Lent. The positive messages on your screen could come from a friend — or from God, if you believe in Scriptures!

For a German and English poem about Lent, go to Fastenzeit / Lent.

Le tesson / The Shard

Le tesson

En février givré, je fouille
les feuilles mortes pour des fleurs
modestes et fortes et courageuses :
soldats contre la froideur

ou des pierres précieuses
éparpillées en bas, fragments
pâlis de la Cité Céleste
que quelques éblouis attestent.

Parfois, une sphère lumineuse
me frappe, vive mais tranquille :
plutôt que le premier bouton
ton œil est le tesson qui brille.

Christina Egan © 2017

A pair of mauve crocusses, wide open, in bright sunlight, with honey-bee hovering above.

The Shard

In frosty February, I scour
decaying leaves for the first flower:
some modest soldiers, strong and bold
against the kingdom of the cold,

or precious stones on muddy ground,
some faded fragments of the round
of Heavenly Jerusalem,
that dazzling more-than-real realm.

At times a circle full of light,
as calm as lively, strikes my sight:
but rather than spring’s early guard
your eye is the resplendent shard.

Christina Egan © 2017


For a German and English parallel poem about the first spring flowers, go to my previous post, King Spring / König Frühjahr.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.
Crocusses with honey-bee, captured in London in mid-February!

Mitte Februar / Schnee über Nacht

Mitte Februar

Die Welt hat allen Glanz verloren
wie eine ganz verwelkte Frau.
Am Himmel Wolken, Schnee am Boden –
ein Leichentuch von blassem Grau.

Dahinter kämpft mit langem Atem
das fern verbannte Feuerrund:
Unmerklich schmelzen schon die Schatten,
und Farbe braut im Untergrund.

Die schwarzen Zweige sind lebendig,
das nasse Moos voll neuem Saft,
und das ermattete Gelände
wird auferstehn mit satter Kraft.

Christina Egan © 2012


 

Schnee über Nacht

Der Schnee hat wie ein Federbett
die kahle Erde zugedeckt,
begräbt die Schuld,
begräbt den Schmerz
in Gottes gnädiger Geduld,
in Gottes unbegrenztem Herz.

Christina Egan © 2012


Mitte Februar was published in the Rhönkalender 2015 (entitled Ende Februar). The 2017 calendar includes three poems by me and is still available.

Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars

The darker the night,
the stronger the stars,
the fiercer the fight
of Venus and Mars.

They fight not each other
but darkness and cold,
they each hold a banner
embroidered with gold.

The later the hour,
the likelier dawn,
with fire and flower
in splendour reborn!

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem takes up my thoughts about the elements in the previous post: here, the male and female principles are involved in a common struggle rather than a struggle against each other.

‘Dawn’ refers to the dawn of the new year in early spring as much as to the time of the day; and springtime is even more unpredictable than daylight, precisely in a northern country.

Warten ist der Winter

Warten ist der Winter

Warten ist der Winter, Warten
auf den endlich wieder starken
Glanz, der sanft ins Leben küßt,
was vor Gram verblichen ist.

Einsam ist der kleine Garten,
während Garben aller Farben
unter altem Laub und Moos
schlummern im verdorrten Schoß.

Hilflos ist das lange Darben
für den unbemerkten Garten:
hilflos, doch nicht hoffnungslos,
denn der Himmel ist sein Trost.

Christina Egan © 2012