Schläft ein Lied / Sleeping Choir

Schläft ein Lied von tausend Zungen

Schläft ein Lied von tausend Zungen
im geweihten Marmorrund;
und der Stein hebt an zu schwingen,
wenn die Orgel perlt und summt,
und der Stein hebt an zu klingen,
wenn die Orgel schwillt und braust –
Wird das Herz vom Ruf durchdrungen
und der Leib in Glanz getaucht.

Christina Egan © 2017


Sleeping Choir

Sleeping in the marble round
choir of a thousand tongues;
and the stone vibrates and hums,
when the organ wakes to sound,
and the stone pulsates and sings,
when the organ swells and roars –
In your heart the message soars,
steeped in splendour are your limbs.

Christina Egan © 2018


This poem is developed from a key verse of German Romanticism. Joseph von Eichendorff (popular to this day and one of my favourite poets) imagines the world dreaming and a song slumbering within; you need to find the magical word to awaken them.

Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen,
Die da träumen fort und fort,
Und die Welt hebt an zu singen,
Triffst du nur das Zauberwort.

Joseph von Eichendorff

The lines were also inspired by a Pentecost service at Notre Dame de France at Leicester Square in London: when the organ plays at a high volume, its circular walls — not really marble, but snow-white — seem to vibrate and sing around the visitor.

The German version of this poem will be published in the calendar Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019 (available from mid-August).

Photograph: Catholic church Stella Maris, Binz on the Isle of Rügen, Germany. Christina Egan © 2016.

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Inside the Rainbow

Please note the video Inside the Rainbow  by Francis Logan which was inspired by my verse on this internet site!

Im Inneren des Regenbogens describes a mesmerising encounter inside the rainbow of stained-glass windows — with a person or with God… The composer interpretes it as an encounter with Jesus, who is both a person and God himself; but you need not share this faith to be stirred by these sounds of celestial harmony.

You will find the entire text in English below. Please pass on Francis Logan’s beautiful music: tranquil and transcendent… Image: Still from Inside the Rainbow on YouTube. Music and video: Francis Logan © 2018. Also available on SoundCloud.


Inside the Rainbow

Inside the rainbow
In the glimmer of the glass windows
In the waterfall of grace
In the antechamber of the sky

I saw you
I felt you
I held you
I recognized you

In a luminous joy
In a sparkling silence
In a durable moment
In a house of light

Christina Egan © 2018

La veille / Nightwatch

La veille

Quelqu’un compte pour nous
les heures sans sommeil,
quelqu’un garde pour nous
les fleurs sans pareil.

Quelqu’un compte toujours
les larmes sans oreille,
quelqu’un garde toujours
les charmes de la veille…

Christina Egan © 2012

Huge liturgical book with very large writing and music, richly illuminated

Nightwatch

Someone counts, rest assured,
inconsolable hours,
keeps all prayers secured,
incomparable flowers.

Someone counts day and night
tears unseen and unheard,
guards the circle of light
round a mind deeply stirred…

Christina Egan © 2016


I was thinking of angels or saints when I wrote these lines (twice, in French and in English); other humans might prefer to think of spirits or the only God. I hope there is no one on earth who has no comfort of this sort at all!


Photograph by ignis, via Wikimedia Commons [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0  or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0].

Auf dem Purpurteppich / Royal Purple Rug

Passionflower with bee, colours inverted to create psychedelic purple structure.Auf dem Purpurteppich der Musik

Auf dem Purpurteppich der Musik,
dichtbepflanzt mit immergoldnen Ranken
und mit himmelfarbner Saat bestickt,
flieg’ ich ohne Angst und ohne Schranken!

Denn der Purpurteppich der Musik
trägt uns mächtiger als die Gedanken
über Wogen, Wolken und zurück,
löst uns Leib wie Geist von allen Banden…

Christina Egan © 2014

 

Passionflower, colours inverted to psychedelic purple tones.On the Royal Purple Rug of Music

On the royal purple rug of music,
thick with tendrils, ever-golden, high,
strewn with seeds the colour of the sky,
limitlessly, fearlessly, I fly!

For the royal purple rug of music
raises us, more powerful than thought,
carries us away, aloft, abroad,
frees both mind and body, frail and fraught…

Christina Egan © 2017


You can find another poem about the incomparable power of music at Quest / Suche  (in English and German). Music is not disembodied; it is palpable and all-pervading.

When I described music as a flying carpet, I was thinking of the deep red of oriental rugs, which in German is called ‘purple’; but the English idea of a lilac ‘purple’ is also very appropriate for music.

Photographs: Passionflower with bee; Passionflower with fruit; colours inverted. Christina Egan © 2016.

Three Stars / Drei Sterne

Three Stars

Three stars in the sky…
Three lines only to tell you
all my hopes for us.

*

Sneeze

Your sweet face – a sneeze –
as sudden and explosive
as your sweet haiku.

Christina Egan © 2013

Stamp with bright artistic impression of spaceship flying between planets and stars.

Drei Sterne

Drei Sterne am Himmel…
Drei Zeilen für dich, für
all meine Hoffnung.

*

Nieser

Dein liebes Gesicht
– ein Nieser – plötzlich, heftig
,
wie deine Haikus!

Christina Egan © 2016


A haiku is a Japanese poetic form; each poem has only three lines and seventeen syllables, which amounts sometimes to only a dozen words, even with a title. Yet you can say a lot in three lines… The word game is more difficult in German than in English, since the words are longer; translation can be a challenge.

A traditional haiku starts with an image from nature indicating the season; you will see on my haiku pages that I largely follow this rule. These here are different: one is simply romantic and one humorous, and both are about reading and hearing haiku!


 

Illustration: Stamp of 1963. (Scanned by Darjac) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Kirchenkonzert / Church Concert

 


Joint 100th English and 100th German post!


Colourful ancient glass window, prophet in red hat, red shoes, green cloak.

 

Kirchenkonzert

Ein Dom mit hohen grauen Fensterscheiben
und berstend bunten um den Pfeilerreigen –
und alles, alles aus Musik!
Und unerreichbar fern, unsterblich stark
du stille dunkelblaue Gegenwart,
du mein Geheimnis, mein Geschick.

Christina Egan © 2008

 

 

Large astronomical clock with two blue and golden dials in wooden frame.Church Concert

A dance of pillars round the sacred site;
round them, tall windows, grey or burning bright –
and all is made of music, melody!
Unreachable, immortal and immense,
a tranquil deep-blue presence grows more dense:
it’s you, my secret, you, my destiny.

Christina Egan © 2017


Find more poems about the power of music at Quest / Suche  and Auf dem Purpurteppich / On the royal-purple rug.


 

There are fewer than 200 posts of poetry here, since some show parallel or similar poems in two languages (and some are in French), but almost 300 poems.


 

Prophet Hosea, window in Augsburg Cathedral, around 1100 (!). Photograph:  Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons. — Astronomical clock with carillon playing hymns (20th c.). Marienkirche, Lübeck, Germany. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

Jetzt und jenseits / Now and Beyond

Jetzt und jenseits

In der Stille, in der Helle,
wo die Kerze steht und blüht
oder Welle über Welle,
Wolke über Wolke zieht,

in der Stille, in der Hülle
des Gewölbes oder Walds
quillt der Friede, quillt die Fülle
jetzt und jenseits unsres Alls.

Christina Egan © 2015

Shallow sandy beach and blue sea water filling lower half of picture, sky-blue sky with a few clouds above. Exudes tranquillity.

Now and Beyond

In the stillness, in the light,
where the candle blossoms bright
or where wave flows after wave,
cloud on cloud and breeze on breeze,

in the stillness, in the cave
of the vault or wooded pond
flows the fullness, flows the peace
of the now and the beyond.

Christina Egan © 2015


In the Hebrew bible, ‘peace’ (‘shalom’) is defined ex positivo, as it should be, not ex negativo: it means abundance and fulfilment, not absence of war or conflict.

Similarly, in the Christian tradition, ‘quiet’, ‘silence’, ‘solitude’ often imply awareness, peace of mind, presence of God, rather than absence of sound or lack of company.

Photograph: Beach of Wyk on Föhr, Germany. Christina Egan © 2014.