Schlaflied / Die Riesenschaukel

Schlaflied
(Spätherbst)

Blätter fallen,
Regen fällt,
langsam schlafen
geht die Welt.

Schlaf’ auch du nun,
Mutter wacht.
Gute Ruhe,
gute Nacht.

Nebel wallen
und verwehn,
Schnee wird fallen,

Stern wird stehn.
Schlaf’ auch du nun,
Engel wacht.
Gute Träume,
gute Nacht.

(Für Johannes)

Christina Egan © 2009


Die Riesenschaukel

Papa, Jakob, Julian
stoßen ihre Schaukel an,
Schaukel mit dem Riesenkorb
trägt sie von der Erde fort.

Sie schaukeln und schwingen,
sie jauchzen und singen,
hinauf, hinauf, hurra!

Mama, Jakob, Julian
stoßen ihre Schaukel an,
fliegen übern feinen Sand,
fliegen übern Waldesrand.

Sie steigen und sinken,
sie lachen und winken,
hinauf, hinauf, hurra!

(Für Julian und Jakob)

Christina Egan © 2009


You can of course substitute your own names in this song, for instance ‘Vati, Klaus und Peter nun’ or ‘Mutti und Elisabeth’. Perhaps you can find tunes, too!

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.

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.

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.

By the River I was Sitting

By the River I was sitting

By the River I was sitting
Watching barges floating by
Like the clouds so full of promise
In the blue and burning sky

Bearing jewels, bearing silver
From the mountains crowned with snow
Bearing spices, sweet and fiery
From the jungles down below

By the River I was waiting
For a boat to pick me up
Till the oars were folded inward
And the city-gates were shut

On my roof-top I was watching
Night like lapis-lazuli
While the stars were slowly rolling
Round the tiny lonely me

By Two Rivers I was dwelling
In a house of golden bricks
In my dress of snow and silver
Waving to intrepid ships

When the stars had come full circle
Strangers broke my city-gate
And my boat lay by the palm-trees
Finest date-wine was its freight

And it flew against the current
And it floated with the storm
Till I climbed the purple mountains
Where the River Twins are born

Christina Egan © 2011

Jar, elegantly curved, with brown and blue glaze.

 

This song of the woman by the river is taken
from my stage play The Bricks of Ur  (© 2011).

Place: City of Ur, Mesopotamia — Time: 2000 B.C.

Photograph: Assyrian jar (9th to 7th c. BC).
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

City Made of Dreams / Stadt aus Träumen

City Made of Dreams

This is the city made of dreams: it knows
no end. Its splendid roads roll on and round
the bristling castles and across the mound
and down across the squares. Its fabric glows.
But right below this net of rugged ground
a second net of ample pathways flows:
the rivers and canals in sparkling bows;
below the bridges, barges go around.
I stand astounded, lost amongst the towers
and giant spires, and walk on for hours…
This is the ancient city without end.
A steep and green embankment is resounding
with laughter and guitars, with life abounding.
This is the Queen of Flanders: this is Ghent.

Christina Egan © 2018

Castle with turrets directly on high street, with life-size statues of historical figures in front.

Stadt aus Träumen

Dies ist die Stadt aus Träumen. Ihr Gehege
ist grenzenlos. Die stolzen Straßen klimmen
empor den Hügel, strömen um die Zinnen
und über Plätze, leuchtendes Gewebe.
Doch unter jenem rauhen Netz der Wege
sieht man ein zweites weites Netz sich krümmen,
Kanäle oder Flüsse glitzernd rinnen,
und Boote gleiten unter breite Stege.
Ich steh verwundert, wandere verloren
im riesenhaften Wald von Türmen, Toren…
Dies ist die Altstadt, die kein Ende kennt.
Die steile grüne Böschung hallt mir wider
vom frohen Rhythmus der Gitarrenlieder.
Dies ist die Königin von Flandern: Ghent.

Christina Egan © 2018

Bridge over river lined by ancient stone and brick buildings with steep gables.

In both languages, the poem follows the same strict sonnet form.

There are only five rhymes, placed as: abba – baab – cce – dde. The final line is linked to one other line, with both of them carrying the main message together: “This is the ancient city without end. / This is the Queen of Flanders: this is Ghent.”

There are also enjambments, particularly “it knows / no end”: unusually, a very short sentence is cut in half so that the vastness of the place is felt in the pause at the end of the line.

The verse are also full of assonances and alliterations and other sound clusters, e.g. “verwundert, wandere” and the corresponding “stand astounded”. In this way, the form of the poem corresponds to the content, a description of a web of roads and rivers and a forest of towers and battlements.

Form and content cannot be separated. This is an essay; the above is a poem!

Photographs of Ghent: Christina Egan © 2018.

Chandelier

Chandelier

At last, the air is warm again; the sky
at last gets gradually infused with light,
the clouds are dusty blue and creamy white:
the colours, too, warm up, warming the eye.
And that pale cliff of buildings, sheer and high,
gets saturated with the same delight
and holds it up against the sinking night:
this half-forgotten gentle golden dye.
And here, above the square of glittering grass,
above the blossom bursting on the trees
which trembles when the wilful spring winds pass,
there floats another sparkling tree, it seems:
a thousand particles of precious glass
struck by the grand piano’s swelling breeze.

Christina Egan © 2013