Park in December
Dead leaves everywhere,
thousands of them, outstretched hands,
The crystal goblet
of the winter sky, brimful
with frosty white wine.
On denuded twigs
millions of minute buds
hovering in limbo.
Christina Egan © 2012
(Museum moderner Kunst)
Der weiße Dämmer:
mit Blüten bestückt.
Wirklicher als Wirklichkeit
hier im Tagtraumteich.
tausendfach, singt der Sonne
aus voller Kehle!
Christina Egan © 2014
Illustration: Max Ernst: Fish fight. Oil on canvas, 1917.
© Max Ernst. Digital image distributed under FairUse at WikiArt.
These poems were inspired by an exhibition of modernist art at the Max Ernst Museum Brühl. Germany. The bizarre and very colourful ‘moonfish’ make an appearance in the painting Mondfische (1917); I show a similar work here.
In a way, visual art is more real than reality. In Quest / Suche, I claim the same for music.
My love, I’d so much love to give you a gift:
a kite with the face of a friendly dragon,
a goblet carved from a coconut shell,
a rocking-chair on a scarlet rug,
a house by a little lake,
a little lake,
a life –
But I have none of these things to give away:
only smiles slotted through half-open doors,
kisses smuggled on underground trains,
words typed on a cluttered screen…
only these worthless,
Christina Egan © 2008
You can find a poem shaped like a spinning top at Toys / Baskets / Bowls,
one shaped (and tinted) like a bush at By the Brittle Brown Fence,
and one shaped (and tinted) like a balloon at Red Balloon!
geh aus mein herz
die braunen bauklotzhäuser
die weißen blütenkelche
die sich versonnen rühren
im wind aus samt und seide
die schweren purpurrosen
in Salomonis kleide
die deine finger kosen…
der sommer will dich füllen
die erde lädt dich ein
zu laufen und zu schaffen
zu schauen und zu
Christina Egan © 2011
In Purpur zog der Kaiser einst,
in Scharlachrot der Kardinal,
in Violett die Kaiserin
in einen grüngeschmückten Saal.
So prunken die Geranien
in ihrer Sommerprozession
und rufen in das Gartenrund:
“Wir übertrumpfen Salomon!”
Christina Egan © 2014
The appeal ‘Go out and seek joy’ and the metaphor of King Solomon’s silk are taken from the jubilant hymn and folksong Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud, written by Paul Gerhardt in the middle of the 17th century.
The houses in uniform dull colours with front doors in different bright colours are typical for London. So are the little private gardens with geraniums.
The first poem is contemplative and intense, the second one humorous and light. The last line of the first poem is cut up on purpose: to let the word ‘to be’ resound on its own.
For an English poem about the pageant of summer see Lilac and Lime.
scattered across the lush green
like two galaxies:
humble, ephemeral and
full of the glory of God.
Those snow-white patches,
patterns on the lawn, the mulch:
as if cut out from the world
of colours and of motion.
Christina Egan © 2012
These poems describe the world as an ensemble of patterns. They also try to make sense of the world, and perhaps the act of discovering order also unveils meaning…
Something tiny resembles something gigantic, the whole of the known world, in fact. Something white appears as a hole or an island in the colourful picture: like a shadow of death or a gate to eternity.
The line ‘full of the glory of God’ was inspired by the verse ‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God‘ by Gerald Manley Hopkins.
You can truly ‘see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wild flower’, as William Blake claimed!
Photographs: Water-lilies. Liu Ye (Ye Liu) © 2016. — Queen of the night. Christina Egan © 2014.
Enveloped in the velvet cloak of night,
I feel I have been chosen before birth
As secret queen of this enchanted earth,
Enrobed in moon and star and rainbow light.
Enveloped in this sparkling cloak of night,
Embroidered by an angel, tireless,
And lined with solid human tenderness,
I know I live and die to see the light.
I’m wrapped into this lining of the night:
Your silver beauty scooped out of the moon
And made to breathe and smile and give me room.
I hold your smooth and tapered fingers tight,
I hold your dreams to give them earth to bloom:
Around us moves the sky’s luminous loom.
Christina Egan © 2010
a flock of birds turns them into
three lines of verse.
No flowerbeds here –
but a line of bright washing
dancing in the wind!
A palm-tree appears
in the rear mirror, and huts
in the still lagoon.
Christina Egan © 2018
These haiku about haiku were written looking at three picture postcards, where I instantly perceived patterns and metaphors.
Poetry – and painting or photography – are like rear mirrors which make hidden things visible and ordinary places special.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.