The Dance of the Sacks

The Dance of the Sacks

There’s the war tax and the peace tax
There’s the core tax and the fleece tax
There’s the fish tax and the spice tax
There’s the poll tax and the vice tax!

There’s the whisper of a tax-plan
There’s the whistle of the tax-man!

There’s the old tax and the new tax
There’s the wool tax and the wheat tax
There’s the old tax for the new sacks
And the new tax for the old sacks!

There’s the tax-man with his tablet
It’s a state-protected racket!

Christina Egan © 2011

Small clay tablet with cuneiform text.

This comical song for a jig is taken from my stage play The Bricks of Ur  (© 2011) set around 2000 BC.

The tax collectors could wield either Sumerian clay tablets or 21st century electronic tablets!

I must have been inspired by a hilarious jig in one of the first seasons of Shakespeare’s Globe in London…

Receipt for 13 woolen garments, ca. 2038 BC. Photograph by Rama, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr] via Wikimedia Commons.

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Ich fülle das Papier

Ich fülle das Papier

Caterpillar, very bright green, with crumpled leaf and edgy stone on sand.Ich fülle das Papier
mit langen schwarzen Kringeln,
die sich von mir zu dir
wie lauter Raupen ringeln.

In Wörtern schicke ich
mein Lächeln und mein Zwinkern
und jenes Frühlingslicht
gleich hinter meinen Wimpern.

Christina Egan © 2012

I had the poem and font colour before I found the caterpillar…!
I send a lot of handwritten letters; last year, it was exactly 100!

Photograph:  Christina Egan © 2016.

A Faint Rainbow (Christmas Card)

A Faint Rainbow
(Christmas Card)

A faint rainbow maybe,
draped across a frozen market,
a filigree tree in the foreground,Old Dutch painting: lively scene of skaters between barren trees, steep gables and a pink manor house
some leisurely loops of skaters,
cloaked figures arranged like mute music –
that’ll do for a Christmas poem.

Good that my second-hand thoughts
and my second-rate verse
are still better than any in town
and almost as good as mulled wine…
And good that my real-life love
turns every single day into Christmas!

Christina Egan © 2012

These lines were inspired by this round painting :
A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle, ca. 1608-09,
by Hendrick Avercamp. — © National Gallery, London

Fresh & Bright

Fresh & Bright

My brain’s a tube called Fresh & Bright
which squeezes out, in green and white,
a train of thought for your delight
and your enlightenment alike.

My mouth releases bite by bite
its philosophic fluoride
to stimulate your fancy’s flight:
Take one by day and one by night.

Christina Egan © 2015

Meine blaue Mauer

Meine blaue Mauer

Oranges hanging from branches against blue sky

Ich tränke die Terrassenwand
mit Mittelmeeresblau,
denn auch im Goldorangenland
regiert zuweilen Grau.

Ich pflanze einen Ölbaumzweig
in einen irdnen Topf,
als säße ich im Römerreich
mit meinem prallen Pfropf.

Fragment of a plate; fine red pottery impressed with two doves

Ich krümele den Thymian,
kaum samengroßes Laub:
Sein wilder Duft steigt himmelan –
Mein südlich süßes Kraut!

Ich leg’ ein rotes Scherbenrund
in meine Marmorhand,
als hielte der gemeine Fund
Jahrtausende gebannt…

Roof terrace with pots of little palm-trees and fence all painted in striking bright blue.Auf meiner Gartenmauer schau’
ich Städte bunt erblühn
und wachsen in das satte Blau
und wanken und verglühn.

Ich ritze meinen Namen stolz
dem Putz ein auf Latein;
ich warte aufs Olivenholz
und schlürfe Purpurwein…

Christina Egan © 2014

Photographs: Morocco
Christina Egan © 2012

Photo of Late Roman shard from Egypt used
with kind permission of the British Museum.

Spiegelherz

Spiegelherz

Laß uns insgeheim die Spiegel tauschen,–
was soll ich mit einer schönen Frau?
Oder Haaren, die sich bronzen bauschen,
oder Augen von Spätabendblau?

Hast du dein Porträt in Hell und Dunkel
nicht genug geprüft ob seines Werts?
Ich bin an der Reihe, dein Gefunkel
aufzufangen als dein Spiegelherz.

Christina Egan © 2014

In these lines, a beautiful woman suggests to a fascinating man
swapping mirrors so that he can admire her instead of himself!
She also implies that her heart could be the mirror of his heart.

The tone is light-hearted, but the intention is serious. It is the title
of this poem, the made-up word ‘Mirror-Heart’, which lent its name
to the category of love poems on this website: ‘Mirror hearts’.

 

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread Man

God made you of some gingerbread
which over time intensifies:
so that with every year, your breath
will taste of hotter, sweeter spice!

Christina Egan © 2014

We Married on the Ferris-Wheel

Vienna quivered in the heat
for our furtive feast:
we married on the ferris-wheel
(we kissed on it, at least).

The palaces shone yellow-white
like lemon cakes with glaze:
we married in the royal grounds
(we kissed within a maze).

That summer rolled into a ball
and down the hill of time –
Vienna basks in splendour still,
my bridegroom still is mine!

Christina Egan © 2014

String of Pearls

Your presence makes this globe that whirls
the best of all existing worlds —
your kisses make this blob a pearl
from which a string of worlds unfurls!

Christina Egan © 2015

Asteroid

He inhabits his own tiny planet,
a fragment of rock, you might say;
his orbit seems steep and erratic
and often immensely away.

Yet, what you can’t see from your garret
nor find in your smart telescopes:
it’s two of them snug on that comet
that’s studded with roses and oaks.

Christina Egan © 2010