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.

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Irgendein Montag

Irgendein Montag

Was wär das Leben enthoben vom Nebel?
Was wär das Leben mit prallvollem Segel?
Was wär der Tag wo sich alles gelohnt hat?
Irgendein Montag…

Einmal die Plätze und Parks zu durchwandern
im Wissen du bist unterwegs zu dem andern
der deine Augen studiert wie ein Buch
als wärst du die Erde als wärst du genug

Das wär das Leben so wie es gedacht ist
das wär das Leben für das du gemacht bist
das wär der Tag wo sich alles gelohnt hat
irgendein Montag…

Einmal gemeinsam die Nacht zu durchschweben
einmal das Leben zu Ende zu leben
Park in the dusk, with heart-shaped illuminated decoration, forming a frame around a spire in the distance.einmal zu wissen ein einziges Mal
wenn auch zur Zeit nur im Konditional:

Dies wär die Liebe so wie sie gedacht ist
dies wär die Liebe für die du gemacht bist
dies wär der Mensch der wenn er dich küßt
weiß wer du bist

Das wär das Leben so wie es gedacht ist
das wär das Leben für das du gemacht bist
das wär der Tag wo sich alles gelohnt hat
irgendein Montag…

Christina Egan © 2011

Valentine’s Day on Gozo, Malta.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2018.

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen

Graue Gänse, grauer Himmel
Stumme Stämme um den Teich
Ungewohntes weißes Flimmern
Und ein Schimmern im Gesträuch

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen
Hingesunken über Nacht
Stengel von der Last gebogen
Späte Knospen überrascht

Glowing roses, golden with red rims, standing in thick snow amongst bare trees.Weißer Schnee auf bunter Mütze
Und dein Lachen wie Gesang
Häherschrei von Tannenspitze
Glockenruf minutenlang

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen
Weißer Hauch auf rotem Mund
Ja, auch ich hab dich erlesen
Niemals tat ich es dir kund

Erster Schnee auf grauen Gänsen
Jede Flocke wie ein Stern
Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen
Und ich weiß: Du hast mich gern

Christina Egan © 2017

White snow melting on red roses.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

This is the second of two love songs which could stand alone or be sung by a woman and a man — from opposite ends of a stage or hall, though…

In White snow on white roses, the first person confesses she (or he) still secretly wishes they had got together a long time ago, and wonders if her friend feels the same.

In White snow on red roses, the second person reveals that he (or she), too, has longed for this relationship all along, but he never lets his friend know… not now either.

Each of them sings into the wind, into the snow… The ‘years that flew away’ like the wild geese in the first poem and the ‘late buds surprised’ by the snow in the second poem show that the pair are at a later stage of life.

Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen

Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen

Wie die grauen Gänse zogen
Mit dem schneegeladnen Wind
Sind die Jahre uns entflogen
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

Wie die Flocken niedertaumeln
Daß die Welt zu Weiß gerinnt
deckt die Zeit die bunten Träume
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

White rose, pink buds, hawthorns, all covered by melting snow.Stehst auch du am stillen Fenster?
Rührt der wilde Schnee auch dich?
Haschst auch du noch Luftgespinste?
Denkst auch du noch stets an mich?

Blumenflammen sind vergangen
Und die Welt wird farbenblind
Niemals hab ich dich umfangen
Niemals gab ich dir ein Kind

Wilder Schnee: ein stummes Tosen
In dem strengen reinen Wind
Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

Christina Egan © 2017

White snow melting on white roses.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

This is the first of two love songs which could stand alone or be sung by a woman and a man — from opposite ends of a stage or hall, though…

In White snow on white roses, the first person confesses she (or he) still secretly wishes they had got together a long time ago, and wonders if her friend feels the same.

In White snow on red roses, the second person reveals that he (or she), too, has longed for this relationship all along, but he never lets his friend know… not now either.

Each of them sings into the wind, into the snow… The ‘years that flew away’ like the wild geese in the first poem and the ‘late buds surprised’ by the snow in the second poem show that the pair are at a later stage of life.

If Only It Could Happen

If Only It Could Happen

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

More than a memory
There never to return
More than a fantasy
There never to be born

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

More than an accident
From sadness or despair
More than an overspend
Of pity or of care

More than a fairground ride
Of wild delight, distress
More than a mounting tide
Of wandering tenderness

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

If only it could happen
And swallow up the past
If only it could happen
As lasting as it’s fast

If only it could happen
As lasting as it’s fast

More than a flower, gay,
Unfurling just to die
More than a night, a day,
A lonesome lullaby

Woman in winter clothes waiting under lantern in sunlit lane.

If only it could happen
More happy than before
I think I’ll let it happen
Once more, oh, just once more

I think I’ll let it happen
Once more, oh, just once more

Christina Egan © 2006

Photograph: Montpellier, France, in midwinter. Christina Egan © 2010.

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.

I Peel Potatoes Round and Round

I Peel Potatoes Round and Round

The pots and pans are stacked away
The fruit and flour packed away
The spoons and ladles tied away
And half my life is lied away

I peel potatoes round and round
And see the muddy peelings mount
I peel and chop and boil and feel
My lifetime passing with the peel

The dust and crumbs are sucked away
The sheets and covers tucked away
The mud and mildew brushed away
And half my life is washed away

I am a woman and a wife
And all of you deny my life
Cast speeches of equality
And stifling silence over me

The socks and shirts are stacked away
The boots and woollens packed away
The shears and shovels tied away
And half my life is lied away

I am a woman and a wife
And all of you deny my strife
Is this two thousand seventeen?
My shackles hurt me more unseen

Christina Egan © 2016

Line of washing outdoors, very colourful, above greenery and flower-pot.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

Pretended liberation of women = Double shifts for women = New servitude of women

Read more in the essay  The Tea Turned Cold in the Cup  at FEMINISM.