Coal Tits / Leaf Surf

Coal Tits

Coal tits are weaving through the leaves,
leaves tinged with gold and tinged with rust;
the earth, relieved of darkness, breathes
before the leaves will turn to dust.

Coal tits are chirping in the leaves,
wings tinged with fire, tinged with ashes;
their song is weaving with the breeze
through our windows’ rigid meshes…

Christina Egan © 2017

Songbird with yellow breast, otherwise grey, black & white, on bare branch with orange lichen.

Leaf Surf

The lawn lies like an emerald bay,
like golden sand the fallen leaves.
The wind is waltzing on the roofs,
the wind is leaping through the streets,
it rolls into the shimmering heaps,
it stirs them up, it whirls them up,
it sweeps a wilful whispering surf
onto the sun-bathed autumn turf!
The earth takes one last joyful breath
before the shade falls like a spell.
That there is so much death in life
and so much dancing life in death…

Christina Egan © 2017

Photograph by makamuki0 (Marc Pascual).

explosion der rosen

explosion der rosen

wir warten auf den goldenen oktober
ein kuppeldach aus himmelblauem glas
auf rote zungen überm alten zuber
brilliantensplitter im erfrischten gras

wir warten auf die explosion der rosen
auf pilze wie verwunschene gehölze
und auf die falsche pracht der herbstzeitlosen
als ob die welt sich nicht schon stumm bewölkte

als ob der glanz nicht mündete in moder
die dahlie wie ein feuerwerk verginge
wir warten auf den goldenen oktober
und tauschen küsse wie brilliantenringe

Christina Egan © 2017

Formal garden with dahlias in fiery colours and tree with deep-red foliage.

Dahlia Garden in Fulda, Germany, in October.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2010.

Notnormal

Notnormal

Lightningwhite
vast rib vaults
suspended
in brilliantblue
and a rainbow frame
dazzling and doubling and
tripling
around Broadwater Farm.

Large deep-yellow flower shaped like a star with five points.Four feet tracing
pavements pathways
the brooks underground
the trains underground
with the windinyourhair
and the sunonyourskin.

Fivefoldflame flowers
dancing for joy
rolling up into fruit
while ivory butterflies
and bumblebees feed
on lavender forests.

Time to cook
food and eat
food
Time to talk
into a telephone
time to talk
Orange soup in blue bowl on placemat striped orange and blue.talkandlisten
Timetogether.

All this is not normal.

All this is mental
detrimental
to your output
to your outfit
on all platforms
detrimental
to your attitudes
to your platitudes
diametrical
to the narrative.

This is the new
Notnormal.
This must stop
fullstop.

Kestrel egg, quite round, buff and dappled.Otherwise
more stained statues will fall
and heads of heads will roll
and skyscrapers skygraters
surveying the Thames
will be kestrels’ apartments
their amenities reclaimed
by the reeds and the weeds
by the swans and the swifts
by the songs in the dusk
and the
silence
under the crystal crescent.

Christina Egan © 2020

Hoping for a revolution in the suspened time of the coronavirus crisis…

Under the lockdown, the air had become so clear that on May 1st, 2020, I did see a triple rainbow around the apartment blocks of Broadwater Farm 

For more thoughts from the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic in London in spring 2020, see Hidden Rivers / Verborgne Flüsse.

Courgette flower / Carrot soup. Photographs: Christina Egan © 2020. — Kestrel egg at the Muséum de Toulouse. Photograph by Didier Descouens via Wikimedia. Copyright: CC BY-SA 3.0.

sonnenschein essen

sonnenschein essen

I.

rot-goldnes feuerwerk
dichte garben unablässig:
die hohen wipfel am waldessaum
in der zärtlichen brise

schwarz geäderte kristallkugeln
feingefaserte korallenkegel:
die bäume zwischen den giebeln
gegen den steigenden tagstern

schimmernde rokokoperlen
und leuchtende granate:
die gelben birnen im laub
die roten äpfel im gras

Group of pine-trees directly in front of the sea, the sky framed by their branches.

II.

die welt betrachten
wie ein gemälde
bild um bild um
bild

den sonnenschein essen
wie brot
und das brot
wie ein geschenk

gleichgewicht
von tag und nacht
heute ist
heute

Christina Egan © 2018

Beach at Bansin on Usedom (Baltic Sea). —
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

Strandkorb Song

Strandkorb Song

What happened to the beach-seat
we found in Germany,
the bench within a basket
beside the Baltic Sea?

The land was lush and sunlit,
the air was pure and free,
the dusk was full of magic,
the surf a mystery.

White hooded beach seats, in dunes of fine white sand, with fresh plants growing.What happened to the beach-seat
placed there for you and me?
What happened to the footsteps
along the singing sea?

You said you won’t forget it,
the dusk, the moon, and me.
Where has it gone, the moment
of blue eternity?

We cannot leave the basket,
in space and time so far:
it is a secret casket
which holds a sparkling star.

Christina Egan © 2017

‘Beach baskets’ in Ahlbeck on Usedom.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

Strandkörbe, ‘beach baskets’, or hooded beach seats, are an alluring feature of German beaches on both seas. 

The story refers to the Midsummernight Far North I have described before on this website. I have developed Strandkorb Song further as lyrics.

Offenbarung (In allen Farben)

Offenbarung

In allen Farben des Abendhimmels
brennt hinter meinen Augenlidern
mein Geheimnis:
mein Lilienfeld.

In meinem Innersten weiß ich dich,
wie man eine Offenbarung weiß,
die man nicht beweisen kann,
die man nicht begreifen kann.

Christina Egan © 1991

Clouds resembling flames behind silhouette of palm-tree.

Moses’ burning bush?
Taoro Parque, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2019.

As so often, the reader does not know if my poem is about a person or about God; the author does not know either!

your face of snow

your face of snow 

your face of snow
your eyes of ice
will blur and melt
with sweet surprise
your cheeks of dawn
of smooth white stone
will blush and throb
with flames unknown

your lips of pearl
encasing dreams
will blink and burst
with bright new beams

your face of snow
your eyes of ice
will bloom and burn
a rainbow’s rise

Christina Egan © 2004

 

A story where nothing ever happened

The greeting in your eyes, radiant.
The answer in your eyes, immediate.
The longing in your eyes, innocent.
The promise in your eyes, infinite.

Christina Egan © 2004

 

Glass flask by Eugenes, found in Syria, 3rd c. AD.
Photograph: © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Hochsommernacht

Hochsommernacht

Ich nehme die Straße der Wolken am Abend,
behutsame Brandung aus goldener Gischt,
bei Nacht aber über dem langsamen Rade
der Sterne die Straße aus silbernem Licht.

Verbleichende Landstriche harren des Regens,
verdorrende Büsche erflehen sich Frucht,–
und ich bete stumm um das Glück meines Lebens,
umschlungen von seligem Hochsommerduft.

Christina Egan © 2018

Layer of orange clouds on blue sky

The German word for ‘Midsummernight’ sounds the same, but refers to July and August rather than solstice. A person yearns for a companion as the earth and the plants yearn for water. This poem was written in the great heat and draught of 2018 (which I personally enjoyed… rather like a cactus!).

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

Hidden Rivers / Verborgne Flüsse

Hidden Rivers

Meadow with white and yellow blossom in bright lightThis is the time to walk along
the hidden rivers hand in hand;
this is the time to write a song
out of a strangely quiet land.

This is the time to breathe again,
to stand and stare, to skip and run…
The water rippled by the rain,
the water dappled by the sun.

This is the time to dance across
the sea of sorrel and of yarrow,
to sink into the gilded grass
without a worry of tomorrow.

This is the time to hear the heart
of the neglected earth rejoice,
to find the long-forgotten lark
in your beloved’s humming voice.

Christina Egan © 2020

Verborgne Flüsse

Dies ist die Zeit, das Tal zu sichten
verborgner Flüsse, Hand in Hand;
dies ist die Zeit, ein Lied zu dichten
aus einem seltsam stillen Land.

Dies ist die Zeit, die Brust zu heben,
zu springen, stillzustehn, zu spürn…
Gewellt das Wasser unterm Regen,
beglänzt das Wasser vom Gestirn.

Durch Wogen weißer Blütenschäume
und roter Rispen laß uns schreiten,
um sorglos in der späten Wärme
ins sonnengoldne Gras zu gleiten.

Das Herz der unbetretnen Erde
scheint jubelnd dir ins Ohr zu dringen,
das Lied der fastvergeßnen Lerche
aus dem geliebten Mund zu klingen.

Christina Egan © 2020


A happy impression from the coronavirus crisis…

Photograph: Lea Valley. Christina Egan © 2020.

Die Steine sprechen

Die Steine sprechen

Swallowtail butterfly, cream-coloured with graceful pattern in sky-blue and burnt-orange, on a flower in burnt-orange.Die Steine künden von der jungen Braut
im dunklen buntbestickten Sonntagsstaat,
die strahlend auf die alte Schwelle trat,
und von dem Schwalbenschwanz im hohen Kraut.
Die Höfe sind auf karges Land gebaut,
wo zwischen Weizenfeld und Waldesrand
schon vor Jahrtausenden ein Flecken stand.
Die Steine sprechen, und sie sprechen laut.
Die Kannen klappern, und der Wagen knarrt,
die Gänse schnattern, und das Zugpferd scharrt.
Mit Engelsstimme schallt die Glocke hin.
Das Spinnrad schnurrt; am Brunnen seufzt der Wind;
am Feuer schreit der Bäuerin zehntes Kind.
Die Steine sprechen; hörst du aber hin?

Christina Egan © 2017


Bullfinch couple on wintry twigs; deep-blue tails and heads, the male with a bright-red breast.

 

This sonnet is dedicated to the farmers Maria Gutermuth and Paul Jordan, whose tenth child (not the last one) was my grandmother. I can only imagine this type of peasant life from books and pictures, but my father witnessed the very last of it.

In my great-grandparents’ village Dalherda in the Rhön mountains, where harsh conditions of soil and weather prevented prosperity through agriculture, the inhabitants had excelled at two particular crafts, carving wooden utensils and breeding bullfinches as songbirds.


Photographs: Swallowtail Butterfly (German name: ‘Schwalbenschwanz’). By Werner Pichler (Vom Autor) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons (Featured picture). – Bullfinch couple (German name: ‘Dompfaff’ or ‘Blutfink’.) By Ἀστερίσκος (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.