The Mooness Grows / Die Mondin rollt

The Mooness Grows

The Mooness grows: she’s almost round.
She steps out of a wooded mound.
She knows:
The sea will swell, the sap will well,
a thousand creatures will give birth.
The earth
is restless, waiting for Queen Moon
and for King Sun to round her girth,
her life.
The fruit is red, the fruit is ripe.
The Mooness strews her silent spell:
She glows.

Christina Egan © 2016


Die Mondin rollt

Die Mondin rollt, ein Bronzegong,
vom vielgezackten Horizont
das königsblaue Rund empor.
Ihr hoheitsvoller Ruf erschallt,
bis alles bebend widerhallt
in Stein und Blatt, in Bein und Ohr.

Noch einmal steigt, noch einmal loht
nach Mittagsglut und Abendrot
des vollen Sommers Vollmondschein.
Der Bronzegong um Mitternacht
hat neues Leben angefacht
in Ohr und Bein, in Blatt und Stein.

Christina Egan © 2016


These two poems about the ‘Mooness’ are very similar (and written at the same time) but not translations of each other.

In Greek and Latin, the moon is linguistically and mythologically female, and we should have such a word in English and German.

As a woman, I feel instinctively related to the powerful moon and all life cycles — irrespective of reproductive capacity or activity.

Schläft ein Lied / Sleeping Choir

Schläft ein Lied von tausend Zungen

Schläft ein Lied von tausend Zungen
im geweihten Marmorrund;
und der Stein hebt an zu schwingen,
wenn die Orgel perlt und summt,
und der Stein hebt an zu klingen,
wenn die Orgel schwillt und braust –
Wird das Herz vom Ruf durchdrungen
und der Leib in Glanz getaucht.

Christina Egan © 2017


Sleeping Choir

Sleeping in the marble round
choir of a thousand tongues;
and the stone vibrates and hums,
when the organ wakes to sound,
and the stone pulsates and sings,
when the organ swells and roars –
In your heart the message soars,
steeped in splendour are your limbs.

Christina Egan © 2018


This poem is developed from a key verse of German Romanticism. Joseph von Eichendorff (popular to this day and one of my favourite poets) imagines the world dreaming and a song slumbering within; you need to find the magical word to awaken them.

Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen,
Die da träumen fort und fort,
Und die Welt hebt an zu singen,
Triffst du nur das Zauberwort.

Joseph von Eichendorff

The lines were also inspired by a Pentecost service at Notre Dame de France at Leicester Square in London: when the organ plays at a high volume, its circular walls — not really marble, but snow-white — seem to vibrate and sing around the visitor.

The German version of this poem will be published in the calendar Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019 (available from mid-August).

Photograph: Catholic church Stella Maris, Binz on the Isle of Rügen, Germany. Christina Egan © 2016.

Ursprung

Ursprung

Narrow gorge with stream skipping around boulders and some vegetation on the rocks.Aus dem Felsen springt die Quelle:
So die Schöpfung aus dem Nichts.
Und sie strömet Well’ auf Welle
aufs Geheiß des Herrn des Lichts.

Und sie funkelt, und sie dunkelt,
und sie sprudelt fort und fort;
und sie murmelt, und sie rufet,
da geschaffen durch das Wort.

Und sie schäumet, und sie strebet,
spiegelt, springt empor zum Licht;
denn sie sucht den Herrn des Lebens
Angesicht zu Angesicht.

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem or hymn may work quite well in a translation software.

The text is based on the Jewish-Christian myth of creation: Out of nothingness (or chaos), God called everything into being (and order). Light was the first thing made, and it was all done through the word.

There is also a concept in Christian philosophy that God continues creating the world every moment; if he ever ceased, everything would tumble back into nothing. These ideas are really the opposite of nihilism.

Other thoughts from the Letters of the Apostles (at the end of the Christian part of the Bible) are that the whole of creation is striving and struggling towards God as if in labour; and that at the end of time, we shall emerge from darkness to see God ‘face to face’.

The title, ‘Origin’, means ‘first source’ in German; you can see the word ‘spring’ in it. Yet, I added the title in the end; the image and first lines stood clearly in my mind on waking up: the source springing from the rock, like the world out of nothingness, or life out of lifelessness.

A thought about a person stepping out from a building into the sunshine as if liberating himself or herself from a rockface can be found at Gelbes Licht, with a statue by Michelangelo that must have inspired it.

Photograph: Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012.

My City Calls (Grey Roofs Grey Walls)

My City Calls

Grey roofs grey walls
Make up this place
A rough and kind
Familiar face

The spires chimneys
Market stalls
Suspended bridges
Station halls

Oh face of walls
So great so mild
My city calls
Come here my child

My city calls
With golden chime:
While winter falls
Stay here some time

The sky is full
Of rain and snow
Of miracles
To fall and grow

So many faces
In the street
Yet far away
The one I need

Far is my dear
So far away
But I am here
Just day to day

My city calls
Me with her charms
My heartbeat falls
into her arms

Christina Egan © 1995 / 2012


 

Like in Heimkehr nach Köln, the big city is seen as a mother. There are other poems or songs where I describe it as a person — man or woman, although I feel that a city is female. It is a personal relationship: my heart beats for the city, as I claim in Geflecht / Geflechte.