My Pack of Cards
My pack of cards, when it was new,
was green and yellow, red and blue:
from grass and leaves
to golden sheaves,
from glowing grapes
to frosty flakes!
The leaves peeked out, unfurled, and grew,
flared up, fell off, when they were due.
The fruits were round,
the ice was sound.
My year was clear,
my joy was sheer.
My pack of cards is worn and torn –
my world is pale, and I’m forlorn.
Christina Egan © 2016
In children’s picture books, the four seasons are sometimes painted in four basic colours; everything is in its place, everything is perfect. Of course, it has never been like this: the weather is always unpredictable, particularly north of the Alps.
However, at the place where I grew up — Central Europe — the seasons were more clearly marked and more stable than on the British Isles. I also believe they were more regular: they seem confused and shifted just now. It is disorientating and worrying…
You can find an impression of undefinable weather at Cimmerian Summer — whether it is due to the British climate or to global changes, I do not know.
The poem also expresses nostalgia for childhood, when everything on earth seems in its place. It was inspired by children’s picture books, which often allocate four basic colours to the four seasons.
Photograph: Schloßpark Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.
Heimkehr nach Köln
Die türmenden Inseln
die aschgrauen Schachteln
die lärmenden Räder
der Plätze –
Geborgen bin ich
im Schoß meiner Stadt,
die mich die Sprache lehrte,
die vergessene Sprache,
die schlichten Gesänge
Ein goldenes Antlitz taucht
aus dem bunten Dämmer hervor.
Wer bist du?
Geh nicht fort, Gesicht
ohne Namen, leihe mir
mein Geheimnis heut nacht!
Christina Egan © 1992
This poem about homecoming to a big city could refer to a place where someone grew up; or where they lived in the past; or where they may have lived in a former life on earth.
Therefore, the mysterious golden face which is the key to the past could be a late relative; or a lost friend; or else a historical figure. I was thinking of this portrait at the back of Cologne Cathedral.
Photograph: „Grabmal Konrad von Hochstaden Gipsabdruck“ von Elke Wetzig (Elya)
Heimat gibt es doppelt
Heimat gibt es doppelt: Heimat deiner Jugend,
Kopfsteinpflaster unter den karierten Schuhn;
anderswo vielleicht dann Heimat deines Herzens,
wo gewundne unsichtbare Wurzeln ruhn,
wo die Glocken süß und voll Verheißung beben
wie die frühen fliederfarbnen Azaleen,
wo die vielen flachen blassen Hausfassaden
lächeln, wenn die Wolkenschatten weiterwehn….
wo vor himmelstürmend hohen Kirchentürmen
glutrot oder sonnengelb die Blüten sprühn
und der Teppich der Jahrhunderte darunter
ruft, um deinen Lebensstrang hineinzuziehn.
Christina Egan © 2010
Another love letter to my favourite city, Cologne!