A Patterned Carpet

Silk cloth dominated by vivid pinks and greens.A Patterned Carpet
(July Tanka)

A patterned carpet,
the city is unrolling
between the bus stops…
I roll it up in my eye
and send it on to a friend.

*

Fountain in round basin in park, flanked by large flowerpots

Clouds, high in the sky,
saturated with sunshine,
rapidly drifting –
like currents across oceans,
like thoughts across continents.

Christina Egan © 2012

 

 

The idea of the big city as a woven carpet is  also pursued in the German poem Geflechte.

Photographs: Silk cloth from Madagascar. © The Trustees of the British Museum. — Schloßgarten Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.

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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.

Chandelier

Chandelier

At last, the air is warm again; the sky
at last gets gradually infused with light,
the clouds are dusty blue and creamy white:
the colours, too, warm up, warming the eye.
And that pale cliff of buildings, sheer and high,
gets saturated with the same delight
and holds it up against the sinking night:
this half-forgotten gentle golden dye.
And here, above the square of glittering grass,
above the blossom bursting on the trees
which trembles when the wilful spring winds pass,
there floats another sparkling tree, it seems:
a thousand particles of precious glass
struck by the grand piano’s swelling breeze.

Christina Egan © 2013

Eat the World (When you get older)

Eat the World

When you get older,
you want to eat the world
for breakfast.

Colourful ancient glass window, prophet in red hat, red shoes, green cloak.When you get older,
you want to consult the radiant prophets
in the high sky-blue windows,
to soak up the tranquil cathedrals
of soaring silvery tree-trunks,
before the acid turns all of this
into sooty ruins.

You want to sprint to the station tonight
and jump on the train, shooting
through tunnels, under the city,
under the ocean, under the mountains,
through to the other side of the earth!

You want to slip into sleek capsules
to float up slopes, up skyscrapers,
up cliffs, up lighthouses,
up towards the clouds and
through the clouds!

When you get older,
you feel as if you could almost fly
into the sun already.

Christina Egan © 2017

Photograph: Prophet Hosea, window in Augsburg Cathedral, around 1100. By Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

purpurne beeren

purpurne beeren

gleißende wolken
gehäuft und gestaffelt
wispernde rispen
zufriedener pappeln

mannshohe rosen
und silberoliven
letzter lavendel
in hölzernen kübeln

purpurne buchen
mit purpurnem schatten
purpurne beeren
o süßes erwachen

was willst du mehr noch
mit sinnen und streben
schau um dich her doch
hier hier ist das leben

Meadow, lake, copses of diverse trees in the dusk; gleaming clouds, mirrored in lake.bunt ist der sommer
und golden im sinken
schlank ist das weinglas
mit purpurnem blinken

süß ist das lachen
verborgener vögel
stolz setzt der sommer
die gleißenden segel

Christina Egan © 2016

Old Botanical Garden, Dahlem, Berlin.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.

Purple Clouds

Purple Clouds

When day and night become a seamless dream
of someone else’s iridescent eyes,
of someone else’s mesmerising voice:
you know before you have been loved in turn
that it was worth it to be born and burn.

When earth and sky become a milky screen
for someone else’s ever-changing face,
for someone else’s never-fading grace:
you know that you have lost your liberty
and gained a purpose or a destiny.

Christina Egan © 2012

Layer of orange clouds on blue sky

When you are newly in love, the other person
turns into the sole purpose of your existence —
and into the only being or object in existence.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

septemberbeschwörung

septemberbeschwörung

I.

die sonne lacht zum letztenmal
ein unbedingtes warmes lachen
als wollte sie den lebenssaft
noch eilends hundertfach entfachen

bevor die wolken sich verdichten
der wind sich sammelt wie zur schlacht
die blätter sich am boden schichten
ihr eisenzepter reckt die nacht

II.

inmitten unsrer blassen straßen
dreht sich ein buntes karussell:
der platz wie eine wagennabe
bald langsam und bald wieder schnell

ich sehe hundert menschen schlendern
und hasten und zuzeiten stehn
als würden alle sechzehn winde
uns häufen mischen und verwehn

Christina Egan © 2011


‘September Spell’  is my impression of the autumnal equinox for this year… For another square like a merry-go-round, go to the previous poems, which describe Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, one in English and one in German.