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.

Red Balloon

Red Balloon

In the crowd,
in the too early dark,
the enveloping damp, I rush,
crush onto the red bus, and there,
on the front bench, you are, as if waiting
for me, or at least hoping for me, with a smile,
a wide warm smile, just like the one you gave me
nineteen years ago, with the same smooth oval face;
and our words change the day into a string of pearls,
change the city into a cluster of colourful balloons;
in the damp dark evening, I feel the sun rising,
feel a breeze rising, taking my heart with it,
like a little red balloon, weightless,
into shadeless heights, we are
two bouncing balloons
on a red bus!
I love you

Christina Egan © 2016

This little story may work in a translation software.
There is also a wedding or anniversary poem about a

Yellow Balloon !

Berlin Zoo Station

Berlin Zoo Station


Blurred impression of large railway station through train window.Building sites, cordons,
corridors, concourses,
people whizzing, weaving,
people sauntering, skipping,
dragging luggage along, around,
trains shooting in and out,
shuttles on a loom.

Faces, faces like packs of cards,
shuffled, shuttled across the city,
voices, voices from all the winds,
into all the winds, and everyone
means something to someone,
everyone means something,
means everything.



Cloud strips, golden and pink, above a dark crowded square at the very bottom.

Trains bridging borders,
the square, sun, people,
people, specks of colour
propelled past me,
their shades brushing me,
their warmth, breath,
so near, here, now.

Life, life, yes, yet
nothing but
the first faint dawn
of a future with no night,
no barriers, boundaries:
destination without distance,
one web of light.

Christina Egan © 2016 (I) / 1999 (II)

Photographs: Railway station and airport in Berlin. Christina Egan ©  2016.

Die Fluten der Stadt

Die Fluten der Stadt


Vor meinem Fenster rauscht die späte Stadt
und glitzert auf im Vollmond, schwarzes Meer;
sie spült Millionen Menschen hin und her,
spielt Fangen, nimmermüd und nimmersatt.
In ihrem Brausen höre ich Willkommen
und lasse mich auf ihren Wellen treiben.
Die Sternbilder der Leuchtreklamen schreiben
sich unter meine Lider… schon zerronnen.
Und nie allein: weil ich alleine bin,
zu Haus im selben Sehnsuchtsleitmotiv
wie jeder andre aufgewühlte Sinn.
Was immer schon in meinen Gliedern schlief,
schäumt ungebärdig zu den Sternen hin:
Ich will dich, will dich wild und meerestief.


Auf vielen Brücken stand ich, ausgespannt
von Stahl und Stein an Themse, Rhein und Main,
und unter allen Himmeln stets allein:
stets einem Unsichtbaren zugewandt.
Es wandeln ja mit jedem neuen Strand
die Menschen wie die Häuser ihr Gesicht,
erstehen anders schon im Morgenlicht;
und immer wieder scheint mir eins verwandt.

Die Fluten wechseln – braun, blau, grau und grün –
die Augen ebenso, die mich gebannt,

sie füllen meine Augen – und entfliehn.
Doch deine, die ich nur von ferne fand,
die kaum mich streiften, seh ich weitersprühn…
Und ihre Farbe hab ich nie gekannt.

Christina Egan © 1995 / 1996

Black and white panorama of London skyline from a Thames bridge, with another bridge, boats, skyscrapers, St Paul's.

London. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014

The narrator looks for love amidst the masses of the big city by the big river, where the star constellations consist of neon advertisements. She or he adores someone whom she has only seen from afar so that she does not even know the colour of his or her eyes.

Each sonnet makes a paradoxical statement about loneliness: This person is never lonely because many other people in this city share her loneliness; and she is always lonely because she is in the presence of a beloved one who is absent.

April Rules the Land

April Rules the Land
(April haiku)

April rules the land,
leaden and golden in turns,
wayward as we are.


Oxford Street, busy,
a splintered rainbow, patterns,
shaken and broken.


The white narcissus 
sings with a voice as sweet as
her brother blackbird.

Christina Egan © 2000

The last haiku originally referred to ‘the ivory rose’, although in England, outdoor roses do not blossom yet in April. When I changed the wording to ‘the white narcissus’ to link it to the season and month, I did not know that the flower’s official name is Narcissus poeticus, or Poet’s Narcissus!

The ivory rose
sings with a voice as sweet as
her brother blackbird.