Sambation

Sambation

O daß der Mühlenräderlärm der Plätze
verrauschte wie ein Sommerwolkenbruch,
das grelle purzelnde Geröll der Menge
versiegte in der Großstadtstraßenschlucht,

auf daß das Flußbett sich durchwandern ließe
an Pforten, Traufen, Blumentrog vorbei
und nur die Schwalbe in die Stille stoße,
hoch, froh, mit Sichelflug und Silberschrei.

O daß die Lichterstrecken, Lichterhaufen
verblaßten wie das Nordlicht überm Meer,
auf daß die Sterne aus dem Dunkel tauchten
wie ein mit Bronze überglänztes Heer!

Christina Egan © 2017


The mythical river Sambation at the edge of the known world cannot be crossed because it is wild and full of mud and rocks — or even consists of rocks instead of water.

Here, the busy streets of a big city are experienced as a ravine full of tumbling stones, while the screech like grinding millstones; by night, the galaxies of lamplights drown the stars.

The opposite images are the quiet riverbeds of empty streets; the silent sky punctuated by the flight and cry of a swallow; and then the stars re-emerging…

This poem will be published in the German-language calendar Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019 (available from mid-August).

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Alles drängt vorwärts

Alles drängt vorwärts

*

Fahrzeug um Fahrzeug,
bunte Menschen, Hunderte,
alles drängt vorwärts.
Durch das Adernetz der Stadt
rollt das Leben, das Sterben.

*

Kein einziger Stern,
bloß Wolken, Nebel und Staub
über den Dächern.
Doch Funken stieben, golden
und rot, über die Kreuzung.

*

Christina Egan © 2015/ © 2017

Busy junction in the dusk, with red and yellow lamps of cars and buses glaring.

These tanka were written in Bloomsbury, London,
one in summer and one in winter, one bright light
and one in dim light;  but the seasons and hours
make less difference in London than elsewhere…
For similar poems in English, go to Ripples of People.

Photograph: Deptford Broadway, London.
Michael Oakes © 2016

Bus Stop Haiku

Bus Stop Haiku

The full moon captured
in a cage of stone and wood:
a white paper lamp.

*

Wilting lavender
on the window sill, turning
into bursts of scent.

*

Brick wall and bus stop:
in between, seven nations
squeezing together.

*

Christina Egan © 2016


An ancient art form capturing mundane moments from the big city: In Wood Green, London, a crowd from seven nations is squeezing onto the red buses. I looked out for beauty at the bus stop and found it.

The full moon glimpsed turns out to be a bedroom lamp. The luxurious lavender grows in a little tin pot. The third autumn haiku does not even have any image from nature: just a brick wall…

Nächster Halt: Bahnhof Zoo

Nächster Halt: Bahnhof Zoo
 
Blurred impression of large railway station through train window.Schließ ich den Koffer und zähle die Gleise,
gleitet durch gleißende Weiten der Zug,
findet durchs Vorstadtgestrüpp eine Schneise,
bohrt sich in Schleuse um Schleuse sein Bug.
 
Zittert das Herz zwischen zahllosen Dächern,
lauscht auf die Stimme: “Berlin, Bahnhof Zoo” ––
Irgendwo hier muß die Zukunft doch lächeln,
winken das Glück,– aber wo, aber wo?
 
Aus den Kanälen und Seen muß es sprudeln,
aus Boulevards und aus Marktplätzen sprühn…
In das Gewühl taucht mein lautloses Jubeln:
Heute is heute, und hier ist Berlin!


Nächster Halt: Flughafen Schönefeld

Cloud strips, golden and pink, above a dark crowded square at the very bottom.Liegen die Häuser gewürfelt, gehäufelt,
liegen die Häuser gefädelt, gereiht…
Fortgerollt wird man, hinübergeschleudert,–
aus ist die schillernde, schäumende Zeit.

Häkeln die Züge die Orte zusammen,
kreuzen die Grenzen und flicken das Land;
häkelt die Liebe die Herzen zusammen,
fügt in die harrende Hand eine Hand.

Häkeln die Flugzeuge schneeweiße Spitze
über die Dächer, die Flüsse, den Wald;
häkelt das Abendrot goldene Spritzer
voller Verheißung und Heilung und Halt.

Christina Egan © 2016/2017

These two poems about arriving in Berlin and departing from Berlin form, together with the round-trip Nächster Halt: Potsdamer Platz, my Berlin Triptych. For English poems about the same railway station, go to Berlin Zoo Station.

When I describe how trains and planes sew towns together and mend countries, I am naturally remembering how my country and its capital city were divided for almost half a century. The family members or lovers waiting for each other at the railway stations and airports may be separated by this fate or a different one.

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

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!
And
I love you
so





Christina Egan © 2016

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

Yellow Balloon !