Ex tenebris (The day is like a daffodil)

Ex tenebris

The day is like a daffodil. Yet
the green garland of the garden,
the golden garland of the sunset
cannot dispel the dark of the depth.

On the crests of the hills,
tiny blue brushstrokes,
you can watch them wander,
the deceased and the unborn.

My heart is a fist in my chest.
My tears are grapes of glass.
No one sees them: no one sees me.
I am alone with the angels.

Christina Egan © 2017

Daffodils and narcissus growing thickly around a fivefold gnarled treetrunk.Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

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Der Erde Auge / Dragon Island

Der Erde Auge
(Kaali, Estland)

Hier ist der Wald nur Wimpernkranz
um jadegrünen Augenglanz,
der immer träumt
und immer wacht,
der nimmer weint
und nimmer lacht.

Der Erde Auge schaut hinauf
in tausendfachen Sternenlauf:
Ein schwarzer Stein
mit Feuerschweif
schlug donnernd ein
und schuf den Teich.

Und um den runden Kraterrand
gehn hundert Menschen still gebannt:,
Sie schlendern her
zu eitlem Schaun
und schreiten schwer
in grünem Traum.

Berührt vom fernen Sternenschlag
sind tausend Jahre wie ein Tag.
Die Sonne fülllt
das Himmelsrund,
und urgrün quillt
der Augengrund.

Christina Egan © 2016


Dragon Isle
(Iceland)

Dark is the mid-morning sky,
shaded the treeless land,
granite the road of the sea,
burnt the abandoned strand.

Dragons looming like hills
have stirred from a century’s daze
to spew some sparks and some ash
before they set glaciers ablaze.

Christina Egan © 2010


The first poem, ‘The Earth’s Eye’ describes a startlingly green and perfectly circular lake in Estonia — a timeless, mythical place, caused by a meteorite crashing several thousand years ago, but within human memory.

The second poem was inspired by the news of a volcanic eruption on Iceland. Mythical creatures take on real life: not that hills look like dragons, no, dragons disguise themselves as hills…

I have also written a sonnet about the twin crater lakes of Sete Cidades (Azores). and a number of poems about the volcanoes of Lanzarote (Canaries).

Cimmerian Summer

Cimmerian Summer

This lifeless gloom: is it the dusk?
This pale white disc: is it the moon?
Is this a mild day in November?
No: in the land of ceaseless mist
this is the sun; the afternoon;
the lightless first day of September.

Christina Egan © 2015


“ἔνθα δὲ Κιμμερίων ἀνδρῶν δῆμός τε πόλις τε,
ἠέρι καὶ νεφέλῃ κεκαλυμμένοι.”

There are the land and city of the Cimmerians,
wrapped in mist and cloud.”  

Homer, Odyssey, 11:14-15


“Britain is set in the Sea of Darkness.
It is a considerable island. This country is most fertile,
its inhabitants brave, active and enterprising….
but all is in the grip of perpetual winter.”

Muhammad al-Idrisi of Sicily, ca. 1154


Homer never ceases to inspire us. Incidentally, I saw a retelling of the Odyssey  last night, at a London playhouse, or rather, amphitheatre! (On this first day of September, the weather is in fact glorious.)

The memory of four clearly marked seasons, full of bright leaves and fruits, and the sorrow about the apparent confusion of the climate are depicted in My Pack of Cards.

Glasperlenlied

A dozen beads of gold, lapis lazuli, cornelian.Glasperlenlied

Die Stadt ist endlich dunkel, endlich still.
Und in der regenreinen Ruhe quillt
herauf, was unter dem Getümmel lag:
das Teppichmuster unterm Alltagstag.

Die Stunden ziehen bunt an mir vorüber,
verdichten, runden sich: Glasperlenlieder.
Mein Leben ist gering. Ich bin allein.
Doch brennt mein Herz und leuchtet wie der Wein.

Christina Egan © 2011

Minoan beads from Crete, of gold, lapis lazuli and cornelian, at least 3,500 years old.
Photograph
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars

The darker the night,
the stronger the stars,
the fiercer the fight
of Venus and Mars.

They fight not each other
but darkness and cold,
they each hold a banner
embroidered with gold.

The later the hour,
the likelier dawn,
with fire and flower
in splendour reborn!

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem takes up my thoughts about the elements in the previous post: here, the male and female principles are involved in a common struggle rather than a struggle against each other.

‘Dawn’ refers to the dawn of the new year in early spring as much as to the time of the day; and springtime is even more unpredictable than daylight, precisely in a northern country.

The First of December

The First of December

The ample, even, hand-like leaves
carelessly crumpled up by the frost
overnight,

the luscious colonies of moss
dusted with ice in the colourless light
of the day.

And we cannot deny this is still only autumn:
the yearly slow and sure descent
towards the cold.

This is the month of shrinking days,
of darkening hair and shivering skin
touched by damp.

This is the season of flickering lights,
some of them real, all of them glimmering
drops of hope.

Christina Egan © 2012

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 !