Die vierte Frucht
Vier Früchte blieben uns vom Paradiese
auf unsrer langen Wüstenwanderung,
auf daß durch sie die Kraft des Ursprungs fließe
in tausendfacher Anverwandelung:
Die Liebe lädt in saftigblauer Traube;
die Hoffnung duftet warm wie goldnes Brot;
in bittersüßem Grün neigt sich der Glaube;
die Freude aber lächelt sonnenrot.
Christina Egan © 2018
Für Sr. Caterina von der Freude in Gott
The four fruits of paradise, an idea I was inspired to by the three Christian chief virtues — faith, hope, love — to which I added joy, another gift or virtue promoted by the same stern author, St Paul.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice”.
Love is envisaged as a blue or purple fruit, hope as a yellow one (or a loaf of bread), faith as a green fruit (possibly tasting bitter) and joy as a red or orange one… hopefully all sweet! The colours of the rainbow exist for our nourishment.
Photograph: Oranges in midwinter, in Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012.
All these proud palm-trees,
a thousand and one, now bow
before your beauty.
A road of roses,
an avenue fit for a king –
just right for you.
Desert dust reaches
for your ankles of marble,
envied by my hands.
Christina Egan © 2016
This is actually a set of winter poems: Morocco in midwinter is like northern Europe in midsummer! Marrakesh welcomes you with warm sunshine, thousands of palm-trees and tens of thousands of roses in all colours… Around the city, wherever the ancient irrigation system does not reach, the land stretches dry and dusty.
Photograph: Orange-trees and rose-trees within the rose-coloured walls of Marrakesh. Christina Egan © 2012
Two mighty rivers’ ceaseless flow
beneath a high and cloudless sky;
to either side the ochre glow
of arid countries rolling by;
and here and there a golden maze,
the buildings’ cubes, the cities’ grid:
this jar with blue and brownish glaze
from Babylon still mirrors it.
Christina Egan © 2016
Mesopotamian jar (9th to 7th c. BC) . Photograph: © The Trustees of the British Museum.
The city and country of ‘Babylon’ were under Assyrian rule at the time the little jar was made, but I just used the name as the most familiar for all the civilisations of Mesopotamia.
For a German poem about Babylon with the Euphrates and the Hanging Gardens, see Die Hängenden Gärten.
The perfect elegance of this tiny everyday object is an example for the simple beauty I call for in Fewer Things, where you can also see a red Roman bowl.
Queen of the Night to King Moon
I suck the moisture from the Martian sand
and spend myself in reckless rapid bloom.
I am the Queen of a vast sun-quenched land,
yet subject to the magic of the Moon.
Sieh, vom Zauberstab des Mondes
angerührt mit sanfter Macht
sind zitronengelbe Sterne
wie Laternen still erwacht,
schütten Düfte in die Wüste,
todgeweiht nach einer Nacht –
desto größer, desto süßer
in verdichtet lichter Pracht.
Texts and photograph:
Christina Egan © 2014
You can find another photo of and poem about the Queen of the Night, Die Macht der Königin der Nacht, at the entry Green Blood.
The flowers indeed often come out with the full moon… and mostly last only one day… although they do last a second night.
Cacti must not stay outside overnight in a damp country: if their roots get too wet, they suffer and die. I only put them in the garden to make them and the insects happy… and the people!