I Sought the Star / Weihnachtskerzenflamme

I Sought the Star

Weary was, had wandered far…
        Again, it snowed.
Without a doubt, I sought the star
        above the road:

 The star that had been made for me,
        a radiant face,
above the maze of destiny,
        above the ice.

I climbed a random rugged hill –
        and there it burned!
Above a shelter bright and still
        and warm and firm.

And still they glow, the tiny spark
        and snowed-in home,
both given to my hungry heart
        by faith alone.

Christina Egan © 2010


Weihnachtskerzenflamme

Wie eine Weihnachtskerzenflamme strahlt
dein sanftes schmales Angesicht,
auf dem sich langersehnte Freude malt,–
so hell bist du und ahnst es nicht.

Wie hoheitsvolle Rosenknospen stehn
die Hände in dem goldnen Licht,
so zart, als würden sie im Wind vergehn,–
so weich bist du und weißt es nicht.

Christina Egan © 2014


A ‘Christmas Candle Flame’ as an image for a joyful, gentle, guileless face works only where, like in Germany, the tradition of real candles is upheld!

The second stanza compares the person’s hands to tender, graceful, regal rosebuds. The poem appears to describe a child but was in fact written for an adult.

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Verquer

Verquer

Garden furniture jumbled up by storm in front of old wooden shed.Ich schau auf die Straße:
Doch niemand kommt her.
Die Sonne ist prachtvoll,
die Wolken sind schwer.

Ich schau in den Garten:
Die Stühle sind leer.
Die Welt ist betörend,
die Welt ist verquer.

Und niemand, ach niemand
erahnt meinen Schmerz!
Das Leben – ein Schicksal?
Das Leben – ein Scherz?

Wie Weihrauch denn steige
mein Wort himmelwärts,
daß Gott sich mir neige
und wandle mein Herz.

Christina Egan © 2015

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012.

 

 

kairos (eben im zenith)

kairos

eben im zenith des tages
tret ich in ein helles haus
und ich folge seinen stufen
und ich find nie mehr hinaus

eben im zenith des jahres
fällt dein flammendes gesicht
in den brunnen meines auges
mit dem hohen sonnenlicht

eben im zenith des lebens
flutet sanft mein goldnes haar
in die schale deiner hände
und die liebe wird uns wahr

denn du findest meinen namen
den geheimen dachtürknauf
und im purpurroten buche
deines schicksals scheint er auf

Christina Egan © 2015


Noble townhouse with rich stucco ornaments and rose-tree.In Greek philosophy, the kairos is the moment — the right moment or the destined moment. The incident takes place at a triple zenith: at twelve noon, around midsummer solstice, and at the highest point of life. The latter, if it exists, will be different for everyone…

Possibly, the story happens only in the narrator’s mind: she imagines that one day in June, she steps into an unknown building and “never leaves again”, because her name was written in someone else’s book of destiny — so they fall in love at first sight.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.

Kirchenkonzert / Church Concert

 


Joint 100th English and 100th German post!


Colourful ancient glass window, prophet in red hat, red shoes, green cloak.

 

Kirchenkonzert

Ein Dom mit hohen grauen Fensterscheiben
und berstend bunten um den Pfeilerreigen –
und alles, alles aus Musik!
Und unerreichbar fern, unsterblich stark
du stille dunkelblaue Gegenwart,
du mein Geheimnis, mein Geschick.

Christina Egan © 2008

 

 

Large astronomical clock with two blue and golden dials in wooden frame.Church Concert

A dance of pillars round the sacred site;
round them, tall windows, grey or burning bright –
and all is made of music, melody!
Unreachable, immortal and immense,
a tranquil deep-blue presence grows more dense:
it’s you, my secret, you, my destiny.

Christina Egan © 2017


Find more poems about the power of music at Quest / Suche  and Auf dem Purpurteppich / On the royal-purple rug.


 

There are fewer than 200 posts of poetry here, since some show parallel or similar poems in two languages (and some are in French), but almost 300 poems.


 

Prophet Hosea, window in Augsburg Cathedral, around 1100 (!). Photograph:  Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons. — Astronomical clock with carillon playing hymns (20th c.). Marienkirche, Lübeck, Germany. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

Paths from the Past

Paths from the Past

Flagstone on flagstone,
the pavement unrolls
beneath my eyes,
my resolute feet.

My steps seem to follow
irresistible tracks,
invisible traces,
uncharted faultlines.

Memory maybe
from before my birth?
Destiny maybe
beyond my death?

Flagstone on flagstone,
the story unfolds
beneath my breath,
my dexterous fingers.

Christina Egan © 2015

Straight Roman road with ruins and trees to the left and right, in the dusk

I begin the year with a Roman road for the third time round!

I do not speak of natural or magical force fields but of manmade structures; however, these are imbued with destiny, in that people were meant to build them, move along them, or return to them… perhaps even after thousands of years.

Roman road in Carthage, Tunisia. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014

The City Lit Up

The City Lit Up

I lived between Ilex and Salix,
just north of Londinium Town,
and sometimes I climbed to the moss-well
between the oaks and looked down.

I looked at the thatch and the roof-tiles,
as red as the embers beneath,
I looked at the timber and marble,
the highways connecting the heath,

the gates, the walls and the broad bridge,
the fields afloat on the clay;
and I wondered if London would stretch
as vast as the valley one day,

Pond in park, surrounded by bare trees, with tiny island

as vast as Rome, which had risen
from marshes and slopes long ago,
with columns touching the heavens
because the gods willed it so;

and if Rome could ever be shrinking
and sinking into the bog,
or London be burning or flooding
and melting into the fog…

The city lit up in the sunset
and faded away in the dusk;
I felt the chill in the oak-wood,
and down to my villa I rushed.

I entered the gate by the willows
and strode through the dolphins’ yard,
I passed the flickering torches
and stopped by my forefathers’ hearth.

Roman mosaic of a mansion

My name was Appius Felix,
an heir to Aeneas of Troy;
I kept the seals and the idols
to pass them on to my boy.

I used the sword and the saddle,
I held the lyre and quill.
I lived between Ilex and Salix,
at the foot of the Moss-Well Hill.

Christina Egan © 2016


As you can see from the 100-metre-high summit of the Muswell Hill, London does stretch for many miles nowadays, filling the valley to both sides of the meandering River Thames.

You will also notice that there are large patches of green everywhere, some of them left over from ancient marshland and woodland. If you know your way, you can walk across London through woods and meadows, across hills and along rivers for miles!

My Roman observer lives in modern-day Wood Green or Bounds Green, near fictitious hamlets or villas called Ilex (holly or oak) and Salix (willow or osier).

This man firmly believes that gods guard his city and his country and that spirits guard his home and his family. He pursues some useful career in the service of the Empire, but he is also a bit of a poet.

I named him Appius after the statesman of the Republic who had contributed so much to Rome’s infrastructure as well as intellectual life, and Felix because he counts himself lucky.


 

You can find more on Londinium’s fortifications at Ode to London Wall  and more about its straight or winding highways at Quo vadis?

Photographs: Country villa, late Roman mosaic, Bardo Museum, Tunis. —  Pond in Tottenham, North London. Christina Egan © 2014

On Crossing the City

On Crossing the City

Sometimes you want to get out of your life
as if off a draughty and noisy bus
and wander along the pavement for miles
round corners, expecting a revelation.

People in books get off on occasion
to escape a track of modest despair,
but you cannot remember where they end up,
presumably just on another bus.

Sometimes you wonder if you caught the right bus
or at the right time, or the right way round,
and if this hectic clockwork of movements
is determined by destiny or by dice.

Christina Egan © 2011

Amongst high, dark, buildings, lawns, trees in blossom, and in the middle, a red doubledecker bus.

 

For a German poem about the quest for meaning and happiness amidst the apparent confusion of a big, busy, city, see my previous post Zugewogen.

 

Photograph: London bus. Christina Egan © 2016