Beginenhof in Ghent

Beginenhof in Ghent

wie finde ich sie wieder
die reihen schwarzer türen
die zu den treppengiebeln
und tulpenbäumen führen

Gate into cobblestone lane with white walls, black doors, and red buildings behind.wie kann ich sie entdecken
die schlichten weißen mauern
die um erblühnde hecken
und rote häuser dauern

gewunden sind die gassen
versperrt von breiten flüssen
geborsten ist das pflaster
und meine schuh zerschlissen

wo nisten die gestalten
in schwarz und weißen trachten
wie hundert flinke schwalben
über den grauen grachten

wo sind die schönen schriftzüge
die weiß auf schwarz verkünden
die heiligen drei könige
wärn manchmal anzufinden

wie finde ich sie wieder
die schweren blanken türen
die durch bestirnte lieder
ins glühnde schweigen führen

Christina Egan © 2018

Two heavy black wooden doors in a white brick wall, with inscriptions as below.

“House of the Three Wise Men” (Three Holy Kings, in other languages) and “House Jesus, Mary, Joseph” at a former Beguinage in Ghent (Klein Begijnhof).

This was a type of convent where the sisters were allowed to go out and also to leave after each year of service. I imagined the story of a woman who wants to rejoin the community and for some reason ‘cannot find it any more’.

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2018.

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geh aus mein herz

geh aus mein herz

die braunen bauklotzhäuser
mit farbenkastentüren
die weißen blütenkelche
die sich versonnen rühren

im wind aus samt und seide
die schweren purpurrosen
in Salomonis kleide
die deine finger kosen…

der sommer will dich füllen
die erde lädt dich ein
zu laufen und zu schaffen
zu schauen und zu
sein

Christina Egan © 2011


Salomonis Seide

In Purpur zog der Kaiser einst,
in Scharlachrot der Kardinal,
in Violett die Kaiserin
in einen grüngeschmückten Saal.

So prunken die Geranien
in ihrer Sommerprozession
und rufen in das Gartenrund:
“Wir übertrumpfen Salomon!”

Christina Egan © 2014


The appeal ‘Go out and seek joy’ and the metaphor of King Solomon’s silk are taken from the jubilant hymn and folksong Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud, written by Paul Gerhardt in the middle of the 17th century.

The houses in uniform dull colours with front doors in different bright colours are typical for London. So are the little private gardens with geraniums.

The first poem is contemplative and intense, the second one humorous and light. The last line of the first poem is cut up on purpose: to let the word ‘to be’ resound on its own.


For an English poem about the pageant of summer see Lilac and Lime.

 

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.

Orange Beads

Orange Beads

I.

I nod to the flower
the colour of dark wine
stalks and spikes that tower
above my legs and spine

twin doors an orange spill
the only one in town?
why is my own door still
an ordinary brown?

O sweet day!

II.

All these parallel roads
the orange doors are where?
again the suburb soaks
in sunshine hello there!

they smile and say hello
all else though stays behind
their sturdy frames and so
I keep my orange find

two bright beads

III.

The hawthorn turns orange
the blackberry turns black
mingling at the park’s fringe
behind the cycle track

the sky is blue as if
this were a normal state
as if we could just live
beyond the iron gate

of summer

Christina Egan © 2016


In London, you can find many front doors painted in red, blue, or green, but I had never spotted an orange one. I have mentioned a striking yellow door elsewhere. I usually go out without a camera, but I capture impressions with my pen!

There are so many green spaces in London that you can walk through parkland for hours. To find blackberries and hawthorns tucked between a duck pond and a little copse is quite normal in this vast city of over eight million people.

The verse pattern is borrowed from the French poet, Jean-Yves Léopold, who does not have a website. Eight short rhymed lines, almost without punctuation, are followed by a ninth line which is even shorter and does not rhyme at all, so it stands out.

gesternmuster / Zeit-Räume

A dozen beads of gold, lapis lazuli, cornelian.gesternmuster
(Knossos)

die kolossalen säulen
der stolzen pinien
jener erhabene baldachin
der schutz vor der sonnenflut bietet

die schwarzen weißen blutroten pfeiler
im heiteren palastlabyrinth
jene flecke in einem gesternmuster
das jahrtausendealt ist

Christina Egan © 2016

This is a translation of The pattern of a yesterday . At that post, you can find some photos and a link to an artistic impression of the palace 3,500 years ago.

Photograph: Minoan beads from Crete in gold, lapis lazuli, cornelian, ca. 1700-1500 BC. – © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Zeit-Räume
(Knossos)

Terrassen, Treppen, rote Säulen
zwischen himmelhohen Bäumen,
Marmorschwellen, rote Wände,
um die Ecken neue Treppen…

Wie im Traume muß man wandern
durch die Höfe, durch die Säle,
durch die Wärme, durch die Kühle,
still von einem Raum zum andern…

Schlanke Bäume, schlanke Menschen
stehn vor heitrem Himmel drinnen
in den buntbemalten Zimmern
heute wie vor tausend Jahren.

Keine Läden vor den Fenstern,
in den Türen keine Flügel,
keine Grenzen zwischen Innen,
Außen, Unten oder Oben,

keine Pforten zwischen Heute,
Gestern oder Vorvorgestern
zwischen einem bunten Zeit-Raum
unter Pinien und dem andern.

Christina Egan © 2016

There’s Door on Door

There’s Door on Door

There’s door on door of painted wood
with potted plants and polished brass,
there’s row on row of gabled roofs,
there’s brick and plaster, hedge and grass.

There’s floor on floor of balconies,
above the din, above the dust,
inclusive of commodities,
there’s stone and concrete, steel and glass.

There’s door on door, there’s floor on floor,
but not for me, but not for me –
there’s brick and brass, there’s steel and glass,
exclusive of humanity.

There’s door on door, there’s floor on floor,
but not for us, but not for us –
one has a sofa in a store,
one has an archway in the dust.

Christina Egan © 2015

Winter Views from the Bus

Winter Views from the Bus

*

Pink watering cans
lying flat in the drizzle,
dreaming undisturbed.

*

The yellow front door
in the long row of houses:
It stands out. It smiles.

*

The moon, veiled in mist,
floats in the darkness above
the bright white clockface.

*

Christina Egan © 2012

I was looking at the clocks of St Pancras Station at
King’s Cross, but you could equally observe Big Ben.

There is no ‘London fog’ any more since coal fires were
outlawed — 
yet there are still a lot of mist and fumes…

In northern countries, there is very little colour in winter,
so you need to look out for splinters of colour and rejoice!