Hollow Oak / feuerrad

Hollow Oak

Two round brooches with circular ornaments in gold and garnet, also glass and shell.Under the circle of branches,
under the tent of the tree,
inside the ring of the brambles,
sit on the roots with me!

Sit on the roots emerging
under the perfect round,
crouch by the tree-trunk surging
hollow from hallowed ground.

Under the circle of oak-leaves,
under the tent of the sky,
blue like the lakes in the valley,
come and sit closer by.

Very bright painting of the earth and universe in concentric circles on a golden background.Sheltered by tangled brambles,
held by the hollow oak,
tingled by ancient prayers,
kiss me and kindle hope!

Christina Egan © 2018

(Epping Forest, Essex)

 

feuerrad

das eichenlaub vergeht in goldesglanz
als sich das feuerrad der sonne senkt
die eiche hebt die wurzeln wie zum tanz
indes sie ihre hundert äste schwenkt

der eichenstamm rotiert als starke nabe
in jenem reigen zwischen tag und nacht
sein hohlraum bildet eine honigwabe
vom drachenzahn des brombeerstrauchs bewacht

die eiche streckt sich stolz am waldessaum
der sich zum wasserreichen tale neigt
wie gold und kupfer loht der alte baum
der tagstern sinkt das mondrund aber steigt

Christina Egan © 2018

(Epping Forest, Essex)


Illustrations: Anglo-Saxon disc brooches. Author: BabelStone [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons. — 12th century depiction of the world, illustrating a work by 11th century author Hildegard of Bingen.

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Schimmernder Streif

Schimmernder Streif

Ich weiß noch den Teich
zwischen Wiese und Wald,
offnem Meere und Land,
zwischen Süße und Salz,
wo die Dämmerung lang
und unsagbar weich
in den Baumwipfeln hing,
auf dem Wasser verging…

Jener silberne Teich
gleicht dem schimmernden Streif
der Musik, jenem Reich
zwischen Stille und Wort,
Empfindung und Ding,
zwischen Jenseits und Welt,
jenem Raum, der vergeht
und aufs neue ersteht…

Für Anton Bruckner

Christina Egan © 2017

This poem, like others in German and English, was inspired by one of the greatest landscapes I have seen: the strip of land called The Darß (Darss) in the south of the Baltic Sea.

The first stanza can be read as an impression of nature independently of the second, which compares it to Bruckner’s music, or indeed any music. Bruckner, in turn, is one of the greatest composers I know!

Glass Mountain (Potsdamer Platz)

Glass Mountain
(Potsdamer Platz)

Lights above you, lights around you,
shifting blue and mauve and pink,
lights below you, lights surround you,
pierce the black and loom and shrink.

Glass fronts of enormous silos
mask the dusk and stare and blink,
figures wander in the windows,
lifts in tubes float up and sink.

Water basins spread around you
shifting blue and mauve and pink,
glass roofs open in the ground, too,
names flare up in mirror print.

Glass façades and water fountain
multiply the hum and glint:
you have stepped inside a mountain,
you are trapped in steely pink,

trapped beside a thousand others,
lulled by murmur and gay tunes,
screened from sun and stars and weathers
by a tent-roof in sweet blues.

Futuristic glass buildings, pointed and rounded, illuminated in blue and pink; in the corner, old facade visible beneath.Then you see the stucco hover,
curling in a livid tint;
chandeliers unfurl and quiver;
then you hear the glasses clink…

Have you dreamt of the Titanic
or of old Potsdamer Platz?
No, this is the real relic,
the hotel that dodged the Blitz

and kept spinning through the nightmare
of the void swept by the wind –
sad and splendid sole survivor
under glass and neon pink.

Christina Egan © 2017

Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz, with old façade visible beneath the glass (here, in pink). Photograph: Pedelecs by Wikivoyage and Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

For a German poem on the old, vanished, Potsdamer Platz, look at the sonnet Nächster Halt: Potsdamer Platz.

The Green Dress / Im grasgrünen Kleid

The Green Dress

This green, this green! The purest of greens,
the softest of silk, the smoothest of greens!
It’s mellow and creamy –
and glossy and hard –
it’s distant and dreamy –
and sudden and sharp –
It’s got all the earth in it, fields in full plume,
the glow of the sun and the snow of the moon!
There’s birch in it, ivy –
there’s lemon and lime –
and oceans and icebergs –
and olives and pine –
And the lady beneath the shimmering screen
bears the soul of the earth in the secret of green!
In the gold of her hair
and the blue of her eyes,
in the lines of her limbs
and the flow of her voice
there’s the glow of the sun and the snow of the moon:
a creature of night and a creature of noon.

Christina Egan © 2009


Im grasgrünen Kleid

Ich stehe am Fenster und schaue hinaus,
und niemand bemerkt mein bescheidenes Haus,
und niemand bemerkt mein grasgrünes Kleid,
und niemand bedauert mein aschgraues Leid.

Die Dämmerung wogt, und es rauscht der Verkehr.
Ich stehe und schaue. Und niemand schaut her.
Zuletzt ist es still, und es rauscht nur die Zeit.
Ich weine allein in mein grasgrünes Kleid.

Und einst werd ich fort sein und einst sogar tot,
und nur dieses Liedlein bezeugt meine Not:
Mein Kleid wie der Sommer, mein Haar wie der Herbst,
mein Leben, das niemand als du, Leser, erbst.

Christina Egan © 2016


The woman in the green dress stands for life, fertility, plenty, joy — like the Green Man or Green Woman of ancient pagan traditions, I suppose…

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.

Der Knauf / Schnellgeschrieben

Der Knauf

Schon viele haben Blumen dir gepflückt,
von Löwenzahn bis hin zu Feuerlilien,

vielleicht auch mancher einen Edelstein –
doch niemand pflückte je dir einen Stern.

Und wenn ich tausend Jahre leben muß,
und wenn ich tausend Jahre lieben muß:

Ich hole dir den kupferfarbnen Knauf
vom ungeheuren Sternengittertor

zur dämmerdunkelblauen Seligkeit
und leg ihn sanft in deine hohle Hand.

Christina Egan © 2012


Schnellgeschrieben

Sterne ans Firmament zu setzen ist mir ein Leichtes:
Funkelnde Verse schleif flink ich mit sicherer Hand.
Sterne hingegen vom Himmel zu greifen geschieht nur im Traume:
Sprühende Küsse erhascht selten der federnde Fuß.

Christina Egan © 2016


In The Knob, the person wants to pick for her beloved one something better than a flame-coloured flower, better than a sparkling gem: a copper-coloured star!

In the distichon Written Quickly, the poet states that she can easily put stars up, that is, her verse, but rarely picks stars, that is, kisses, other than in dreams…

These poems would not work in a translation software because the first one invents words and the second one jumbles up the word order, like the ancients did.

December Date

December Date

The afternoon is royal blue,
Burning sparkler on black background, looking like a supernova!with tiny lights festooned,
I rush, I’m flushed, I look for you —
we never meet too soon!

The windows decked with evergreen,
with tinsel and with gold —
and there, my angel, genuine,
a candle in the cold!

Christina Egan © 2015

Photograph by Gabriel Pollard [CC BY-SA 2.5].
Featured picture on Wikimedia Commons.