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.

You Want to Read This Poem

You Want to Read This Poem

You want to read this poem
time or no time
rhyme or no rhyme.

You want to know
that your face is a flame
in the hidden temple
of someone else’s heart
trembling and steady.

You want to dwell
on the deep-blue dusk
of her dress
of her eyes
of her soul.

You want to believe
one last time
that three hours are enough
to fuel three years of delight
and from there three thousand.

You want to be sure
she will never be too close
never too far
like surges of birdsong
like surf.

You want to read this poem
as if it were a prayer
as if it were a promise.

Christina Egan © 2011


You Do Not Want to Read this Poem

You do not want to read this poem
however much sunlight
however much midnight.

You do not want to plough
through luminous ciphers
of your own beauty
you want to hear it in someone’s voice
you want to see it on someone’s lips.

You want to lift your eyes from the paper
onto her face
you want to lift your hand from the paper
onto her arm
let it rest.

You want to step through this poem
as if it were a secret gate
to the tiered garden
of an ancient manor house
you heard of in a novel.

You do not want a host of poems
a pavement of paper
a quilt of hopes
you want a host of moments
a quilt of memories.

You do not want to read this poem
you want sudden life
before the sun has sunk.

Christina Egan © 2011

Mer de miel

 Clouds in hte sunset, looking like a bright yellow sea, an orange coast and purple sky. An optic illusion above a real coast (not visible here).

Mer de miel
(Sète)

Levez vos yeux vers ce vitrail doré,
d’un jaune plus doux, d’un jaune plus pâle possible :
une baie cernée de hauts rochers
d’un bleu brumeux… Un crépuscule paisible.

Clignez vos yeux à ce vitrail distant,
mer de miel, montagne mauve, sauvage :
tout flotte au dessus de l’horizon –
des eaux de feu, une terre de nuages !

Ce paysage d’un or incomparable
s’évanouit et passe, une image…
Ou serait ça la côte impérissable
et notre terre et mer le grand mirage ?

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem takes up an idea from ancient pagan and Christian philosophy: our world may be only a pale reflexion of a higher, perfect, world. Those ‘heavens’, however, are an inaccessible and unimaginable place — beyond our universe — for which the visible sky is only an image.

The fiery sunset which took me quite literally ‘out of this world’ occurred in midwinter on one of the northernmost beaches of the Mediterranean, at the outskirts of Sète. For a daytime poem and photograph on the sea around Sète, see La Mer, enfin.

Clouds in the sunset, looking like a bright yellow sea, an orange coast and purple sky. An optic illusion above a real coast (also visible here).

Photographs: The sky above the coast in Sète, France. Christina Egan © 2016

Word Weaver

Word Weaver

More purple clouds than I can count
or weigh or paint for you
or snatch and send them underground
with some surrounding blue…

To one whose windows do not stretch
to spy the heaving sky,
I’ll weave my syllables to fetch
the purple passing by.

To one whose dusk and marble moon
are filtered through a rail,
I must thread silver on my loom
to leave a shiny trail.

I must request the best black silk
to mark the balmy dark…
By day I’ll stitch a roaring quilt
to catch the city’s heart!

Christina Egan © 2016

Drawing of the mechanics of a loom (yarn on rolls, without the frame)The poet describes the world to a prisoner who can barely see the majestic ever-changing sky and the bright busy city surrounding them. The sound and rhythm of the lines emulate the warp and weft of life, so that the words reflect the world — read the poem aloud and you will see!

The other person may be imprisoned by a totalitarian state or indeed by a democratic state, or locked up by their employers or indeed their own family, behind walls and perhaps under a garment. There are many millions of human beings who de facto are prisoners or slaves without being called so.

For poems about time (for instance ensuing generations) and space (for instance a big city) as a tissue, see my post Geflecht / Geflechte. All of civilisation and all of humanity is one web.

This is the Northern Land

This is the Northern Land

This is the northern land
of loose and juicy ground
where fern and forest glow
and wheat and fruit abound.

This is the continent
where mound responds to mound
and wind resounds on rock –
this is the home we found.

This is the realm of dusk
and star-embroidered night,
of fog caressing lakes…
and then the roaring light!

Christina Egan © 2013

Mountain meadow filling lower half of picture, high trees right behing and mountain range in the distance along the middle, pale blue sky above.

Dammersfeld mountain ridge, Rhön (Central German Highlands).
Two of my great-grandparents grew up with precisely this view. —
Photograph
 by GerritR via Wikimedia Commons.


 

This poem was inspired by the Czech national anthem, Kde domov muj, which entirely refrains from politics and warfare and mainly describes the lush landscape of Central Europe. The Czech Republic abounds with hills and lakes, forests and fields.

My lines cover the whole of Central Europe or the whole continent (including the British Isles): my home is my region, or my country, or Central Europe, or all of Europe — none more so than the other.

The claim that even those who were born there ‘found’ their land may sound strange: yet their ancestors did immigrate one day, even if it was a thousand years or two thousand ago. No one just grew out of the ground. Moreover, most people are arguably of mixed ethnic origin, in our case, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Jewish, Hungarian, and more. No nation is an island.

Theodor an Emilien

Theodor an Emilien

Mit tausend dicken weißen Kerzen
Prangt der Kastanienbaum am Tor;
Ich steh’ mit hoffnungshellem Herzen
Im späten Dämmer stumm davor.

Der Vogelsang ist längst versickert
Wie Silberspur ins Dunkelblau…
Doch aus dem Gutshaus tröpfelt, zittert,
Quillt das Klavier wie Abendtau.

Ich mach’ im hohen Gartensaale
Den flinken schlanken Schatten aus –
Und werf’ nach jenem Ankerpfahle
Mein Tau mit einem Male aus.

Christina Egan © 2016


 

The old-fashioned names and inflections signal that this is a scene which happened long ago, a romantic story from the times of Jane Austen, set in Germany. There is a true story behind it, and the ending is happy and sad: the young man waiting hopefully outside the manor house in the summer night, Ernst Theodor Echtermeyermarried Lady Emilie, and they had a child, but they both died very young.

May Haiku (Bruce Castle)

May Haiku
(Bruce Castle)

Glowing orange orbs,
cluster of new-born planets:
this year’s first roses!

*

Dusk, delayed, scented:
the earth emerged from the dark,
bedecked like a bride.

*

Below the half-moon
a low-flying aeroplane
slices up the sky.

*

The tower-clock strikes,
bright, as if an angel called:
Be alive! Alive!

Christina Egan © 2013

You can see a photo of Bruce Castle, Tottenham, London and read some similar poetry in German at Himmelblaue Uhr.