Grand Canyon Psalm


Grand Canyon Psalm

I.

Nothing prepares you
for the heart of the world
lying open before you:
luminous layers
of rosy rock,
jagged and rounded,
leading down, down,
right into the earth.

In the silver silence
of night, you hear
how this heart beats:
it trembles and rumbles,
it nudges your bedstead,
unsettles your cottage,
reminds you of death
and life and the earth.

Undulating layers of pink and mauve rocks and peaks, with trees in the foreground.

II.

Nothing prepares you
for the ear of the world,
always wide open,
always upturned,
listening out
for the thud of the pine-cones,
the dance of the deer hooves,
the chant of the milky-way.

You have arrived
at the mouth of the world,
its voice of thunder,
its eloquent silence.
Here you stand, struck,
quiet at long last,
as tiny as an ant,
anointed like a king.

Christina Egan © 2018

 

A tiny fraction of the immense expanse of the Grand Canyon.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2008.

Im Stand der Sehnsucht

Im Stand der Sehnsucht

Ob ich einst im Stand der Gnade sterbe,
ob im Stand der Sünde, steht dahin.
Eins nur ist gewiß: Als Kind der Erde
suche ich in Stein und Blume Sinn,

setze meine Hoffnung auf die Wogen,
werfe meine Sehnsucht in den Wind,
baue meinen eignen Regenbogen –
eines ungestümen Strebens Kind!

Leben will ich, leben, eh‘ ich sterbe,
Träume kneten in den Teig der Zeit,
denn ich bin ein Kind der reichen Erde
und der reinen fernen Ewigkeit.

Christina Egan © 2011

Under the Blue Bloom of the Tree

Under the Blue Bloom of the Tree

Under the blue bloom of the tree,
O little mouse, I buried thee.
I heard thee often run until
I saw thee lying, small and still.
So high the sky, so late the light
ascending to midsummernight…
The deep warm earth is now thy bed,
with snow-white petals for a spread.
Fresh spikes of lavender I chose
and last, a minuscule red rose.
Tonight, the ceanothus tree
will scatter sky-blue dust on thee.

Christina Egan © 2017

White and coloured petals on the ground, beneath ceanothus and carnation.

The mouse grave in the poem. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

Der Erde Auge / Dragon Island

Der Erde Auge
(Kaali, Estland)

Hier ist der Wald nur Wimpernkranz
um jadegrünen Augenglanz,
der immer träumt
und immer wacht,
der nimmer weint
und nimmer lacht.

Der Erde Auge schaut hinauf
in tausendfachen Sternenlauf:
Ein schwarzer Stein
mit Feuerschweif
schlug donnernd ein
und schuf den Teich.

Und um den runden Kraterrand
gehn hundert Menschen still gebannt:,
Sie schlendern her
zu eitlem Schaun
und schreiten schwer
in grünem Traum.

Berührt vom fernen Sternenschlag
sind tausend Jahre wie ein Tag.
Die Sonne fülllt
das Himmelsrund,
und urgrün quillt
der Augengrund.

Christina Egan © 2016


Dragon Isle
(Iceland)

Dark is the mid-morning sky,
shaded the treeless land,
granite the road of the sea,
burnt the abandoned strand.

Dragons looming like hills
have stirred from a century’s daze
to spew some sparks and some ash
before they set glaciers ablaze.

Christina Egan © 2010


The first poem, ‘The Earth’s Eye’ describes a startlingly green and perfectly circular lake in Estonia — a timeless, mythical place, caused by a meteorite crashing several thousand years ago, but within human memory.

The second poem was inspired by the news of a volcanic eruption on Iceland. Mythical creatures take on real life: not that hills look like dragons, no, dragons disguise themselves as hills…

I have also written a sonnet about the twin crater lakes of Sete Cidades (Azores). and a number of poems about the volcanoes of Lanzarote (Canaries).