Haltbare Rose

Haltbare Rose

Wenn ich mit einer Rose um dich würbe,
gewölbt, gefüllt, gedrängt und überfließend,
mit ihrer Gegenwart den Raum versüßend,
so wüßte ich, daß sie im Nu dir stürbe.
Und wenn ihr eine Faserblume gliche,
burgunderrot und makellos gewoben,
so wäre sie zwei Jahre todenthoben
und höchstens drei, bevor sie ganz verbliche.
Und wenn ich eine Bronzeblume fände,
so wäre doch ein Feuersturm ihr Ende,
in dem ihr unverrückter Glanz verglühe.
Ich schicke dir statt aller dieser Rosen
nur dies Gedicht, das deine Lippen kosen,
auf daß es bis zum Jüngsten Tage blühe.

Christina Egan © 2016

Advert reading "Long lasting flowers: Infinity Roses: 2-3 Jahre haltbar".This sonnet was inspired by an advertisement in a shop window: ‘Infinity Roses’, guaranteed to last two to three years. I found this hilarious: most love stories, which one naturally believes to be forever, last at most that long. Then they get cast away just like an artificial rose.

My idea was that a real flower lasts only a few days; an imitation of fabric or plastic (the German word leaves the material open) lasts only a few years; and even a sculpture of bronze might perish in a fire one day. A poem, however, may outlive them all! (The question whether the love will outlive them all remains.) Instead of kissing the poet, the beloved one turns the lines of the poem over on his or her lips. Well, that’s something at least…


Noch immer blühend

Ich lieb’ dich insgeheim schon seit drei Jahren,
was eine ungeheure Leistung ist –
von dir, der du noch immer blühend bist!
Ich bin berückt, und niemand darf’s erfahren.
Man will ja auch nichts Falsches offenbaren:
Ich liebe dich schon seit drei Jahren halb,
das macht dann immerhinque anderthalb.
Man muß zuweilen mit der Neigung sparen.
Wir sind sogar persönlich schon bekannt.
Zählst du wohl auch…? Drei Stunden insgesamt!
Drei Meter nur, dann einen Meter fort –––
Ich schicke, Liebster, dir zum Unterpfand
Nur eine rote Rose durch das Land:
Schau auf, steh auf und küß mich ohne Wort.

Christina Egan © 2017


This sonnet takes up the thought of Haltbare Rose in a satirical fashion: The woman has been in love with the man for three years already – but only half, which she counts as one-and-a half years!

Photograph: Shop window in Berlin. Christina Egan © 2016.

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A Window will be Thrust Open

A Window will be Thrust Open

A window will be thrust open
where you forgot there was one,
a glow as of noon will be thrown
over your working hands, over your tired face.

You will look into the mirror
and find upon yourself the gaze of an absent one,
you will look into the eyes of a stranger
and find there your face as if steeped in sunset.

halkett_1938_ohnetitelYou will run down the road
to overtake your shadow,
you will push through all your doubts
to hold that hand, to clasp it tight.

Christina Egan © 2003

 

No title. René Halkett (1938).
Image with kind permission
of Galerie Klaus Spermann.

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.

restloslächeln

restloslächeln

von dem blütengesicht
wendest du dich ab
vor der glockenstimme
läufst du davon

denn du willst dich nicht
wundsehnen
nie mehr willst du dich
krankfragen

es ist dir zu teuer das
restloslächeln
zu gefährlich ist dir das
endlosküssen

und dein eignes blütengesicht
versteckst du sorgfältig
samt deiner glockenstimme
in deinem kopfkissen.

Christina Egan © 2012


Observations of the fear of love, the fear of falling in love, the flight from a person you would love to love…

In German, you can more easily invent new words which will be written in one word: here, it is ‘making yourself sore with longing’, ‘making yourself ill with asking’, ‘smiling without leftover’, and ‘kissing without end’. Occasionally, German is more concise than English!

Get Up and Follow Me

Get Up and Follow Me

Love sometimes does  pass our little lives
and stops and speaks: Get up and follow me.
We look, look up, into each other’s eyes,
get up, leave all and follow hand in hand.
There is a love that’s larger than the sun,
it knows the shade, the night, it knows no end,
it’s definite and infinite, it flows
through our hearts, till two are truly one.

Christina Egan © 2000


These lines were inspired by the biblical stories of Jesus calling his followers, who literally got up, left everything behind and — followed him. Just imagine you are getting up from your desk this minute to walk out of your life!

I wrote this poem for my own wedding and recommend it also for anniversaries; a long time together is not eternity yet, but a great achievement and a great gift. Perhaps you could even use it for Valentine’s Day.

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

Red Balloon

Red Balloon


In the crowd,
in the too early dark,
the enveloping damp, I rush,
crush onto the red bus, and there,
on the front bench, you are, as if waiting
for me, or at least hoping for me, with a smile,
a wide warm smile, just like the one you gave me
nineteen years ago, with the same smooth oval face;
and our words change the day into a string of pearls,
change the city into a cluster of colourful balloons;
in the damp dark evening, I feel the sun rising,
feel a breeze rising, taking my heart with it,
like a little red balloon, weightless,
into shadeless heights, we are
two bouncing balloons
on a red bus!
And
I love you
so





Christina Egan © 2016

This little story may work in a translation software.
There is also a wedding or anniversary poem about a

Yellow Balloon !