La Mer, enfin

La Mer, enfin
(Cimetière marin, Sète)

Ô vagues de vers sincères et idolâtres…
Ce vaste pan de verre d’un vert bleuâtre
Entre cieux et ombres suspendu,
Et cet essaim neigeux de tombes en marbre
Parmi les flammes géantes noires des arbres :
La Mer, enfin. J’ai vu et j’ai vécu.

Ces fleurs en bas, comme lèvres entrouvertes,
Impérissables certes, mais inertes,
Moulues de cet argile du Midi ;
Ces fleurs en haut, rosées et scintillantes,
Ces tressaillantes et minces, mais vivantes !
Le Cimetière. J’ai vu et j’ai écrit.

Christina Egan © 2016

Light-blue sky and light-green ocean in the background, white tombs in the foregrund; in the front, a flat marble slabs decorated with two large pink flowers, one in clay and one in plastic.

 

Paul Valéry’s tomb on the Cimetière marin, which has become famous through his poem. It is shown and played all day in the neighbouring art museum erected as a homage to him.

These lines are closely related to Valéry’s. The durable but lifeless flowers are of clay and plastic; the perishable but living ones blossom on the bushes around. My picture and poem were created in early January!

An automatic translation into English may convey the meaning of  my French homage to Valéry quite well — but not the music of the words!

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016

Le tesson / The Shard

Le tesson

En février givré, je fouille
les feuilles mortes pour des fleurs
modestes et fortes et courageuses :
soldats contre la froideur

ou des pierres précieuses
éparpillées en bas, fragments
pâlis de la Cité Céleste
que quelques éblouis attestent.

Parfois, une sphère lumineuse
me frappe, vive mais tranquille :
plutôt que le premier bouton
ton œil est le tesson qui brille.

Christina Egan © 2017

A pair of mauve crocusses, wide open, in bright sunlight, with honey-bee hovering above.

The Shard

In frosty February, I scour
decaying leaves for the first flower:
some modest soldiers, strong and bold
against the kingdom of the cold,

or precious stones on muddy ground,
some faded fragments of the round
of Heavenly Jerusalem,
that dazzling more-than-real realm.

At times a circle full of light,
as calm as lively, strikes my sight:
but rather than spring’s early guard
your eye is the resplendent shard.

Christina Egan © 2017


For a German and English parallel poem about the first spring flowers, go to my previous post, King Spring / König Frühjahr.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.
Crocusses with honey-bee, captured in London in mid-February!

Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars

The darker the night,
the stronger the stars,
the fiercer the fight
of Venus and Mars.

They fight not each other
but darkness and cold,
they each hold a banner
embroidered with gold.

The later the hour,
the likelier dawn,
with fire and flower
in splendour reborn!

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem takes up my thoughts about the elements in the previous post: here, the male and female principles are involved in a common struggle rather than a struggle against each other.

‘Dawn’ refers to the dawn of the new year in early spring as much as to the time of the day; and springtime is even more unpredictable than daylight, precisely in a northern country.

Palmenhaus / Palm House

Bright red koi fish coming out from underneath curved green bridge across pond

250 poems!


Palmenhaus am Wolfsweg –
Palm House at Wolves Lane

Huge banana leaf, bright green above bright green bridgeSattgrüne Segel,
wölben sich die Palmblätter
hier im Gewächshaus.

*

Green sails, filled with light,
with sap, the palm leaves billow
here in the greenhouse.

***

Tiny waterfall behind little red bridgeBlütentrompeten
antworten dem Wasserfall:
Kannst du’s vernehmen?

*

The flutes of flowers
answering the waterfall:
can you perceive it?

***

Turtle in pond under palm-trees

Dieser Tümpel ist
dem Schöpfer ein Tropfen,
der Schildkröte die Welt.

*

This round pond is
a drop to the Creator,
the world to the turtle.

***

Two koi fish in bright yellow and bright orange; dark water reflecting white sky and structure of glass-houseIm schwarzen Wasser
das Spiegelspiel des Himmels,
der Blitz des Goldfischs.

*

In the black water
quivering of heavens,
lightning of a goldfish.

***

Birght red koi fish coming out from underneath curved green bridge across pondAus nachtgleichem Naß
unter der grünen Brücke
schießt der rote Fisch.

*

From the night-like wet,
from under the bright-green bridge
the red fish shoots out.

***

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013
German texts: Christina Egan © 2014
English texts: Christina Egan © 2015

Oktoberbilder

Oktoberbilder

I.

Die weiche Luft wie weißes Brot…
Das erste volle Herbstesrot
hängt überm frischgetränkten Gras.
Die Sonne bleibt durch Dunst versperrt,
doch Astern sprühn ihr Feuerwerk,
und Rosen quellen ohne Maß –
O erdgeborne Sternenpracht,
die uns am hellen Tage lacht,
o buntes Bild auf grauem Glas!

II.

Der Himmel ist mit Blau behaucht,
die Gärten neu in Gold getaucht,
mit Gelb getränkt schon manches Laub;
und selbst das Blatt, das sterbend schwebt,
ist kupferrot wie frischerregt.
Noch einmal kost das Licht die Haut…
Das Windrad saust, die Wolke fliegt,
ein weißer Blütenball zerstiebt –
Zuletzt wird jedes Ding zu Staub.

Christina Egan © 2015

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.

This Day of June


My 100th post!


This Day of June

zenith of the sun
semaphore of summer

the day when the flowers start melting
into fruit into
seed

the day when the very stones come alive
with lichen with
light

this day of June is yours
this day of June is you

Christina Egan © 2012

Top of wall covered with lichen and tree with patchy bark, mirroring each other.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014


I like to think of a human life as a sequel of seasons:
with glorious midsummer when one is a mature adult!
(‘Midsummer’ around solstice, ‘maturity’ around 35 to 45 years.)
This has also recently become the typical age for marriage
and parenthood. Also, most people now have long lives,
so having a chance to run the course of all seasons.

The two solstices are symbols of the cycles of nature:
at the highest point of the sun, heat and harvest are still to come,
but at the same time, the days are already getting shorter again…
Conversely, the lowest point of the sun sets off the period
of bitter cold and snow, but also of ever longer light and new buds.
The seasons are interlinked, as are all cycles of life and death.


The next post, A Quilt of Light and Shade, describes
the time around summer solstice in London, England.