Schlaflied / Die Riesenschaukel

Schlaflied
(Spätherbst)

Blätter fallen,
Regen fällt,
langsam schlafen
geht die Welt.

Schlaf’ auch du nun,
Mutter wacht.
Gute Ruhe,
gute Nacht.

Nebel wallen
und verwehn,
Schnee wird fallen,

Stern wird stehn.
Schlaf’ auch du nun,
Engel wacht.
Gute Träume,
gute Nacht.

(Für Johannes)

Christina Egan © 2009


Die Riesenschaukel

Papa, Jakob, Julian
stoßen ihre Schaukel an,
Schaukel mit dem Riesenkorb
trägt sie von der Erde fort.

Sie schaukeln und schwingen,
sie jauchzen und singen,
hinauf, hinauf, hurra!

Mama, Jakob, Julian
stoßen ihre Schaukel an,
fliegen übern feinen Sand,
fliegen übern Waldesrand.

Sie steigen und sinken,
sie lachen und winken,
hinauf, hinauf, hurra!

(Für Julian und Jakob)

Christina Egan © 2009


You can of course substitute your own names in this song, for instance ‘Vati, Klaus und Peter nun’ or ‘Mutti und Elisabeth’. Perhaps you can find tunes, too!

Daedalus on the Battlements

Daedalus on the Battlements

You drag your baggage through the crowd,
and from the loud and glaring maze
you spill into the heavy haze
of autumn fog and stifling fumes,
into a tube you crawl through tubes,
into a bullet aimed at space –

You soar, you blink, anticipate
some mellow light, some subtle blues –
And then you float above the dunes
of salty sand, the plains of ice,
the shadow of a sheet of cloud –
You sail above the blazing skies!

Christina Egan © 2016


Another return to Greece with winter sunshine even before I arrived: a sunset above the clouds! — Daedalus escaped the labyrinth by flying from its walls; the flaming sun plays a key role in this myth. 

You may get the sense of this poem quite well in a translation software.

A Patterned Carpet

Silk cloth dominated by vivid pinks and greens.A Patterned Carpet
(July Tanka)

A patterned carpet,
the city is unrolling
between the bus stops…
I roll it up in my eye
and send it on to a friend.

*

Fountain in round basin in park, flanked by large flowerpots

Clouds, high in the sky,
saturated with sunshine,
rapidly drifting –
like currents across oceans,
like thoughts across continents.

Christina Egan © 2012

 

 

The idea of the big city as a woven carpet is  also pursued in the German poem Geflechte.

Photographs: Silk cloth from Madagascar. © The Trustees of the British Museum. — Schloßgarten Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.

The Spell of Spring

The Spell of Spring

Japanese laquer picture: two flying geese above river in gold, full moon in silver.When seven geese arise and fly
in magic patterns through the sky,
the silver rings of cloud will blush,
the orb of sparse young green glow lush.

When seven geese cry out and glide
from wintertide to summertide,
we’ll pass an arbour like an arch
and be transformed by mighty March!

You have become my you, and I,
your you, and our hearts float high,
when seven geese sail out of sight
into the secrets of the night.

Christina Egan © 2015

Image from: Japan nach Reisen und Studien by J. J. Rein (1881-86). Provided by the British Library through Flickr.

Eat the World (When you get older)

Eat the World

When you get older,
you want to eat the world
for breakfast.

Colourful ancient glass window, prophet in red hat, red shoes, green cloak.When you get older,
you want to consult the radiant prophets
in the high sky-blue windows,
to soak up the tranquil cathedrals
of soaring silvery tree-trunks,
before the acid turns all of this
into sooty ruins.

You want to sprint to the station tonight
and jump on the train, shooting
through tunnels, under the city,
under the ocean, under the mountains,
through to the other side of the earth!

You want to slip into sleek capsules
to float up slopes, up skyscrapers,
up cliffs, up lighthouses,
up towards the clouds and
through the clouds!

When you get older,
you feel as if you could almost fly
into the sun already.

Christina Egan © 2017

Photograph: Prophet Hosea, window in Augsburg Cathedral, around 1100. By Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Sambation

Sambation

O daß der Mühlenräderlärm der Plätze
verrauschte wie ein Sommerwolkenbruch,
das grelle purzelnde Geröll der Menge
versiegte in der Großstadtstraßenschlucht,

auf daß das Flußbett sich durchwandern ließe
an Pforten, Traufen, Blumentrog vorbei
und nur die Schwalbe in die Stille stoße,
hoch, froh, mit Sichelflug und Silberschrei.

O daß die Lichterstrecken, Lichterhaufen
verblaßten wie das Nordlicht überm Meer,
auf daß die Sterne aus dem Dunkel tauchten
wie ein mit Bronze überglänztes Heer!

Christina Egan © 2017


The mythical river Sambation at the edge of the known world cannot be crossed because it is wild and full of mud and rocks — or even consists of rocks instead of water.

Here, the busy streets of a big city are experienced as a ravine full of tumbling stones, while the screech like grinding millstones; by night, the galaxies of lamplights drown the stars.

The opposite images are the quiet riverbeds of empty streets; the silent sky punctuated by the flight and cry of a swallow; and then the stars re-emerging…

This poem will be published in the German-language calendar Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019 (available from mid-August).

Auf dem Purpurteppich / Royal Purple Rug

Passionflower with bee, colours inverted to create psychedelic purple structure.Auf dem Purpurteppich der Musik

Auf dem Purpurteppich der Musik,
dichtbepflanzt mit immergoldnen Ranken
und mit himmelfarbner Saat bestickt,
flieg’ ich ohne Angst und ohne Schranken!

Denn der Purpurteppich der Musik
trägt uns mächtiger als die Gedanken
über Wogen, Wolken und zurück,
löst uns Leib wie Geist von allen Banden…

Christina Egan © 2014

 

Passionflower, colours inverted to psychedelic purple tones.On the Royal Purple Rug of Music

On the royal purple rug of music,
thick with tendrils, ever-golden, high,
strewn with seeds the colour of the sky,
limitlessly, fearlessly, I fly!

For the royal purple rug of music
raises us, more powerful than thought,
carries us away, aloft, abroad,
frees both mind and body, frail and fraught…

Christina Egan © 2017


You can find another poem about the incomparable power of music at Quest / Suche  (in English and German). Music is not disembodied; it is palpable and all-pervading.

When I described music as a flying carpet, I was thinking of the deep red of oriental rugs, which in German is called ‘purple’; but the English idea of a lilac ‘purple’ is also very appropriate for music.

Photographs: Passionflower with bee; Passionflower with fruit; colours inverted. Christina Egan © 2016.