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

Gelbes Licht

Gelbes Licht

Statue of young man, unfinished, as if the figure were wrestling itself free of the stone.

I.

Du trittst aus dem Beton hervor,
als trätest du aus einer Wand
und durch ein großes goldnes Tor
in blühndes dufterfülltes Land…

Dabei ist’s bloß ein Platz, ein Park
und gelbes Licht und gelbes Laub;
doch wirst du wieder froh und stark
von etwas Wärme auf der Haut.

 

II.Table surface of bright yellow mosaic, with café chairs on the grass, sunlit.

O milder honiggoldner Wein
im Riesenkelch aus Bergkristall:
Noch fließt das Herbstlicht süß und rein.
O Augenblick! O Sonnenstrahl!

Noch fließt die Kraft, noch fließt der Trost,
solang der Himmel zaghaft blaut.
Man weiß nicht, was das Auge kost:
Ist’s gelbes Licht? Ist’s gelbes Laub?

Christina Egan © 2016


‘Young Slave’ by Michelangelo.  Photograph by Jörg Bittner Unna (own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

Roadside café in Morocco in midwinter. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012.


 

“Still the autumn light flows, sweet and pure… I felt it in England this afternoon, on top of a high building! Yet the line of the last pleasant sunshine is moving inexorably downwards from the northernmost regions through the temperate ones, its duration is shrinking, and so the space you can catch it at… When the light is lowest, though, it starts rising again, growing again.

By the way: “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning, and America will still be the greatest nation on Earth,” President Barack Obama announced during election night 2016. Not so: the United States have definitely exposed themselves not to be the greatest country on earth; and the sun would be darkened on an occasion like 9/11, or a nuclear bomb anywhere in the world, or a natural disaster due to technologies like fracking.

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.