Der Knauf / Schnellgeschrieben

Der Knauf

Schon viele haben Blumen dir gepflückt,
von Löwenzahn bis hin zu Feuerlilien,

vielleicht auch mancher einen Edelstein –
doch niemand pflückte je dir einen Stern.

Und wenn ich tausend Jahre leben muß,
und wenn ich tausend Jahre lieben muß:

Ich hole dir den kupferfarbnen Knauf
vom ungeheuren Sternengittertor

zur dämmerdunkelblauen Seligkeit
und leg ihn sanft in deine hohle Hand.

Christina Egan © 2012


Schnellgeschrieben

Sterne ans Firmament zu setzen ist mir ein Leichtes:
Funkelnde Verse schleif flink ich mit sicherer Hand.
Sterne hingegen vom Himmel zu greifen geschieht nur im Traume:
Sprühende Küsse erhascht selten der federnde Fuß.

Christina Egan © 2016


In The Knob, the person wants to pick for her beloved one something better than a flame-coloured flower, better than a sparkling gem: a copper-coloured star!

In the distichon Written Quickly, the poet states that she can easily put stars up, that is, her verse, but rarely picks stars, that is, kisses, other than in dreams…

These poems would not work in a translation software because the first one invents words and the second one jumbles up the word order, like the ancients did.

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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!

Fewer Things!

Fewer Things!

We need to churn out fewer words,
we need to burn out fewer lamps,
we need to fashion fewer things,
Roman_bowl_01_MusLon
but those, of perfect elegance:

a shallow bowl with turned-out rim,
just like a pale and slender hand;
a silver ring with single stone,
as if the sky and moon descend. 

Christina Egan © 2013

Jar, elegantly curved, with brown and blue glaze.

 

Roman bowl. Photograph from the
website of the Museum of London.

See also my musings on the little
Mesopotamian jar, Glazed Clay.

Assyrian jar, glazed pottery. Photograph:
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

dans le verre / Mother-of-Pearl

dans le verre

Glass screen with patterns in black, white and gold, resembling surf and seagulls.les couleurs de la mer
sont versées dans le verre
du présent du souvenir
faites-les resurgir

les couleurs de la mer
de l’argent jusqu’au vert
améthyste et saphir
laissez-les reluire

dans ce vers

Christina Egan © 2016


Mother-of-Pearl

The sea is not blue,
no more is the sky:
that is a child’s view,
a picture-book’s lie.

Whenever the rainbow
touches the sea,
it sprinkles a faint glow
of eternity.

From indigo ink,
to raspberry pink,
with peppermint green
and gold-leaf between…

The sea is not blue,
or grey of some hue:
the sea is a swirl
of mother-of-pearl!

Christina Egan © 2016


Photograph: ‘Rhizome’. Sculpture by Laurence Bourgeois (Lô).
Verse pattern of French poem after Jean-Yves Léopold (J. Y. L.).

Der bunte Staub / The Multi-Coloured Dust

Der bunte Staub

Der bunte Staub auf meinem Fensterbrett
– ein Häufchen Blütenblätter, ausgebleicht –
verwandelt sich im Abendsonnenlicht
in einen Schatz, dem kein Geschmeide gleicht.

Christina Egan © 2014

Little vase with flowers in lemon yellow, pale blue, deep pink and red; some petals scattered beneath; garden in background.

The Multi-Coloured Dust

The multi-coloured dust flocks on my desk 
– a heap of petals fading gradually –
gets now transformed by sunshine from the West
into a hoard surpassing jewellery.

Christina Egan © 2015

You can also find petals decaying to dust in the
German hymn Spiritum Sanctum vivificantem.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013

On the Volcano’s Rim

On the Volcano’s Rim

Goldstaub
(Lanzarote)

Hoher blauer Himmel,
weißer Wolkenflug,
ungestüme Winde,
rascher Schattenzug

über rote Halden,
über graue Höhn,
über grüne Matten,
wo schon Sterne stehn:

abertausend Blüten
wie ein Frühlingslied,
Goldstaub, den die Sonne
aus dem Erdreich zieht!

Christina Egan © 2015

Gold Dust
(Lanzarote)

Blue sky, ever higher,
white clouds in full flight,
winds wilful and forceful,
swift change of the light

across the red boulders,
across the grey height,
across the green lichen,
where stars tremble bright:

a flourish of flowers
and spring in a splash,
the gold dust the sun
can draw out of the ash!

Christina Egan © 2015

Dreaming Dragon
(Lanzarote)

Dew-drops sparkling in all colours
on the mighty coal-black craggy
shoulder of a dreaming dragon:
so these tiny tender flowers
perch on the volcano’s terrace –
fire, earth and wind distilled
to a dainty dotted quilt.

Ceaseless gales and sleepless fire,
ashes fed with salty dew –
ocean and volcano brew
flora’s early, lacy layer,
magic carpet in the air,
in the boundless brown and blue…
Dreams are real. Dreams come true.

Christina Egan © 2015

The Hoard
(Lanzarote)

As the mountain bears the flower,
as the giant holds the gem,
so the hour bears my poem:
purple speck on silver stem.

Where a myriad wild flowers
sprout behind the dry-stone wall,
I must gather all my powers
till the heavens hear my call.

Christina Egan © 2015

Valentine on the Volcano
(Lanzarote)

We dance on the volcano’s rim –
although its low and sunken side,
although extinct for centuries –
tossed partly by the wild wind’s whim
and partly drunk with liquid life –
suspended over sky-blue seas!
(I found my love above Teguise!)

Christina Egan © 2015

Plain and mountain range with very dark surfaces, rosy clouds in sky

The little volcano. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2015

These lines all sprang from one of the greatest experiences of my life: climbing a little volcano on the isle of Lanzarote, about which you can find a poetic description in German and English at Isle of Bliss / Insel der Seligkeit.

Gold Dust and The Hoard could equally be set in my native Rhön Mountains, also of volcanic origin, but very far inland and much greener.

The three poems in English only may work quite well in an automatic translator. The first two poems are translations of each other, or rather, parallel creations in German and English, where rhythm and rhyme required some changes in wording. It is better to do it this way, since the message is partly conveyed by rhythm and rhyme!

You could leave out the line in brackets to use the poem for a Valentine’s or anniversary card. Copy that line, though, into your list of places to see — both little towns, Teguise and Costa Teguise, because one has got the history and the other one the beach!

This handful of poems almost sums up my work: they describe plants and mountains and the sea; they refer to most basic colours; conclude with thoughts on art and religion and love; and use the beauty of language to capture the beauty of the world.

Über alle Hoffnung

Über alle Hoffnung

Fürchte nicht der Tage Neige,
nicht der Kräfte bittern Schwund,
denn der Gott des Lebenshauches
birgt das ganze Erdenrund.

Fürchte nicht der Freunde Ende,
nicht einmal das eigne Grab,
denn der Gott der Engelheere
steigt mit dir zur Nacht hinab.

Hinter allen Schattentälern
wartet unverrückt das Licht,
denn der Gott der Sternenfernen
hält zuletzt, was er verspricht,

und er wird dich neu beleben,
dich als sprühendschönen Stein
über alle Hoffnung heben,–
Alles Glück wird unser sein.

Christina Egan © 2015

This poem declares that after bitter
death, a new life is prepared for us,
a happiness surpassing hope. –
It could be turned into a hymn.