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.

December Date

December Date

The afternoon is royal blue,
Burning sparkler on black background, looking like a supernova!with tiny lights festooned,
I rush, I’m flushed, I look for you —
we never meet too soon!

The windows decked with evergreen,
with tinsel and with gold —
and there, my angel, genuine,
a candle in the cold!

Christina Egan © 2015

Photograph by Gabriel Pollard [CC BY-SA 2.5].
Featured picture on Wikimedia Commons.

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.).

Proteus / Daedalus

Proteus

Your beauty is the beauty of the clouds:
as grand and graceful, as remote,
from silver changing into gold,
and changing shape, and changing whereabouts.

Your beauty is the one of Proteus:
I’m bound to watch it swirl and stay,
afraid your heart will likewise sway,
innocuous and gay and treacherous.

Your beauty is the one of Morpheus:
I’m bound to drink it in a dream,
afraid of stumbling on that stream,
with ghostly flowers studded, murderous.

Your beauty is the beauty of the clouds.
your ever-present smile the gleam
behind their soft and tousled seam…
Your soul is what your face reveals and shrouds.

Christina Egan © 2012

Daedalus

I watch the condor pass:
lofty and lonely,
steady and strong,
improbable like Daedalus…

I watch the condor pass
and want to follow him
across the barren peaks –
I want to touch the clouds…

Christina Egan © 2012

Winter Sunrise in Morocco / in England

Winter Sunrise in Morocco

Orange tree full of fruit and rose tree with large roses in front of high pink wallsthe rainbow scarf of the sky
stretched out above the battlements

awesome and unnoticed
by the markets which never sleep

and millions of golden roses
rolled out along the highways

in the carved and inlaid caskets
of the powdery-pink courtyards

strings of peach-coloured roses
clusters of orange-blossom and fruit

Christina Egan © 2012

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012

You can read a German poem about a Moroccan city at In Marrakesch. The buildings and walls of Marrakesh are pink by law!

Around the turn of the year, I found it warm and sunny by day and pleasantly mild by night. In fact, people were hoping for some rain…

Winter sunrise in England

at the edge of the orb of the earth
a mighty web of finest twigs

painted onto leaf gold
by a master’s hand

and then the blob of molten gold
so bright that it seems to melt them too

like a favour from the heavens
like the face of a god

as if life were possible
one more day one more winter

Christina Egan © 2012

In northern Europe, the winter is so hard that by the beginning of spring, you may feel, even if you are not at all old, that it was the last one you reached.

In Germany, it is cold by day and by night for many months, there is snow and ice, and above all, the nights are long and the days often dull so that you may not see the face of the sun for days; in England, the cold is less bitter, but — which is worse it reaches indoors…

Nonnenkloster

Nonnenkloster

Initial of mediaeval manuscript, filled with monks and nuns singing from such a missal on a lectern above them; in gold and bright red, blue and green

Schneegleich
steigt Schweigen
aus den steilen Wänden,
aus den gefalteten Händen,
den vornübergeneigten Schleiern.
Und doch ist alles ein Feiern,
als sei, wenn es schneit,
ein Staub von Gold
über die Gärten gestreut…

Zeit, Zeit
tickt hier laut
in den langen dunklen Uhren,
in den blankbefliesten Fluren,
weil die Ewigkeit
sie so beschwert
wie Wasser eine weiße Schüssel.
Und jeder geschmiedete Schlüssel,
der gegen ein Gitter klappert,
klingt
wie ein Versprechen,
das Gott nicht brechen will.

Sunlit walled flower garden with sturdy stone cross in corner

Es singt
am Rasenrand
der Schneeglöckchenchor,
ein besticktes Band.

Und jede ungeschmückte Wand
durchdringt
das goldne Schweigen
wie der Frühlingssonne sanfte Hand.

Christina Egan © 2006

I owe this overpowering experience of peaceful silence to the Carmelite monasteries of London (Most Holy Trinity) and Cologne (Maria vom Frieden), which are based on a philosophy of shared “silence and solitude”.

Photographs:
Liturgical book for Eastertide (1450s).
Sailko via Wikimedia Commons. —
Nunnery garden, hidden in the midst of a big city. Christina Egan © 2014