ich sammle das goldblatt / Scant Scent

ich sammle das goldblatt

ich sammle das goldblatt vom himmel
wer hat es gemalt?
den lapislazulischimmer
wer hat ihn bezahlt?

ich sammle den pfeil jener elster
ein schrei und ein flug
ich schneide das bild aus dem fenster
der glanz sei genug

ich fange den wind in den zweigen
bevor er verweht
ich schreibe mit purpur das schweigen
das späte gebet

Christina Egan © 2017

Bare branches against sunset in mauve and apricot; high mountains along horizon.


Sunset over the Bay
of Carthage, Tunisia,
around New Year’s Eve.

Photograph:
Christina Egan © 2013

 

 

 

Scant Scent

The incense of my prayer
turned damp in this dark place,
where layer upon layer
of cloud obscures the grace
of light and breath and warmth,
of ease and joy and strength —
O Lord of Hosts, accept
my incense with scant scent…

Christina Egan © 2017

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

Green Blood

The plant on the window-sill

Lush Christmas cactus on window sill, appearing to reach out to the viewer, with little cacti around.

It is shining, it is glowing,
while the sun is rising high!
It is stretching, it is growing,
so am I, oh, so am I!

It is breathing, it is throbbing,
full of blossom, full of birth!
It is floating, it is bobbing
on the bubble of the earth!

Christina Egan © 2015


Fist-sized cactus with large star-like flower on long firm stalk. Palm-tree shaped red plant in background mirroring the flower's shape; white rose petals on ground mirroring its colour.Die Macht der Königin der Nacht

In der Mittsommermitternacht
ist ein schneeweißer Stern mir erwacht,
eine bebende Blütenblattüte:
Mit heimlicher Königsmacht
hat ein Kaktus den Funken entfacht,
eine klare Trompetenblüte!

Christina Egan © 2013

 


The Tree at the Corner

Shiny reddish bark, paper-thin and frayed, on a straight round tree-trunk.I gather air and light,
I filter drop on drop,
till there is liquid life:
my waving hands’ green blood.

I give you air and shade
with my bright canopy,
till there is solid gold
through age-old alchemy!

Christina Egan © 2015


 

Was der Baum im Winter tut

Bare branches against sunset in mauve and apricot; high mountains along horizon.Mit tausend nackten Zweigen hält der Baum
gleich einem gläsernen gewölbten Kelch
die Gänserufe und den Amselsang,
das gleißend hingegossne letzte Gold
und dann das Pfauenblau der frühen Nacht…
Und jene Stille wie ein Geigenklang.

Christina Egan © 2013

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013/2014/2016


These lines portray plants as living creatures and active participants in this universe.

The non-descript pot-plant stays in its place, yet it gives and takes, grows and procreates — and presumably enjoys life, particularly in spring.

Around summer solstice, the humble cactus suddenly pushes out an unlikely flower, shaped like a trumpet and dazzling like a star: it has revealed itself as a Queen of the Night!

The everyday tree turns the inanimate elements into living matter; and it brings forth beauty even while that life turns towards death again in autumn.

Around winter solstice, the bare tree perceives the beauty of this earth — sunset and dusk, birdsong and silence — or at least, it forms part of this array for us.