Pluck the Day / This Silvery Sound

Pluck the Day

Large flat flower in white and purple, with long purple stem, small orange fruit, shiny green leaves.Save time! Save time!
Spend time! Sell time!
Pile time, file time!
Fill time, kill time!

Live time…
leave time…
give time…
weave time.

Close-up of poppy flower with dew or rain on it, above other red, orange, purple, and white flowers.Pluck the hour,
pluck the day,
golden-green or
silver-grey.

Pluck time…
peel time…
suck time…
feel time.

Christina Egan © 2009


This Silvery Sound

This silvery, surging, curling sound:
the whispering leaves
of the urban trees…
O listen, O listen and look around:
the silvery greens
like a dream of the seas…
And fading away as soon as found.

Christina Egan © 2018

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2016.

Gedächtnisgarten zu Tottenham

Gedächtnisgarten zu Tottenham

Wie Sternennebel
schweben die schneeweißen Büsche
im Nachtgrün am Rande des Parks,
und aus dem sattschwarzen Grunde
ruft ihrer mehr herauf
das funkelnde Zepter des Mondes,
als lebte der Amsel Perlengesang
das Dunkel hindurch.

Wie übergroße Urwaldblüten
liegen in Schlaf geschmiegt
die silbernen Gänse,
erfroren geglaubte Träume
verlorengegebener Kraft.
Der Duft von überallher
ist schwer, er wiegt,
er ist wirklich.

Die Rinnen der Inschrift
im Granit des Gartentors
füllen sich langsam mit Sinn:
Garten des Friedens.

Christina Egan © 2006

High brick wall with inscription 'Garden of Peace'; iron gate with lawn and palm-trees behind.

Memorial Garden, Tottenham Cemetery. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

Bloomsbury, on the Ides of May

Bloomsbury, on the Ides of May

I will remember: it was on the Ides of May,
the light was lingering late, still bright behind
the fading curtains of clouds, ready to burst
into colourful banners; so were the buds in the parks.
Short were the shades of the columns and those of the crowds
ceaselessly weaving around the corners of concrete.
I will remember the weary assembly of tombstones,
too weathered to count as a witness, the lime-green life
pushing out from the cracks, the benches eager for laughter,
Edge of tomb, with weeds outside and insidethe birds’ unheeded, untiring, Vespers to God.
See: I lay down the unspoken secret in verse.

Christina Egan © 2007

 

 

Photograph (taken in Tottenham
in July): Christina Egan © 2013.

Die vierte Frucht

Die vierte Frucht

Vier Früchte blieben uns vom Paradiese
auf unsrer langen Wüstenwanderung,
auf daß durch sie die Kraft des Ursprungs fließe
in tausendfacher Anverwandelung:

Die Liebe lädt in saftigblauer Traube;
die Hoffnung duftet warm wie goldnes Brot;
in bittersüßem Grün neigt sich der Glaube;
die Freude aber lächelt sonnenrot.

Christina Egan © 2018

Für Sr. Caterina von der Freude in Gott

Oranges hanging from branches against blue sky

The four fruits of paradise, an idea I was inspired to by the three Christian chief virtues — faith, hope, love — to which I added joy, another gift or virtue promoted by the same stern author, St Paul. 

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice”.

Phil. 4,4

Love is envisaged as a blue or purple fruit, hope as a yellow one (or a loaf of bread), faith as a green fruit (possibly tasting bitter) and joy as a red or orange one… hopefully all sweet! The colours of the rainbow exist for our nourishment.

Photograph: Oranges in midwinter, in Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012.

Septembertraum

Septembertraum

Warm wird noch einmal der Tag,
hält die Verfärbung des Laubes auf
und verführt das Grün überm Grund
zu Gewändern in haltlosen Farben!
Scharlach und Schnee und Ultramarin
rütteln die Flügel der Seele auf…

Mild wird noch einmal die Nacht,
als läge der Frühling vor unseren Füßen,
ausgerollt bis zum Horizont,
statt des unabwendbaren Herbstes.
Silbern und sanft steht der Park
und klar wie ein Kristall der Traum.

Christina Egan © 2014

Front gardens with brick walls, flower pots, rose tree.

A warm September day lures new flowers — in bright red, snow white, deep blue — instead of the inevitable discolouring of the leaves, while the night is still ‘silver and gentle’. 

For a moment of suspense, instead of autumn spring seems to be unfolding before us…

Not necessarily an autumnal equinox  event, but very much in the spirit of it.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

War and Peace (Red Fog / Green Shoots)

War and Peace

I.

Red Fog

Red fog rose
from the bloody river
when Baghdad’s proud walls
crumbled to dust.

The sobbing, the gasping
rose with the fog,
scratched the blank sky
till it wept blood.

High soared the blinking blades,
higher the cries of triumph,
down on the broken timber,
the toys forlorn in the ash.

Red ran the Tigris,
bearing pots and books and bodies
down through the desert,
frayed crimson silk.

Decorative brick with symmetrical floral motiv, deeply incised.

II.

Green Shoots

Green shoots, vibrant,
blue buds, brilliant,
climbing the trellis
of ten thousand tiles.

The tall white walls,
the wide white courtyards,
the shimmering basins:
those were the flags of peace.

Not the carpets of ash
which the conquest leaves,
nor the polished parchment
where the truce is signed.

Peace is the pomegranate
in the smooth wooden bowl,
peace is the spinning-top
on the deep-green glaze.

Christina Egan © 2003 (I) / © 2018 (II)

These poems were inspired by the massacre of 1248 when the Mongols took Baghdad, but they can be applied to any war Mesopotamia has seen in the course of the millennia, or indeed to any other part of the world…

Brick from Baghdad, mid-13 century. Photograph: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Lilac and Lime

Lilac and Lime

Vase with small but very bright flowers, mainly raspberry-pink and lemon-yellow, like fireworks, against turquoise table and turquoise sheet.It is coming at last! With the singing wood
of luminous lutes, with trumpets and drums,
in garments and feathers of lilac and lime,
of honey and rose, with stately stride,
with canter and caper, the pageant of summer
is wending its way and filling the valley
with birds and butterflies, blossom and breeze.

Christina Egan © 2008

Little tree with apple-green leaves in a park in average summerly green

For a German poem about the pageant of summer, see geh aus mein herz.

 

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013 / © 2014.

Yellow Fire (April Haiku)

Yellow Fire
(April Haiku)

*

Little rust-red leaves,
no, blood-red in the sunlight,
there, throbbing with life!

*

White stars are floating,
above the ancient tombstones,
on the slanting tree.

*

Little lime-green leaves
running along the hedges,
look, like yellow fire!

*

Christina Egan © 2017

Drawing of three old-fashioned spinning tops.Illustration from
‘Children’s games throughout the year’ 
(1949) by Leslie Daiken.

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.

Cascades of Light

Cascades of Light

Cascades of light,
of mild, corn-coloured fire:
the sun pours itself out, down,
down across the black gulf
of space and time,
a flame, a smile,
onto the open rose,
the waiting face of the earth.

Christina Egan © 2004

Two large orange roses in the sunshine, yellow in the middle, with large healthy leaves.

Psalm

As warming as the sun’s first touch
after an age of ice.

The last love tastes like the first one:
radical, innocent.

No need to confirm with fire,
no need to confirm with words.

The world suspended in your eyes –
then life rolling out like a yellow-green valley.

Christina Egan © 2004

Vast lush meadow, with blue creek in the middle, under blue sky.

Photographs: Roses on the small island of Föhr, meadows on the tiny island of Hooge, both in the North Sea. Christina Egan © 2014.