Silver Vein

Silver Vein

The curves of your step and your hand
leave a feathery trail in the air,
leave a flickering trace in my heart.

It’s a script you can’t see,
it’s a script I can’t read,
it’s a glittering vein on the earth.

That you weigh your weight,
that your flesh fills space,
that you radiate warmth

is a wonder to me,
a wealth of amazement,
a maze of desire.

Christina Egan © 2006

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Moon Rainbow

Moon Rainbow

Enveloped in the velvet cloak of night,
I feel I have been chosen before birth
As secret queen of this enchanted earth,
Enrobed in moon and star and rainbow light.
Enveloped in this sparkling cloak of night,
Embroidered by an angel, tireless,
And lined with solid human tenderness,
I know I live and die to see the light.
I’m wrapped into this lining of the night:
Your silver beauty scooped out of the moon
And made to breathe and smile and give me room.
I hold your smooth and tapered fingers tight,
I hold your dreams to give them earth to bloom:
Around us moves the sky’s luminous loom.

Christina Egan © 2010

I Sought the Star / Weihnachtskerzenflamme

I Sought the Star

Weary was, had wandered far…
        Again, it snowed.
Without a doubt, I sought the star
        above the road:

 The star that had been made for me,
        a radiant face,
above the maze of destiny,
        above the ice.

I climbed a random rugged hill –
        and there it burned!
Above a shelter bright and still
        and warm and firm.

And still they glow, the tiny spark
        and snowed-in home,
both given to my hungry heart
        by faith alone.

Christina Egan © 2010


Weihnachtskerzenflamme

Wie eine Weihnachtskerzenflamme strahlt
dein sanftes schmales Angesicht,
auf dem sich langersehnte Freude malt,–
so hell bist du und ahnst es nicht.

Wie hoheitsvolle Rosenknospen stehn
die Hände in dem goldnen Licht,
so zart, als würden sie im Wind vergehn,–
so weich bist du und weißt es nicht.

Christina Egan © 2014


A ‘Christmas Candle Flame’ as an image for a joyful, gentle, guileless face works only where, like in Germany, the tradition of real candles is upheld!

The second stanza compares the person’s hands to tender, graceful, regal rosebuds. The poem appears to describe a child but was in fact written for an adult.

A Window will be Thrust Open

A Window will be Thrust Open

A window will be thrust open
where you forgot there was one,
a glow as of noon will be thrown
over your working hands, over your tired face.

You will look into the mirror
and find upon yourself the gaze of an absent one,
you will look into the eyes of a stranger
and find there your face as if steeped in sunset.

halkett_1938_ohnetitelYou will run down the road
to overtake your shadow,
you will push through all your doubts
to hold that hand, to clasp it tight.

Christina Egan © 2003

 

No title. René Halkett (1938).
Image with kind permission
of Galerie Klaus Spermann.

Nächster Halt: Bahnhof Zoo

Nächster Halt: Bahnhof Zoo
 
Blurred impression of large railway station through train window.Schließ ich den Koffer und zähle die Gleise,
gleitet durch gleißende Weiten der Zug,
findet durchs Vorstadtgestrüpp eine Schneise,
bohrt sich in Schleuse um Schleuse sein Bug.
 
Zittert das Herz zwischen zahllosen Dächern,
lauscht auf die Stimme: “Berlin, Bahnhof Zoo” ––
Irgendwo hier muß die Zukunft doch lächeln,
winken das Glück,– aber wo, aber wo?
 
Aus den Kanälen und Seen muß es sprudeln,
aus Boulevards und aus Marktplätzen sprühn…
In das Gewühl taucht mein lautloses Jubeln:
Heute is heute, und hier ist Berlin!


Nächster Halt: Flughafen Schönefeld

Cloud strips, golden and pink, above a dark crowded square at the very bottom.Liegen die Häuser gewürfelt, gehäufelt,
liegen die Häuser gefädelt, gereiht…
Fortgerollt wird man, hinübergeschleudert,–
aus ist die schillernde, schäumende Zeit.

Häkeln die Züge die Orte zusammen,
kreuzen die Grenzen und flicken das Land;
häkelt die Liebe die Herzen zusammen,
fügt in die harrende Hand eine Hand.

Häkeln die Flugzeuge schneeweiße Spitze
über die Dächer, die Flüsse, den Wald;
häkelt das Abendrot goldene Spritzer
voller Verheißung und Heilung und Halt.

Christina Egan © 2016/2017

These two poems about arriving in Berlin and departing from Berlin form, together with the round-trip Nächster Halt: Potsdamer Platz, my Berlin Triptych. For English poems about the same railway station, go to Berlin Zoo Station.

When I describe how trains and planes sew towns together and mend countries, I am naturally remembering how my country and its capital city were divided for almost half a century. The family members or lovers waiting for each other at the railway stations and airports may be separated by this fate or a different one.

Photographs: Railway station and airport in Berlin. Christina Egan © 2016.

Toys / Baskets / Bowls

Toys

I
scanned
the
scattered shapes
heaped around me and picked out
the flowers and fresh fruits and fleeting clouds filled
with sun and added some slanted squares of marble and slate and
trunks of birch-trees and fashioned my finds into this
spinning-top. Just don’t ask what
it means. It’s a toy
I made for
you !

***

Baskets

The most delicately plaited words
still awkward, thick like things.
Bent over pads of paper,
the poet labours, late,
dexterous, impotent
to convey music,
silence…
peace.

Christina Egan © 2012


Roman_bowl_01_MusLon

Bowls

Like bowls of ordinary wood,
robust, adept, like workers’ tools,
these hands seem empty. Yet they are
filled to the brim, invisibly:
with jewel-like ideas the one,
the other with tranquillity.

Christina Egan © 2012

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

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.