Warten ist der Winter

Warten ist der Winter

Warten ist der Winter, Warten
auf den endlich wieder starken
Glanz, der sanft ins Leben küßt,
was vor Gram verblichen ist.

Einsam ist der kleine Garten,
während Garben aller Farben
unter altem Laub und Moos
schlummern im verdorrten Schoß.

Hilflos ist das lange Darben
für den unbemerkten Garten:
hilflos, doch nicht hoffnungslos,
denn der Himmel ist sein Trost.

Christina Egan © 2012

The First of December

The First of December

The ample, even, hand-like leaves
carelessly crumpled up by the frost
overnight,

the luscious colonies of moss
dusted with ice in the colourless light
of the day.

And we cannot deny this is still only autumn:
the yearly slow and sure descent
towards the cold.

This is the month of shrinking days,
of darkening hair and shivering skin
touched by damp.

This is the season of flickering lights,
some of them real, all of them glimmering
drops of hope.

Christina Egan © 2012

You Want to Read This Poem

You Want to Read This Poem

You want to read this poem
time or no time
rhyme or no rhyme.

You want to know
that your face is a flame
in the hidden temple
of someone else’s heart
trembling and steady.

You want to dwell
on the deep-blue dusk
of her dress
of her eyes
of her soul.

You want to believe
one last time
that three hours are enough
to fuel three years of delight
and from there three thousand.

You want to be sure
she will never be too close
never too far
like surges of birdsong
like surf.

You want to read this poem
as if it were a prayer
as if it were a promise.

Christina Egan © 2011


You Do Not Want to Read this Poem

You do not want to read this poem
however much sunlight
however much midnight.

You do not want to plough
through luminous ciphers
of your own beauty
you want to hear it in someone’s voice
you want to see it on someone’s lips.

You want to lift your eyes from the paper
onto her face
you want to lift your hand from the paper
onto her arm
let it rest.

You want to step through this poem
as if it were a secret gate
to the tiered garden
of an ancient manor house
you heard of in a novel.

You do not want a host of poems
a pavement of paper
a quilt of hopes
you want a host of moments
a quilt of memories.

You do not want to read this poem
you want sudden life
before the sun has sunk.

Christina Egan © 2011

On the Orange Bridge

On the Orange Bridge

I.

The bridge bears tiny trembling lives
across the wild and icy strait,
a miracle of miles.
So moves my life, suspended by

the scarce, but strong and sparkling, stakes
of kisses and of smiles.

Golden Gate Bridge from below, with waves lapping a rocky beach.

II.

If I could pray, my wishes might
arise like incense to the light
and cling to royal robes.
Yet I am weak; all I can give

is work and talk and love and live
on tangy glowing hopes.

Christina Egan © 2008

Golden Gate Bridge. Photograph by Christian Mehlführer.
‘Featured picture’ on Wikimedia Commons.

I wrote these lines just before I went to San Francisco. Coincidentally, I found it so cold there that I could not cross the bridge on foot even in September! Yet, it is gigantic and awe-inspiring, like many things in America, whether natural or man-made.

P.S.: I did get kissed on the bridge…! Thank you!

On Crossing the City

On Crossing the City

Sometimes you want to get out of your life
as if off a draughty and noisy bus
and wander along the pavement for miles
round corners, expecting a revelation.

People in books get off on occasion
to escape a track of modest despair,
but you cannot remember where they end up,
presumably just on another bus.

Sometimes you wonder if you caught the right bus
or at the right time, or the right way round,
and if this hectic clockwork of movements
is determined by destiny or by dice.

Christina Egan © 2011

Amongst high, dark, buildings, lawns, trees in blossom, and in the middle, a red doubledecker bus.

 

For a German poem about the quest for meaning and happiness amidst the apparent confusion of a big, busy, city, see my previous post Zugewogen.

 

Photograph: London bus. Christina Egan © 2016

Zwei Zauberkugeln / Bright Grey Eyes

Zwei Zauberkugeln

Zwei Zauberkugeln, Spiegel
von Wolken, Fluss und Feld
enthalten unter Siegel
die Zukunft, matt erhellt:
Zwei blanke graue Augen
erwecken neuen Glauben
an diese alte Welt.

Christina Egan © 2004


 

Bright Grey Eyes

With you, there is no waning light
of day, of season or of life;
there’s growing glow and growing sight
of bright grey eyes in bright grey eyes.

With you, there is no wasted time
doomed to oblivion or decay;
each day is gained, each year a line
of our winding, climbing way.

Christina Egan © 2009


 

These two poems have a similar topic,
but are not translations of each other.

The colour of the writing on this page
emulates the eye colours of the couple.

Theodor an Emilien

Theodor an Emilien

Mit tausend dicken weißen Kerzen
Prangt der Kastanienbaum am Tor;
Ich steh’ mit hoffnungshellem Herzen
Im späten Dämmer stumm davor.

Der Vogelsang ist längst versickert
Wie Silberspur ins Dunkelblau…
Doch aus dem Gutshaus tröpfelt, zittert,
Quillt das Klavier wie Abendtau.

Ich mach’ im hohen Gartensaale
Den flinken schlanken Schatten aus –
Und werf’ nach jenem Ankerpfahle
Mein Tau mit einem Male aus.

Christina Egan © 2016


 

The old-fashioned names and inflections signal that this is a scene which happened long ago, a romantic story from the times of Jane Austen, set in Germany. There is a true story behind it, and the ending is happy and sad: the young man waiting hopefully outside the manor house in the summer night, Ernst Theodor Echtermeyermarried Lady Emilie, and they had a child, but they both died very young.