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
The most delicately plaited words
still awkward, thick like things.
Bent over pads of paper,
the poet labours, late,
to convey music,
Christina Egan © 2012
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.
Triumphboot des Sommers
(Chateau de Chillon, Genfersee)
Gesättigt mit Licht
der Spiegel des Sees,
die Glocke des Tals,
der lange Nachmittag
vor dem bronzenen Sommer.
Hingeschüttet das ganze Geschmeide
der Erde von unter den Wurzeln,
auf der Schlange Landes
zwischen Bucht und Gebirg.
Blondes seidiges Licht
fällt in die Fenster der Burg,
tief hinein ins Verlies,
reicht an den rohen Fels;
wärmen die toten Kamine,
die fernen Wände der Säle,
rufen verblichene Sänger herauf
zum zeitlosen Tanz.
Am anderen Ufer
ragen reglos die Segel
der senkrechten Felsen,
bewimpelt mit Wolken,
Triumphboot des Sommers.
Die Stunde der Sonnwende schlägt,
Christina Egan © 2001
‘Triumphal Barge of Summer’ may work in a translation software. It is a memory of Lac Leman, a vast lake between towering mountains, around summer solstice. One of the most beautiful days of my life!
Rounded is my life, a jewel
sparkling in the summer rain,
spinning round the hollow axis
of a loss without a gain.
Will you for one moment only
silently pick up my pain,
hold it in your gentle hands and
watch the white and biting flame?
Will you say: I’ve seen you suffer?
Will you say: I’ve felt the same?
If you know me and you tell me,
then I have not lived in vain.
You alone can see the beauty
of this tall and forceful flame,
of this shadow of abundance,
of this ghost of life’s full game…
Shall I pass unknown, unnoticed,
shall I die in pointless pain?
You alone can read my eyes and
call me by my real name.
Christina Egan © 2013
The first half of this poem describes a bereavement or a loss akin to it, like a miscarriage or a divorce. The second half turns this work into a love poem or a religious poem; as often in my work, I keep it open. Some of these lines could therefore be read at a funeral.
It is June again, and in northern Europe, rain is as characteristic of this month as sunshine is, and it can be as pleasant! The season might also relate, as often in my poetry, to the person’s age: someone afflicted by loss in the midst of life, when they should be thriving.