Au milieu de la vie
On s’est trouvé en Messidor,
toujours en pleine jeunesse;
on s’épousé sous chutes d’or
avec une folle tendresse;
on a franchi brouillard, chaleur,
tempête et sécheresse.
On est toujours en Fervidor,
en pleine abondance,
comme s’il y avait de l’avenir,
toujours rempli de chances…
On entrera le Fructidor
toujours en pleine danse!
Christina Egan © 2013
This poem uses the terms of the French Revolutionary Calendar, which were created by a poet; the names of the summer months evoke heat and harvest.
The couple have met in the midsummer of their lives, got married a little later, and are now going through late summer — still dancing!
Not only according to numbers are they “in the middle of life”: they are in the midst of things, and they live more intensely than in their youth.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.
geh aus mein herz
die braunen bauklotzhäuser
die weißen blütenkelche
die sich versonnen rühren
im wind aus samt und seide
die schweren purpurrosen
in Salomonis kleide
die deine finger kosen…
der sommer will dich füllen
die erde lädt dich ein
zu laufen und zu schaffen
zu schauen und zu
Christina Egan © 2011
In Purpur zog der Kaiser einst,
in Scharlachrot der Kardinal,
in Violett die Kaiserin
in einen grüngeschmückten Saal.
So prunken die Geranien
in ihrer Sommerprozession
und rufen in das Gartenrund:
“Wir übertrumpfen Salomon!”
Christina Egan © 2014
The appeal ‘Go out and seek joy’ and the metaphor of King Solomon’s silk are taken from the jubilant hymn and folksong Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud, written by Paul Gerhardt in the middle of the 17th century.
The houses in uniform dull colours with front doors in different bright colours are typical for London. So are the little private gardens with geraniums.
The first poem is contemplative and intense, the second one humorous and light. The last line of the first poem is cut up on purpose: to let the word ‘to be’ resound on its own.
For an English poem about the pageant of summer see Lilac and Lime.
Please note the video Inside the Rainbow by Francis Logan which was inspired by my verse on this internet site!
Im Inneren des Regenbogens describes a mesmerising encounter inside the rainbow of stained-glass windows — with a person or with God… The composer interpretes it as an encounter with Jesus, who is both a person and God himself; but you need not share this faith to be stirred by these sounds of celestial harmony.
You will find the entire text in English below. Please pass on Francis Logan’s beautiful music: tranquil and transcendent… Image: Still from Inside the Rainbow on YouTube. Music and video: Francis Logan © 2018. Also available on SoundCloud.
Inside the Rainbow
Inside the rainbow
In the glimmer of the glass windows
In the waterfall of grace
In the antechamber of the sky
I saw you
I felt you
I held you
I recognized you
In a luminous joy
In a sparkling silence
In a durable moment
In a house of light
Christina Egan © 2018
Die blauen Fernen
Fernab der Meere und der mächtgen Ströme
liegt meine Hügelheimat hingebreitet;
mit jeder Wendung, Steigung, die ich nehme,
wird mir der Blick auf neue Höhn geweitet.
Was braucht es Meere, wenn uns Wald und Wiesen
und Feld und Felsen und die blauen Fernen
wie Wellenberge, Wellentäler fließen,
den Schritt beflügeln und das Herz erwärmen?
Die Luft ist rein, mit Duft und Kraft geladen,
die Glieder und den Geist mir zu verjüngen;
und winters werden Schnee und Nebelschwaden
des Eismeers Zauber in die Berge bringen.
Christina Egan © 2016
One stanza of this poem is printed in the Rhönkalender 2018 with a photo from that part of the Central German Highlands; the whole poem has been published in the Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019.
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
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.
My Pack of Cards
My pack of cards, when it was new,
was green and yellow, red and blue:
from grass and leaves
to golden sheaves,
from glowing grapes
to frosty flakes!
The leaves peeked out, unfurled, and grew,
flared up, fell off, when they were due.
The fruits were round,
the ice was sound.
My year was clear,
my joy was sheer.
My pack of cards is worn and torn –
my world is pale, and I’m forlorn.
Christina Egan © 2016
In children’s picture books, the four seasons are sometimes painted in four basic colours; everything is in its place, everything is perfect. Of course, it has never been like this: the weather is always unpredictable, particularly north of the Alps.
However, at the place where I grew up — Central Europe — the seasons were more clearly marked and more stable than on the British Isles. I also believe they were more regular: they seem confused and shifted just now. It is disorientating and worrying…
You can find an impression of undefinable weather at Cimmerian Summer — whether it is due to the British climate or to global changes, I do not know.
The poem also expresses nostalgia for childhood, when everything on earth seems in its place. It was inspired by children’s picture books, which often allocate four basic colours to the four seasons.
Photograph: Schloßpark Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.