Aprilabend

Aprilabend
(Schloss Fasanerie bei Fulda)

Der Tag ist hoch; das Licht liegt leicht und lange
auf Moos und Gras und neugebornem Laub,
das jetzt in namenlosem Lebensdrange
fast fühlbar vorwärtsdrängt und blind vertraut.

Das Tal ist weit; die fernen Kuppen ragen
schon wieder kühn und unbeirrbar blau.
Zuletzt sind Schnee und Nebel doch begraben
und alle Linien farbig und genau.

Christina Egan © 2012


 

This impression of a spring evening with its unstoppable urge to live has been published in a previous edition of the Rhönkalender.

The view goes from Schloss Fasanerie (Eichenzell near Fulda, Germany) across the wide valleys towards the Rhön Mountains. You have to have lived in a northern country and suffered through the snow and fog to appreciate the rebirth of light and colour, grass and leaves!

An automatic translation can render most of the meaning, but not the music of the words, which emulates the beauty of nature.

Ripples of People

Ripples of People
(Spring Equinox)

*

Ripples of people,
uneven waves, sudden whirls,
fast currents of cars:
a wayward river within
a canyon of grand buildings.

*

These neat white windows,
row upon row, road after road,
a thousand eyes
trying to catch light, praying
to touch the feeble sunset.

*

Christina Egan © 2013

Busy junction in the dusk, with red and yellow lamps of cars and buses glaring.

These tanka were written in Knightsbridge, London,
in the last days of March — after equinox! —
when after months of dull and dark skies,
you may still be desperate for light and warmth.
For similar poems in German, see Alles drängt vorwärts.

Photograph: Deptford Broadway, London.
Michael Oakes © 2016

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

Ursprung

Ursprung

Narrow gorge with stream skipping around boulders and some vegetation on the rocks.Aus dem Felsen springt die Quelle:
So die Schöpfung aus dem Nichts.
Und sie strömet Well’ auf Welle
aufs Geheiß des Herrn des Lichts.

Und sie funkelt, und sie dunkelt,
und sie sprudelt fort und fort;
und sie murmelt, und sie rufet,
da geschaffen durch das Wort.

Und sie schäumet, und sie strebet,
spiegelt, springt empor zum Licht;
denn sie sucht den Herrn des Lebens
Angesicht zu Angesicht.

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem or hymn may work quite well in a translation software.

The text is based on the Jewish-Christian myth of creation: Out of nothingness (or chaos), God called everything into being (and order). Light was the first thing made, and it was all done through the word.

There is also a concept in Christian philosophy that God continues creating the world every moment; if he ever ceased, everything would tumble back into nothing. These ideas are really the opposite of nihilism.

Other thoughts from the Letters of the Apostles (at the end of the Christian part of the Bible) are that the whole of creation is striving and struggling towards God as if in labour; and that at the end of time, we shall emerge from darkness to see God ‘face to face’.

The title, ‘Origin’, means ‘first source’ in German; you can see the word ‘spring’ in it. Yet, I added the title in the end; the image and first lines stood clearly in my mind on waking up: the source springing from the rock, like the world out of nothingness, or life out of lifelessness.

A thought about a person stepping out from a building into the sunshine as if liberating himself or herself from a rockface can be found at Gelbes Licht, with a statue by Michelangelo that must have inspired it.

Photograph: Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012.

Steigt später Morgen

Steigt später Morgen

Im nackten Gehölz
am Horizont gen Osten
steigt später Morgen:
das schwächste, stillste Feuer,
der dennoch gleißende Kreis.

Christina Egan © 2015


Laub leuchtet auf

Durch die Wolken bricht
Glanz, Gleißen. Laub leuchtet auf,
rührt sich und flüstert.
Nur diesen Augenblick
haben wir, aber auf ewig.

Christina Egan © 2015


The first tanka celebrates the sunrise 
in midwinter; the second conjures up
a flare of sunshine in midsummer.

Eternity can be experienced in this life:
in the moment — and perhaps in the
moment alone.

For another experience of tranquillity 
through light and dark in midwinter, go to
In Praise of Darkness / Lob der Stille.

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

Gelbes Licht

Gelbes Licht

Statue of young man, unfinished, as if the figure were wrestling itself free of the stone.

I.

Du trittst aus dem Beton hervor,
als trätest du aus einer Wand
und durch ein großes goldnes Tor
in blühndes dufterfülltes Land…

Dabei ist’s bloß ein Platz, ein Park
und gelbes Licht und gelbes Laub;
doch wirst du wieder froh und stark
von etwas Wärme auf der Haut.

 

II.Table surface of bright yellow mosaic, with café chairs on the grass, sunlit.

O milder honiggoldner Wein
im Riesenkelch aus Bergkristall:
Noch fließt das Herbstlicht süß und rein.
O Augenblick! O Sonnenstrahl!

Noch fließt die Kraft, noch fließt der Trost,
solang der Himmel zaghaft blaut.
Man weiß nicht, was das Auge kost:
Ist’s gelbes Licht? Ist’s gelbes Laub?

Christina Egan © 2016


‘Young Slave’ by Michelangelo.  Photograph by Jörg Bittner Unna (own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

Roadside café in Morocco in midwinter. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012.


 

“Still the autumn light flows, sweet and pure… I felt it in England this afternoon, on top of a high building! Yet the line of the last pleasant sunshine is moving inexorably downwards from the northernmost regions through the temperate ones, its duration is shrinking, and so the space you can catch it at… When the light is lowest, though, it starts rising again, growing again.

By the way: “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning, and America will still be the greatest nation on Earth,” President Barack Obama announced during election night 2016. Not so: the United States have definitely exposed themselves not to be the greatest country on earth; and the sun would be darkened on an occasion like 9/11, or a nuclear bomb anywhere in the world, or a natural disaster due to technologies like fracking.