Glass Mountain (Potsdamer Platz)

Glass Mountain
(Potsdamer Platz)

Lights above you, lights around you,
shifting blue and mauve and pink,
lights below you, lights surround you,
pierce the black and loom and shrink.

Glass fronts of enormous silos
mask the dusk and stare and blink,
figures wander in the windows,
lifts in tubes float up and sink.

Water basins spread around you
shifting blue and mauve and pink,
glass roofs open in the ground, too,
names flare up in mirror print.

Glass façades and water fountain
multiply the hum and glint:
you have stepped inside a mountain,
you are trapped in steely pink,

trapped beside a thousand others,
lulled by murmur and gay tunes,
screened from sun and stars and weathers
by a tent-roof in sweet blues.

Futuristic glass buildings, pointed and rounded, illuminated in blue and pink; in the corner, old facade visible beneath.Then you see the stucco hover,
curling in a livid tint;
chandeliers unfurl and quiver;
then you hear the glasses clink…

Have you dreamt of the Titanic
or of old Potsdamer Platz?
No, this is the real relic,
the hotel that dodged the Blitz

and kept spinning through the nightmare
of the void swept by the wind –
sad and splendid sole survivor
under glass and neon pink.

Christina Egan © 2017

Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz, with old façade visible beneath the glass (here, in pink). Photograph: Pedelecs by Wikivoyage and Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

For a German poem on the old, vanished, Potsdamer Platz, look at the sonnet Nächster Halt: Potsdamer Platz.

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Tiefgelb / Tieftürkis

Colour wheel with 18th century labels: clockwise from yellow over red to blue and green; one purple field has paled to pink.Tiefgelb

Die tiefgelbe Blume vor wollweißer Wand,
die frohrosa Büschel vor lehmbraunem Zaun,
der vollblaue Tag über kraftgrünem Land –
der rundbunte Sommer, ein tiefgelber Traum!

Christina Egan © 2016


Tieftürkis

Tieftürkis und lässig prächtig,
sonnensatt und sonnenträchtig
steht der Horizont noch spät.
Schwarze Flammen, schwanken Bäume,
stumm gestaltgewordne Träume,
wenn der wirre Nachtwind weht.

Liegt die Erde endlich nächtig,
scheint der Himmel übermächtig,
unerschöpfter Helle Quell.
Alle Sehnsucht kann noch fruchten
in verborgnen Gartenfluchten
oder einer höhern Welt.

Christina Egan © 2017


Colour adjectives develop only very slowly in languages all over the world. There are still not nearly enough! I don’t see why in German, we have the words ‘deep red’ and ‘deep blue’ — written as one word, even — but no ‘deep yellow’ or ‘deep turquoise’; so I am introducing them. I also made up a number of unusual descriptors for the first poem, leading up to the internally rhyming ‘rundbunt’ for multi-coloured in all colours of the earth or of the colour wheel.

Colour wheel with 18th century labels: clockwise from yellow over red to blue and green; one purple field has paled to pink.

 

Image: Arnoldus Lobedanius, Utrecht, 1744. (One purple field must have paled to pink.)

Reproduced with kind permission of the Library of Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule Köln).

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

Inside the Rainbow

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

La veille / Nightwatch

La veille

Quelqu’un compte pour nous
les heures sans sommeil,
quelqu’un garde pour nous
les fleurs sans pareil.

Quelqu’un compte toujours
les larmes sans oreille,
quelqu’un garde toujours
les charmes de la veille…

Christina Egan © 2012

Huge liturgical book with very large writing and music, richly illuminated

Nightwatch

Someone counts, rest assured,
inconsolable hours,
keeps all prayers secured,
incomparable flowers.

Someone counts day and night
tears unseen and unheard,
guards the circle of light
round a mind deeply stirred…

Christina Egan © 2016


I was thinking of angels or saints when I wrote these lines (twice, in French and in English); other humans might prefer to think of spirits or the only God. I hope there is no one on earth who has no comfort of this sort at all!


Photograph by ignis, via Wikimedia Commons [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0  or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0].

ich sammle das goldblatt / Scant Scent

ich sammle das goldblatt

ich sammle das goldblatt vom himmel
wer hat es gemalt?
den lapislazulischimmer
wer hat ihn bezahlt?

ich sammle den pfeil jener elster
ein schrei und ein flug
ich schneide das bild aus dem fenster
der glanz sei genug

ich fange den wind in den zweigen
bevor er verweht
ich schreibe mit purpur das schweigen
das späte gebet

Christina Egan © 2017

Bare branches against sunset in mauve and apricot; high mountains along horizon.


Sunset over the Bay
of Carthage, Tunisia,
around New Year’s Eve.

Photograph:
Christina Egan © 2013

 

 

 

Scant Scent

The incense of my prayer
turned damp in this dark place,
where layer upon layer
of cloud obscures the grace
of light and breath and warmth,
of ease and joy and strength —
O Lord of Hosts, accept
my incense with scant scent…

Christina Egan © 2017

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.