Schläft ein Lied / Sleeping Choir

Schläft ein Lied von tausend Zungen

Schläft ein Lied von tausend Zungen
im geweihten Marmorrund;
und der Stein hebt an zu schwingen,
wenn die Orgel perlt und summt,
und der Stein hebt an zu klingen,
wenn die Orgel schwillt und braust –
Wird das Herz vom Ruf durchdrungen
und der Leib in Glanz getaucht.

Christina Egan © 2017


Sleeping Choir

Sleeping in the marble round
choir of a thousand tongues;
and the stone vibrates and hums,
when the organ wakes to sound,
and the stone pulsates and sings,
when the organ swells and roars –
In your heart the message soars,
steeped in splendour are your limbs.

Christina Egan © 2018


This poem is developed from a key verse of German Romanticism. Joseph von Eichendorff (popular to this day and one of my favourite poets) imagines the world dreaming and a song slumbering within; you need to find the magical word to awaken them.

Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen,
Die da träumen fort und fort,
Und die Welt hebt an zu singen,
Triffst du nur das Zauberwort.

Joseph von Eichendorff

The lines were also inspired by a Pentecost service at Notre Dame de France at Leicester Square in London: when the organ plays at a high volume, its circular walls — not really marble, but snow-white — seem to vibrate and sing around the visitor.

The German version of this poem will be published in the calendar Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019 (available from mid-August).

Photograph: Catholic church Stella Maris, Binz on the Isle of Rügen, Germany. Christina Egan © 2016.

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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

Kirchenkonzert / Church Concert

 


Joint 100th English and 100th German post!


Colourful ancient glass window, prophet in red hat, red shoes, green cloak.

 

Kirchenkonzert

Ein Dom mit hohen grauen Fensterscheiben
und berstend bunten um den Pfeilerreigen –
und alles, alles aus Musik!
Und unerreichbar fern, unsterblich stark
du stille dunkelblaue Gegenwart,
du mein Geheimnis, mein Geschick.

Christina Egan © 2008

 

 

Large astronomical clock with two blue and golden dials in wooden frame.Church Concert

A dance of pillars round the sacred site;
round them, tall windows, grey or burning bright –
and all is made of music, melody!
Unreachable, immortal and immense,
a tranquil deep-blue presence grows more dense:
it’s you, my secret, you, my destiny.

Christina Egan © 2017


Find more poems about the power of music at Quest / Suche  and Auf dem Purpurteppich / On the royal-purple rug.


 

There are fewer than 200 posts of poetry here, since some show parallel or similar poems in two languages (and some are in French), but almost 300 poems.


 

Prophet Hosea, window in Augsburg Cathedral, around 1100 (!). Photograph:  Hans Bernhard (Schnobby) (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons. — Astronomical clock with carillon playing hymns (20th c.). Marienkirche, Lübeck, Germany. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

Toys / Baskets / Bowls

Toys

I
scanned
the
scattered shapes
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
you !

***

Baskets

The most delicately plaited words
still awkward, thick like things.
Bent over pads of paper,
the poet labours, late,
dexterous, impotent
to convey music,
silence…
peace.

Christina Egan © 2012


Roman_bowl_01_MusLon

Bowls

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.

Quest / Suche

Quest

The market swirls
like ocean’s foam –
The harbour bursts
to roam the blue –

Yet nothing’s real
if not dream –
And music too –
and music too!

Christina Egan © 2015Fest_des_Lebens_1970

Suche

Der Marktplatz quirlt
wie Wellenschaum –
der Hafen quillt
hinaus ins Glück –

Doch nichts ist wirklich
als der Traum –
und die Musik –
und die Musik!

Christina Egan © 2015

Very bright painting of mainly blue and red shapes on yellow.

This poem in German and English versions is dedicated to the painter Curt Echtermeyer, who for some of his work took on the pseudonym Curt Bruckner out of reverence for the composer Anton Bruckner. I hope Curt would appreciate the thought that dreams are more real than life…

Images: Das Fest des Lebens (The Feast of Life) by Curt Echtermeyer. Pastel, 1970. With thanks to Archiv Klaus Spermann.Max Ernst: Fish fight. Oil on canvas, 1917. – © Max Ernst. Distributed under FairUse at  WikiArt.

Die Perle im Acker

Die Perle im Acker

Die eine runde Stunde
in deinem Zauberkreis —
Das Licht im Augengrunde,
von dem du selbst nicht weißt —
Musik aus deinem Munde,
die Seligkeit verheißt —
Die Perle ist gefunden,
ich zahle jeden Preis!

Christina Egan © 2016

Wiederum gleicht das Himmelreich einem Kaufmann,
der gute Perlen suchte, und als er eine kostbare Perle
fand, ging er hin und verkaufte alles, was er hatte, und
kaufte sie.

Mt 13, 45-46

These lines may work in a translation software…
although I would not claim to find ‘salvation’ in
a human being, only ‘bliss’ (but this indeed)!

A Faint Rainbow (Christmas Card)

A Faint Rainbow
(Christmas Card)

A faint rainbow maybe,
draped across a frozen market,
a filigree tree in the foreground,Old Dutch painting: lively scene of skaters between barren trees, steep gables and a pink manor house
some leisurely loops of skaters,
cloaked figures arranged like mute music –
that’ll do for a Christmas poem.

Good that my second-hand thoughts
and my second-rate verse
are still better than any in town
and almost as good as mulled wine…
And good that my real-life love
turns every single day into Christmas!

Christina Egan © 2012

These lines were inspired by this round painting :
A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle, ca. 1608-09,
by Hendrick Avercamp. — © National Gallery, London