On Crossing the City

On Crossing the City

Sometimes you want to get out of your life
as if off a draughty and noisy bus
and wander along the pavement for miles
round corners, expecting a revelation.

People in books get off on occasion
to escape a track of modest despair,
but you cannot remember where they end up,
presumably just on another bus.

Sometimes you wonder if you caught the right bus
or at the right time, or the right way round,
and if this hectic clockwork of movements
is determined by destiny or by dice.

Christina Egan © 2011

Amongst high, dark, buildings, lawns, trees in blossom, and in the middle, a red doubledecker bus.

 

For a German poem about the quest for meaning and happiness amidst the apparent confusion of a big, busy, city, see my previous post Zugewogen.

 

Photograph: London bus. Christina Egan © 2016

There’s Door on Door

There’s Door on Door

There’s door on door of painted wood
with potted plants and polished brass,
there’s row on row of gabled roofs,
there’s brick and plaster, hedge and grass.

There’s floor on floor of balconies,
above the din, above the dust,
inclusive of commodities,
there’s stone and concrete, steel and glass.

There’s door on door, there’s floor on floor,
but not for me, but not for me –
there’s brick and brass, there’s steel and glass,
exclusive of humanity.

There’s door on door, there’s floor on floor,
but not for us, but not for us –
one has a sofa in a store,
one has an archway in the dust.

Christina Egan © 2015

In Marrakesch (Einst fiel ein Regenbogen)

In Marrakesch

Einst fiel ein Regenbogen auf die Wüste
zersplitterte in funkelnde Oasen
in Perlen Spiegel abertausend Tücher
in Brunnen Palmen abertausend Rosen

Zum Regenbogen wird der Horizont
zum schwarzen Drachenkamm das Hochgebirg
und über kühnen Türmen hängt der Mond
wenn Dunkelheit das Mauerrund umwirbt

Und immer Hupen Räder Rufen Reden
Laternen Tänzerinnen wie zum Fest
Dies ist die Stadt wo jede Nacht das Leben
ein Feuerwerk ist: Dies ist Marrakesch!

Christina Egan © 2012

There is a longer version of this poem, as lyrics for a love song, for once a happy one…

This text may work in a translation software. You can read an English poem about Marrakesh at Winter Sunrise in Morocco.Vast square by night, illuminated by lamps in market stalls, with the sunset along the horizon and a massive minaret showing. The Square of the Dead is incidentally the most lively place on the planet. You must visit it after dusk to get the full experience. Nothing prepares you for Marrakesh!

Photograph: Square of the Dead, Marrakesh, Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012

In Praise of Darkness / Lob des Dunkels

In Praise of Darkness

This winter, when the day shrinks
like a lake swallowed by desert,
my lyre shall not praise the light
but the darkness.

When I rise before the sun
and a candle dazzles the eyes,
I will give it space,
watch it dance, entranced.

We have switched on the bright light
and the non-stop stereo sound:
we have switched off the darkness,
the silence, the peace.

Christina Egan © 2015

Lob des Dunkels

Diesen Winter, wenn der Tag schrumpft
wie ein See, von Wüste verschlungen,
lobe meine Leier nicht das Licht,
sondern das Dunkel.

Wenn ich mich vor der Sonne erhebe
und eine Kerze das Auge blendet,
werde ich ihr Raum gewähren,
wie sie tanzt, entzückt betrachten.

Eingeschaltet hat man das helle Licht
und den unablässigen Stereoton;
ausgeschaltet hat man das Dunkel,
die Stille, den Frieden.

Christina Egan © 2015

Much of my work  praises light: sunshine,
summer, solstice; sunrise, noon, sunset…

Yet we need darkness, too: to make the light
shine brighter, to make other sources of light
visible, to gain inner peace.

My previous post, Januarsonne, rejoices in
sunshine in midwinter!

Amidst the Rush / Schrumpft die Welt

Amidst the Rush

Amidst the rush, the silent crowds,
the glaring lamps, the blaring sounds,
I sink into a narrow seat,
a circling thought, a fleeting sleep…

Christina Egan © 2015

— 

Give me Two Minutes in the Sun

Give me two minutes in the sun,
give me two minutes in the breeze,
above the roofs, above the trees,
above the dust, above the din –
Give me five yards to stretch and spin,
give me a bench to look and breathe
before I must descend again –
Give me two minutes in the sun!

Christina Egan © 2015

Schrumpft die Welt

Hängt man vor dem Bildschirm
wie im Schattenreich,
wird das Auge müde
und der Rücken steif,

sieht man von der Weltstadt
eine Backsteinwand
und vom Erdenrunde
einen Rasenrand,

schrumpft die Welt zum Rechteck,
klickt man hin und her,
werden Leib und Seele
rastlos oder schwer…

Streift ein Strahl dein Fenster,
stürzt ins müde Aug –
Pflück den Blick des Himmels,
pflück den Tag und saug!

Christina Egan © 2015

By contrast to the previous post, On the Volcano’s Rim, which evokes an extraordinary experience at an exotic place, these poems describe the most mundane and repetitive of actions: commuting in a big city, working in a modern building, typing on a computer…

Schrumpft die Welt, or Shrinks the World, shows how, squeezed in front of a screen for hours, a person may only feel alive for one moment — when a ray of sunshine brushes his or her desk…

This criticism of contemporary life continues in höhlenmenschen / cavemen, where the tunnels and canyons of a world city resemble the rock dwellings of our distant forbears.