Spell of the Orange-Tree

Spell of the Orange-Tree

The orange-tree is growing,
the orange fruits are showing
and glowing in the dark.
The moon’s translucent fire
is woven into wire
by spiders on the bark.

Oranges hanging from branches against blue sky

The silver light is flowing,
the silver web is growing
and glowing in the dark.
The secret saps are welling,
the golden spheres are swelling
to fortify the heart.

Christina Egan © 2016

Photograph: Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012

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Obsidian Mirror / Orangenzweig

Obsidian Mirror Mirror made of a deep-black polished stone, on a wooden base.

The moonless night, the iron gate,
between the trees the winding path,
the nameless pond: a polished plate,
obscure and truthful looking-glass –

The moonless night, the nameless pond,
the outline of a cruel fate:
the leaves are shed, the blossom gone –
It is too late – It is too late.

Christina Egan © 2015

 

Orangenzweig

O Traum von Liebe, Traum von Licht
Oranges hanging from branches against blue skyauf einem duftenden Gesicht,
vom kleinen Rosengartenglück
aus einem mächtigen Geschick,
vom Dasein als Orangenzweig,
an Blüte reich und Frucht zugleich,
vom ganz bescheidnen Paradies,
das dir und mir ein Gott verhieß…
O Traum, der niemals untergeht –
Es ist zu spät. Es ist zu spät.

Christina Egan © 2016


 

The two poems contain an echo, and echo each other, in the phrase ‘It is too late’ — ‘Es ist zu spät’, which emphasises the futility of wishes and plans when fate is irrevocably against them.

Obsidian is a very dark and very hard stone. Some ancient civilisations used polished slabs as mirrors. Apparently, they were also employed for fortune-telling!

Photograph: Aztec mirror, Museum of the Americas, Madrid. – Simon Burchell via Wikimedia Commons. – Orange branch: Christina Egan © 2012.

Winter Sunrise in Morocco / in England

Winter Sunrise in Morocco

Orange tree full of fruit and rose tree with large roses in front of high pink wallsthe rainbow scarf of the sky
stretched out above the battlements

awesome and unnoticed
by the markets which never sleep

and millions of golden roses
rolled out along the highways

in the carved and inlaid caskets
of the powdery-pink courtyards

strings of peach-coloured roses
clusters of orange-blossom and fruit

Christina Egan © 2012

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012

You can read a German poem about a Moroccan city at In Marrakesch. The buildings and walls of Marrakesh are pink by law!

Around the turn of the year, I found it warm and sunny by day and pleasantly mild by night. In fact, people were hoping for some rain…

Winter sunrise in England

at the edge of the orb of the earth
a mighty web of finest twigs

painted onto leaf gold
by a master’s hand

and then the blob of molten gold
so bright that it seems to melt them too

like a favour from the heavens
like the face of a god

as if life were possible
one more day one more winter

Christina Egan © 2012

In northern Europe, the winter is so hard that by the beginning of spring, you may feel, even if you are not at all old, that it was the last one you reached.

In Germany, it is cold by day and by night for many months, there is snow and ice, and above all, the nights are long and the days often dull so that you may not see the face of the sun for days; in England, the cold is less bitter, but — which is worse it reaches indoors…

Meine blaue Mauer

Meine blaue Mauer

Oranges hanging from branches against blue sky

Ich tränke die Terrassenwand
mit Mittelmeeresblau,
denn auch im Goldorangenland
regiert zuweilen Grau.

Ich pflanze einen Ölbaumzweig
in einen irdnen Topf,
als säße ich im Römerreich
mit meinem prallen Pfropf.

Fragment of a plate; fine red pottery impressed with two doves

Ich krümele den Thymian,
kaum samengroßes Laub:
Sein wilder Duft steigt himmelan –
Mein südlich süßes Kraut!

Ich leg’ ein rotes Scherbenrund
in meine Marmorhand,
als hielte der gemeine Fund
Jahrtausende gebannt…

Roof terrace with pots of little palm-trees and fence all painted in striking bright blue.Auf meiner Gartenmauer schau’
ich Städte bunt erblühn
und wachsen in das satte Blau
und wanken und verglühn.

Ich ritze meinen Namen stolz
dem Putz ein auf Latein;
ich warte aufs Olivenholz
und schlürfe Purpurwein…

Christina Egan © 2014

Photographs: Morocco
Christina Egan © 2012

Photo of Late Roman shard from Egypt used
with kind permission of the British Museum.