Friday in Lent

Friday in Lent

Friday morning.
The city is busy and tired
under the closely curtained sky.

The headlines shout out:
Things fall apart,
trains, towns,
countries, couples.

Life hurts.

The day is a prison, a lenient one,
with gardens and books as windows
and magical messages beamed onto screens,
with the freedom of speech
and the purple pursuit of the heavens.

Christina Egan © 2001


Purple is the colour of Lent, representing suffering; you will find churches decorated —and their statues covered up — with purple fabrics. Purple (violet, lilac, mauve) is a slightly melancholy colour, but it also has dreamlike and spiritual qualities. My ‘purple pursuit’ has all these shades of meaning; ‘the heavens’ could refer to religious faith or simply to a decent and fulfilled life on earth, as in ‘Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’.

Friday is the time when Christians remember Jesus’ passion and keep some fasting, a miniature Lent within each week… or at least the time when they do remember their faith during Lent. The positive messages on your screen could come from a friend — or from God, if you believe in Scriptures!

For a German and English poem about Lent, go to Fastenzeit / Lent.

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Word Weaver

Word Weaver

More purple clouds than I can count
or weigh or paint for you
or snatch and send them underground
with some surrounding blue…

To one whose windows do not stretch
to spy the heaving sky,
I’ll weave my syllables to fetch
the purple passing by.

To one whose dusk and marble moon
are filtered through a rail,
I must thread silver on my loom
to leave a shiny trail.

I must request the best black silk
to mark the balmy dark…
By day I’ll stitch a roaring quilt
to catch the city’s heart!

Christina Egan © 2016

Drawing of the mechanics of a loom (yarn on rolls, without the frame)The poet describes the world to a prisoner who can barely see the majestic ever-changing sky and the bright busy city surrounding them. The sound and rhythm of the lines emulate the warp and weft of life, so that the words reflect the world — read the poem aloud and you will see!

The other person may be imprisoned by a totalitarian state or indeed by a democratic state, or locked up by their employers or indeed their own family, behind walls and perhaps under a garment. There are many millions of human beings who de facto are prisoners or slaves without being called so.

For poems about time (for instance ensuing generations) and space (for instance a big city) as a tissue, see my post Geflecht / Geflechte. All of civilisation and all of humanity is one web.

Triumphboot des Sommers

Triumphboot des Sommers
(Chateau de Chillon, Genfersee)

Gesättigt mit Licht
der Spiegel des Sees,
die Glocke des Tals,
der lange Nachmittag
letzter Frische
vor dem bronzenen Sommer.

Hingeschüttet das ganze Geschmeide
der Erde von unter den Wurzeln,
schimmernde Schuppen
auf der Schlange Landes
zwischen Bucht und Gebirg.

Blondes seidiges Licht
fällt in die Fenster der Burg,
tief hinein ins Verlies,
reicht an den rohen Fels;
tastende Fingerkuppen
wärmen die toten Kamine,
die fernen Wände der Säle,
rufen verblichene Sänger herauf
zum zeitlosen Tanz.

Am anderen Ufer
ragen reglos die Segel
der senkrechten Felsen,
bewimpelt mit Wolken,
Triumphboot des Sommers.

Die Stunde der Sonnwende schlägt,
unhörbar,
unumkehrbar,
unzerstörbar.

Christina Egan © 2001


‘Triumphal Barge of Summer’ may work in a translation software. It is a memory of Lac Leman, a vast lake between towering mountains, around summer solstice. One of the most beautiful days of my life!