August Night / Nur Asche zu essen

August Night

The night is short and moist and sweet,
with secret sprouting life replete…
and stark and bitter all the same.

There is no peace on golden wings,
there is no peace from silver limbs…
only a tiny steady flame.

Christina Egan © 2012

In the midst of abundant midsummer,
the narrator has not found peace — neither
through prayer or meditation nor through
the presence of a beloved person.

The following poem laments the unborn dead,
whose graves are nameless and forgotten and
who never saw the light of the sun although
angels may have taken them elsewhere…

Nur Asche zu essen

Nur Asche zu essen,
nur Lehm statt Brot,
nur Erde zu wissen:
der bitterste Tod.

Den Leib ohne Atem,
das Aug ohne Licht,
das Grab ohne Namen:
das schärfste Gericht.

Die niemals Gebornen,
fast ohne Gewicht,
von Engeln Verborgnen:
Vergesset sie nicht.

Christina Egan © 2018

If Only It Could Happen

If Only It Could Happen

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

More than a memory
There never to return
More than a fantasy
There never to be born

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

More than an accident
From sadness or despair
More than an overspend
Of pity or of care

More than a fairground ride
Of wild delight, distress
More than a mounting tide
Of wandering tenderness

If only it could happen
More real than before
If only it could happen
Once more, oh, just once more

If only it could happen
And swallow up the past
If only it could happen
As lasting as it’s fast

If only it could happen
As lasting as it’s fast

More than a flower, gay,
Unfurling just to die
More than a night, a day,
A lonesome lullaby

Woman in winter clothes waiting under lantern in sunlit lane.

If only it could happen
More happy than before
I think I’ll let it happen
Once more, oh, just once more

I think I’ll let it happen
Once more, oh, just once more

Christina Egan © 2006

Photograph: Montpellier, France, in midwinter. Christina Egan © 2010.

Suburban traffic jam / Vorstadtstau

Suburban traffic jam

It’s raining, the traffic is creeping,
the morning is seeping away…
The bus windows seem to be weeping
at boundless suburban grey.

Yet should a grenade or a comet
now strike us, as if to sift –
I’d meet my death as a poet,
I’ve smiled and I’ve breathed and I’ve lived!

Christina Egan © 2015


Es regnet… Minuten verrinnen
im Vorstadtstau, Stoßzeitstau…
Die Autobusfenster verschwimmen
im uferlos traurigen Grau.

Und sollte der Tod uns jetzt lichten
– Granate oder Komet –
so hab’ ich gelächelt, gedichtet,
so hab’ ich geatmet, gelebt!

Christina Egan © 2015

These thoughts came to me on a bus near the spot in London where a man was shot dead by gangsters in 2015; no one has been charged with the crime. In 2016, another man was shot dead nearby by police. Later that year, another man was stabbed to death just down the road, near Wood Green Station.

Moreover, many terrorist attacks have happened in Europe, and many more have been prevented in London alone; but more are bound to afflict us.

Die Störche entflohen dem Norden

Die Störche entflohen dem Norden

Die Störche entflohen dem Norden,
Und nie mehr ziehn sie zurück:
Mir ist mein Kindlein gestorben,
Und nie mehr find ich mein Glück.

Mein einziges Kind ist gestorben,
Und niemand hat es bemerkt –
Denn niemals sah es den Morgen,
Und niemand hat mich gestärkt.Two storks in a nest, standing very close together, surmounted by a triangular tree and a steep roof, in the dusk.

Mein Lächeln muß ich mir borgen,
Wenn Frühjahr die Täler doch färbt:
Mir ist es, als wär ich gestorben,
Und niemand hätt’ mich beerbt.

Mir ist es, als wär’ ich im Norden,
Auf Nebelinseln, daheim:
Der Sommer hatt’ mich umworben
Und ließ mich dann achtlos allein.

Die Störche sind immer geborgen
In Kreisen von Sonne und Wind…
Doch ich erwache in Sorgen:
Mir lachte im Traume das Kind.

Christina Egan © 2013

Nest with two storks in North African city with crumbling walls and palm trees.

This is the story of a woman who lost her only child before birth or at birth, or who never had one at all and will never have one.

This poem sounds like a folksong and could be set to music.It may also work well in a translation software.


Photographs: Wyk on Föhr, Germany / Marrakesh, Morocco. Christina Egan © 2014/2012.

Real dreams

Real dreams

The saxophone blows golden loops
of grief into the golden air…
Amongst the crowd, I am alone –
my life is cracked beyond repair.

The saxophone, the sinking sun
release a web of golden streams…
Not even memories are mine
but only memories of dreams.

The bus arrives and carries me
away from unrhymed elegies.
Not even real dreams are mine
but only dreams of memories.

Christina Egan © 2014

Ecce pratum purpuratum

Ecce pratum purpuratum

Bunte Blumen wünsch’ dir nicht,
einen Regenbogen,–
um die Farbe hat das All
bitter mich betrogen.

Weiße Blumen schick’ ich dir,
ewig unbeschrieben,
schwarze Blumen noch dazu,
schon dem Tod beschieden.

Statt der buntgefächerten
frohen sonnensatten
weiße Blumen wie der Schnee,
schwarze wie der Schatten.

Purpursamen streut der Lenz
über meine Wiese…
Bunte Blumen brech’ ich dir
erst im Paradiese.

Christina Egan © 2015

Tall flowers, each part in pale pink and deep purple - almost black and white

Photograph:  ‘Bachblüten’ (Meadow flowers). František Matouš © 2016


Ecce pratum purpuratum

Do not ask for flowers bright,
rainbow blooming boldly –
since the universe deprived
me of colours coldly.

Let me send you flowers white,
virgin leaves forever,
flowers black as sultry night,
life and death together.

From the fanned-out golden glow
on the merry meadow
take some flowers white as snow,
flowers black as shadow.

Purple blossom scatters spring
right beneath my eyes…
Purple flowers I shall bring
you in Paradise.

Christina Egan © 2015

The title is a Latin quote from the mediaeval song cycle Carmina Burana.
The German and English versions were created to match each other.