Minerva’s Voyage

Minerva’s Voyage


Minerva by Botticelli

Her hair is the offspring of river and fire,
her robe has been woven from flowers and wind.
Her foot cannot rest and her flesh cannot tire,
her arm is in flow and her eye will inspire
a voyage for wisdom with one  fleeting glint.


Minerva on the Academy of Athens

She dived like a hawk from her shadowless sphere,
the shield on her arm like the sun in the west –
She looms on the roof with her helmet and spear
to capture the lightning, conduct it down here
and spark our restless and glittering quest.

Christina Egan © 2016

Delicate, pale, portrait of the goddess as a young woman in armour.Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom and knowledge, arts and applied arts; she came to be identified with the Greek goddess Athena, patron of Athens.

The two poems were  inspired by the two artworks mentioned, as well as a temple on the Agora of Athens dedicated to her as patron of artists and artisans.

Illustration: Minerva by Sandro Botticelli (ca. 1482-83), via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).


The Spirits of Nimrod

The Spirits of Nimrod

The Spirits of Nimrod
stood tall and stood fast
to guard empty castles
of empires past.

The spirits of marble
were shaken at last:
their wings broken off,
their beards ground to dust.

The proud heads of Nimrod
are curls without face,
their eloquent pedestals
frames without phrase.

Yet some still have lips
to whisper by dusk
and some stir their wings
deep under the mud.

The Spirits of Nimrod
will rise like the sun,
invincible eagles:
beware when they come!

Christina Egan © 2016

Ruins with many columns in arid, hilly land.

Invaluable buildings and sculptures of great antiquity and beauty have recently been destroyed by Daesh (so-called Islamic State). Nimrod was one place affected by those war crimes and Palmyra another.

These lines evoke the return of the gods — not as pagan deities but as statues: as witnesses of history and works of art, which we worship in our own way and will reconstruct, recreate, document, or remember.

Photograph: Diocletian’s camp in Palmyra, Syria (2010). By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Portraits of Marble and Verse


ich hämmere aus silberblech
aus makellosem mondenlicht
ein lebensvolles angesicht

ich bilde nach mit meiner glut
den sanften glanz den gott erschuf
dies sei mein einziger beruf

Christina Egan © 2015


Im Vorübergehn


Es gibt von dir, mein Freund, kein Marmorbild,
in dem das Leben lautlos überquillt,
in dem ein andrer Mensch mit Meisterhand
in Stein das flüchtge Spiel der Züge bannt
und deine Stirn ins Licht des Südens taucht,–
nur Verse, im Vorübergehn gehaucht.


Hinweg mit Ebenholz und Elfenbein,
hinweg mit Binnenreim und Gleichlautreim,–
kein Zeilensprung hält deine Schläfen und
kein Meißel schlägt aus Marmor deinen Mund!
Die sanfte Kraft der Adern übersteigt
ein jedes Bildwerk… bis es steht und schweigt.

Christina Egan © 2014


“I hammer from silver sheets”  claims that the foremost task of a sculptor – or any other artist – is to celebrate human beauty; and that he or she recreates the splendour of God’s creation.

“There is of you no marble image” suggests that the image of a person can be as full of life as the person itself; and that verse can make as good a classical monument as marble.

“Away with ebony and ivory” equates those materials with poetic devices – using them while naming them! – and concludes that human beauty, after all, surpasses any work of art.




My ancestor Carl Echtermeier with the model of his last work in 1910.


Photograph: „CarlEchtermeyer“ von Unbekannt – Scan Illustrirte Zeitung, Nr. 3502, 11.August 1910. Lizenziert unter PD-alt-100 über Wikipedia –


Auch dieses Gedicht,

ist letzten Endes
gefrorener Atem,
eine Rose
aus Stein.

Mein eigenstes Eigentum
und deines
und das eines jeden,
mein geschenktes Geschenk.

eine Marmorrose,
dem Leben abgewonnen,
dem Tode abgerungen.

Christina Egan © 2014