Grand Canyon Psalm


Grand Canyon Psalm

I.

Nothing prepares you
for the heart of the world
lying open before you:
luminous layers
of rosy rock,
jagged and rounded,
leading down, down,
right into the earth.

In the silver silence
of night, you hear
how this heart beats:
it trembles and rumbles,
it nudges your bedstead,
unsettles your cottage,
reminds you of death
and life and the earth.

Undulating layers of pink and mauve rocks and peaks, with trees in the foreground.

II.

Nothing prepares you
for the ear of the world,
always wide open,
always upturned,
listening out
for the thud of the pine-cones,
the dance of the deer hooves,
the chant of the milky-way.

You have arrived
at the mouth of the world,
its voice of thunder,
its eloquent silence.
Here you stand, struck,
quiet at long last,
as tiny as an ant,
anointed like a king.

Christina Egan © 2018

 

A tiny fraction of the immense expanse of the Grand Canyon.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2008.

Septembertraum

Septembertraum

Warm wird noch einmal der Tag,
hält die Verfärbung des Laubes auf
und verführt das Grün überm Grund
zu Gewändern in haltlosen Farben!
Scharlach und Schnee und Ultramarin
rütteln die Flügel der Seele auf…

Mild wird noch einmal die Nacht,
als läge der Frühling vor unseren Füßen,
ausgerollt bis zum Horizont,
statt des unabwendbaren Herbstes.
Silbern und sanft steht der Park
und klar wie ein Kristall der Traum.

Christina Egan © 2014

Front gardens with brick walls, flower pots, rose tree.

A warm September day lures new flowers — in bright red, snow white, deep blue — instead of the inevitable discolouring of the leaves, while the night is still ‘silver and gentle’. 

For a moment of suspense, instead of autumn spring seems to be unfolding before us…

Not necessarily an autumnal equinox  event, but very much in the spirit of it.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

Rosenquarzkammern

Rosenquarzkammern

Silberblech, angehaucht
Von allen Winden, schiefergrau
Und goldgekräuselt, rollt aus
Sich die See, bis sie
Des anderen Landes Füße berührt,
Die Türme der Stadt gegenüber.

Durch Rosenquarzkammern
Schimmert der sinkende Tagstern,
Reißt gleißend das Tor auf.

Den weißen Schiffen aber
Gleich menschentragenden Möwen
Folget das Auge hinaus,
Folget das Herz hinüber
Und wünschet sich Brücken,
Aus silbernen Fäden gesponnen,
Geknüpft über Wogen und Wald…

Christina Egan © 2017

Shimmering, milky, rosy piece of rock, resembling the sea at sunset.

This is the view onto the Öresund bridge which connects two countries, Denmark and Sweden, although it turns into a tunnel in the midst of the water, so that it seems to go under… The style of the poem is that of two hundred years ago, when such long bridges could not yet be constructed; the speaker only wishes for roads across, instead of the sea itself as a path.

I tried to convey the expansion of the elements and the symphony of grey, white, silver, golden, pink.

You can read English poems about a suspension bridges at On the Orange Bridge (San Francisco) and Tranquil Dragon (London).

Photograph of raw rose quarz by Ra’ike [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

By the River I was Sitting

By the River I was sitting

By the River I was sitting
Watching barges floating by
Like the clouds so full of promise
In the blue and burning sky

Bearing jewels, bearing silver
From the mountains crowned with snow
Bearing spices, sweet and fiery
From the jungles down below

By the River I was waiting
For a boat to pick me up
Till the oars were folded inward
And the city-gates were shut

On my roof-top I was watching
Night like lapis-lazuli
While the stars were slowly rolling
Round the tiny lonely me

By Two Rivers I was dwelling
In a house of golden bricks
In my dress of snow and silver
Waving to intrepid ships

When the stars had come full circle
Strangers broke my city-gate
And my boat lay by the palm-trees
Finest date-wine was its freight

And it flew against the current
And it floated with the storm
Till I climbed the purple mountains
Where the River Twins are born

Christina Egan © 2011

Jar, elegantly curved, with brown and blue glaze.

 

This song of the woman by the river is taken
from my stage play The Bricks of Ur  (© 2011).

Place: City of Ur, Mesopotamia — Time: 2000 B.C.

Photograph: Assyrian jar (9th to 7th c. BC).
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

The Spell of Spring

The Spell of Spring

Japanese laquer picture: two flying geese above river in gold, full moon in silver.When seven geese arise and fly
in magic patterns through the sky,
the silver rings of cloud will blush,
the orb of sparse young green glow lush.

When seven geese cry out and glide
from wintertide to summertide,
we’ll pass an arbour like an arch
and be transformed by mighty March!

You have become my you, and I,
your you, and our hearts float high,
when seven geese sail out of sight
into the secrets of the night.

Christina Egan © 2015

Image from: Japan nach Reisen und Studien by J. J. Rein (1881-86). Provided by the British Library through Flickr.

Schimmernder Streif

Schimmernder Streif

Ich weiß noch den Teich
zwischen Wiese und Wald,
offnem Meere und Land,
zwischen Süße und Salz,
wo die Dämmerung lang
und unsagbar weich
in den Baumwipfeln hing,
auf dem Wasser verging…

Jener silberne Teich
gleicht dem schimmernden Streif
der Musik, jenem Reich
zwischen Stille und Wort,
Empfindung und Ding,
zwischen Jenseits und Welt,
jenem Raum, der vergeht
und aufs neue ersteht…

Für Anton Bruckner

Christina Egan © 2017

This poem, like others in German and English, was inspired by one of the greatest landscapes I have seen: the strip of land called The Darß (Darss) in the south of the Baltic Sea.

The first stanza can be read as an impression of nature independently of the second, which compares it to Bruckner’s music, or indeed any music. Bruckner, in turn, is one of the greatest composers I know!

Silver Vein

Silver Vein

The curves of your step and your hand
leave a feathery trail in the air,
leave a flickering trace in my heart.

It’s a script you can’t see,
it’s a script I can’t read,
it’s a glittering vein on the earth.

That you weigh your weight,
that your flesh fills space,
that you radiate warmth

is a wonder to me,
a wealth of amazement,
a maze of desire.

Christina Egan © 2006