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.

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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

Moon Rainbow

Moon Rainbow

Enveloped in the velvet cloak of night,
I feel I have been chosen before birth
As secret queen of this enchanted earth,
Enrobed in moon and star and rainbow light.
Enveloped in this sparkling cloak of night,
Embroidered by an angel, tireless,
And lined with solid human tenderness,
I know I live and die to see the light.
I’m wrapped into this lining of the night:
Your silver beauty scooped out of the moon
And made to breathe and smile and give me room.
I hold your smooth and tapered fingers tight,
I hold your dreams to give them earth to bloom:
Around us moves the sky’s luminous loom.

Christina Egan © 2010

Westminster Bridge, Mitte März

Westminster Bridge, Mitte März

Im Überfluß hingeschüttet, schimmernd
und erstmals wieder erquickend
der Sonnenschein, und schon erstreckt sich
aus silbernen Plättchen gehämmert
das Straßenpflaster, entrollt sich
die hellblaue Teppichbahn
des Stromes, schon stemmen sich,
stumme starke Löwenflanken,
die Brückenpfeiler empor, ragen
lotrecht die Honigwaben
der Sandsteinfassaden, rasselt
endlos das bunte Geröll
der Menschenmassen vorüber…

Und unabwendbar naht sich
die Machtergreifung des Lichtes.

Christina Egan © 2014


 

The rhythmic stream of words recreates an everyday and vibrating scene: the enlivening flow of the spring sunshine; the rolling-out of a silver carpet and a blue carpet — Westminster Bridge and the River Thames; an avalanche of colourful boulders or pebbles people from all over the world; and the upward pull of the bridge pillars and mighty buildings — the Houses of Parliament.

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