Zauberspruch zur Winterverbrennung

Zauberspruch zur Winterverbrennung

Lohende Flammen, lohende Glut,
schmelzet den Schnee uns, schmelzet den Frost!
Knisternde Äste, knisterndes Holz,
brechet den Bann uns, brechet das Eis!

Christina Egan © 2016

Ancient manuscript (9th/10th c. AD) in neatly written Old High German.

 

These lines were inspired by two things: the German custom of gathering round huge bonfires to drive the winter out; and those few pagan spells in ancient German which have come down to us.

The sound of the hissing flames and the crackling branches is captured in the verse. The power of winter is interpreted as a spell, an ordeal of darkness and cold, which this spell, the chant or prayer of man, can break.

 

The only pagan spells in Old High German, probably written down in Fulda monastery in the 9th or 10th century AD. – Photograph: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen

Graue Gänse, grauer Himmel
Stumme Stämme um den Teich
Ungewohntes weißes Flimmern
Und ein Schimmern im Gesträuch

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen
Hingesunken über Nacht
Stengel von der Last gebogen
Späte Knospen überrascht

Glowing roses, golden with red rims, standing in thick snow amongst bare trees.Weißer Schnee auf bunter Mütze
Und dein Lachen wie Gesang
Häherschrei von Tannenspitze
Glockenruf minutenlang

Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen
Weißer Hauch auf rotem Mund
Ja, auch ich hab dich erlesen
Niemals tat ich es dir kund

Erster Schnee auf grauen Gänsen
Jede Flocke wie ein Stern
Weißer Schnee auf roten Rosen
Und ich weiß: Du hast mich gern

Christina Egan © 2017

White snow melting on red roses.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

This is the second of two love songs which could stand alone or be sung by a woman and a man — from opposite ends of a stage or hall, though…

In White snow on white roses, the first person confesses she (or he) still secretly wishes they had got together a long time ago, and wonders if her friend feels the same.

In White snow on red roses, the second person reveals that he (or she), too, has longed for this relationship all along, but he never lets his friend know… not now either.

Each of them sings into the wind, into the snow… The ‘years that flew away’ like the wild geese in the first poem and the ‘late buds surprised’ by the snow in the second poem show that the pair are at a later stage of life.

Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen

Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen

Wie die grauen Gänse zogen
Mit dem schneegeladnen Wind
Sind die Jahre uns entflogen
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

Wie die Flocken niedertaumeln
Daß die Welt zu Weiß gerinnt
deckt die Zeit die bunten Träume
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

White rose, pink buds, hawthorns, all covered by melting snow.Stehst auch du am stillen Fenster?
Rührt der wilde Schnee auch dich?
Haschst auch du noch Luftgespinste?
Denkst auch du noch stets an mich?

Blumenflammen sind vergangen
Und die Welt wird farbenblind
Niemals hab ich dich umfangen
Niemals gab ich dir ein Kind

Wilder Schnee: ein stummes Tosen
In dem strengen reinen Wind
Weißer Schnee auf weißen Rosen
Erst gemächlich dann geschwind

Christina Egan © 2017

White snow melting on white roses.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

This is the first of two love songs which could stand alone or be sung by a woman and a man — from opposite ends of a stage or hall, though…

In White snow on white roses, the first person confesses she (or he) still secretly wishes they had got together a long time ago, and wonders if her friend feels the same.

In White snow on red roses, the second person reveals that he (or she), too, has longed for this relationship all along, but he never lets his friend know… not now either.

Each of them sings into the wind, into the snow… The ‘years that flew away’ like the wild geese in the first poem and the ‘late buds surprised’ by the snow in the second poem show that the pair are at a later stage of life.

Die blauen Fernen

Die blauen Fernen

Fernab der Meere und der mächtgen Ströme
liegt meine Hügelheimat hingebreitet;
mit jeder Wendung, Steigung, die ich nehme,
wird mir der Blick auf neue Höhn geweitet.

Was braucht es Meere, wenn uns Wald und Wiesen
und Feld und Felsen und die blauen Fernen
wie Wellenberge, Wellentäler fließen,
den Schritt beflügeln und das Herz erwärmen?

Die Luft ist rein, mit Duft und Kraft geladen,
die Glieder und den Geist mir zu verjüngen;
und winters werden Schnee und Nebelschwaden
des Eismeers Zauber in die Berge bringen.

Christina Egan © 2016


One stanza of this poem is printed in the Rhönkalender 2018 with a photo from that part of the Central German Highlands; the whole poem has been published in the Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019.

Beetles on the Ark / Urban Copse

My Pack of Cards

            My Pack of Cards

My pack of cards, when it was new,
was green and yellow, red and blue:
            from grass and leaves
            to golden sheaves,
            from glowing grapes
            to frosty flakes!
The leaves peeked out, unfurled, and grew,
flared up, fell off, when they were due.
            The fruits were round,
            the ice was sound.
            My year was clear,
            my joy was sheer.
My pack of cards is worn and torn –
my world is pale, and I’m forlorn.

            Christina Egan © 2016

Buds and fresh leaves on top of shoots above a parkIn children’s picture books, the four seasons are sometimes painted in four basic colours; everything is in its place, everything is perfect. Of course, it has never been like this: the weather is always unpredictable, particularly north of the Alps.

However, at the place where I grew up — Central Europe — the seasons were more clearly marked and more stable than on the British Isles. I also believe they were more regular: they seem confused and shifted just now. It is disorientating and worrying…

You can find an impression of undefinable weather at Cimmerian Summer whether it is due to the British climate or to global changes, I do not know.

The poem also expresses nostalgia for childhood, when everything on earth seems in its place. It was inspired by children’s picture books, which often allocate four basic colours to the four seasons.

Photograph: Schloßpark Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.

Motionless Fire

Motionless Fire
(May Tanka)

Small azalea bush with lurid pink blossom, amongst lush feathery nigella leaves.

 

A motionless fire,
the azalea unfolds, flares,
and slowly burns out.
From the mud it wrestles force,
colour, and returns to mud.

*

 

Small azalea bush with brownish wilted blossom, amongst lush green nigella with feathery leaves and blue flowers.

Pink snowflakes drifting?
Forgotten miracle of
the cherry blossom!
Every spring, the petals sail
into death so serenely…

 

Christina Egan © 2016


 

Photographs: Pink azalea.
Christina Egan © 2016/2017.