Ripples of People

Ripples of People
(Spring Equinox)

*

Ripples of people,
uneven waves, sudden whirls,
fast currents of cars:
a wayward river within
a canyon of grand buildings.

*

These neat white windows,
row upon row, road after road,
a thousand eyes
trying to catch light, praying
to touch the feeble sunset.

*

Christina Egan © 2013

Busy junction in the dusk, with red and yellow lamps of cars and buses glaring.

These tanka were written in Knightsbridge, London,
in the last days of March — after equinox! —
when after months of dull and dark skies,
you may still be desperate for light and warmth.
For similar poems in German, see Alles drängt vorwärts.

Photograph: Deptford Broadway, London.
Michael Oakes © 2016

Steigt später Morgen

Steigt später Morgen

Im nackten Gehölz
am Horizont gen Osten
steigt später Morgen:
das schwächste, stillste Feuer,
der dennoch gleißende Kreis.

Christina Egan © 2015


Laub leuchtet auf

Durch die Wolken bricht
Glanz, Gleißen. Laub leuchtet auf,
rührt sich und flüstert.
Nur diesen Augenblick
haben wir, aber auf ewig.

Christina Egan © 2015


The first tanka celebrates the sunrise 
in midwinter; the second conjures up
a flare of sunshine in midsummer.

Eternity can be experienced in this life:
in the moment — and perhaps in the
moment alone.

For another experience of tranquillity 
through light and dark in midwinter, go to
In Praise of Darkness / Lob der Stille.

A Quilt of Light and Shade

A Quilt of Light and Shade

A quilt of light and shade,
a quilt of wind and heat
this solstice has become:
half fervour, half fatigue…

A quilt of sun and rain,
a quilt of green and grey,
brick red and blinding white
this city is today.

The boulevards are streams,
the roundabouts are whirls –
and fleetingly this seems
to be the best of worlds.

Christina Egan © 2012


In London, and in northern Europe in general, the weather is unsteady and unpredictable, even in midsummer. London has got a very great number of buildings in red brick, usually with window frames and decorative features in white, and plenty of trees, gardens, and parks. And it is very, very busy…

The summer solstice is also the subject of the previous post, This Day of June. As I am putting these poems online, there should be daylight till ten at night in England and some blue left in the sky even towards midnight — instead, there is not a ray of sunshine all day, and the sky is dark grey in the afternoon…

This Day of June


My 100th post!


This Day of June

zenith of the sun
semaphore of summer

the day when the flowers start melting
into fruit into
seed

the day when the very stones come alive
with lichen with
light

this day of June is yours
this day of June is you

Christina Egan © 2012

Top of wall covered with lichen and tree with patchy bark, mirroring each other.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014


I like to think of a human life as a sequel of seasons:
with glorious midsummer when one is a mature adult!
(‘Midsummer’ around solstice, ‘maturity’ around 35 to 45 years.)
This has also recently become the typical age for marriage
and parenthood. Also, most people now have long lives,
so having a chance to run the course of all seasons.

The two solstices are symbols of the cycles of nature:
at the highest point of the sun, heat and harvest are still to come,
but at the same time, the days are already getting shorter again…
Conversely, the lowest point of the sun sets off the period
of bitter cold and snow, but also of ever longer light and new buds.
The seasons are interlinked, as are all cycles of life and death.


The next post, A Quilt of Light and Shade, describes
the time around summer solstice in London, England.

Triumphboot des Sommers

Triumphboot des Sommers
(Chateau de Chillon, Genfersee)

Gesättigt mit Licht
der Spiegel des Sees,
die Glocke des Tals,
der lange Nachmittag
letzter Frische
vor dem bronzenen Sommer.

Hingeschüttet das ganze Geschmeide
der Erde von unter den Wurzeln,
schimmernde Schuppen
auf der Schlange Landes
zwischen Bucht und Gebirg.

Blondes seidiges Licht
fällt in die Fenster der Burg,
tief hinein ins Verlies,
reicht an den rohen Fels;
tastende Fingerkuppen
wärmen die toten Kamine,
die fernen Wände der Säle,
rufen verblichene Sänger herauf
zum zeitlosen Tanz.

Am anderen Ufer
ragen reglos die Segel
der senkrechten Felsen,
bewimpelt mit Wolken,
Triumphboot des Sommers.

Die Stunde der Sonnwende schlägt,
unhörbar,
unumkehrbar,
unzerstörbar.

Christina Egan © 2001


‘Triumphal Barge of Summer’ may work in a translation software. It is a memory of Lac Leman, a vast lake between towering mountains, around summer solstice. One of the most beautiful days of my life!

ostermorgen

ostermorgen

der schwere aschenfarbne vorhang
aus wolken zerrissen und weggefegt
spätmärzhohe morgensonne
ergießt sich als murmelnde orgelfuge

etwas ist geschehen
etwas ist dennoch geschehen
etwas
ist

lösende
lockende
gegenständliche
gegenwart!

Christina Egan © 2013

This poem about Easter morning was published in a previous edition of the Rhönkalender. It does not work in translation machines because the language is unusual and innovative.

For Christians, the resurrection of Jesus is not a myth or symbol but a historical and cosmic event; and God is not a distant force but a living presence.

For more on the symbolism of Lent and Easter, see my previous post Fastenzeit / Lent.

Green Blood

The plant on the window-sill

Lush Christmas cactus on window sill, appearing to reach out to the viewer, with little cacti around.

It is shining, it is glowing,
while the sun is rising high!
It is stretching, it is growing,
so am I, oh, so am I!

It is breathing, it is throbbing,
full of blossom, full of birth!
It is floating, it is bobbing
on the bubble of the earth!

Christina Egan © 2015


Fist-sized cactus with large star-like flower on long firm stalk. Palm-tree shaped red plant in background mirroring the flower's shape; white rose petals on ground mirroring its colour.Die Macht der Königin der Nacht

In der Mittsommermitternacht
ist ein schneeweißer Stern mir erwacht,
eine bebende Blütenblattüte:
Mit heimlicher Königsmacht
hat ein Kaktus den Funken entfacht,
eine klare Trompetenblüte!

Christina Egan © 2013

 


The Tree at the Corner

Shiny reddish bark, paper-thin and frayed, on a straight round tree-trunk.I gather air and light,
I filter drop on drop,
till there is liquid life:
my waving hands’ green blood.

I give you air and shade
with my bright canopy,
till there is solid gold
through age-old alchemy!

Christina Egan © 2015


 

Was der Baum im Winter tut

Bare branches against sunset in mauve and apricot; high mountains along horizon.Mit tausend nackten Zweigen hält der Baum
gleich einem gläsernen gewölbten Kelch
die Gänserufe und den Amselsang,
das gleißend hingegossne letzte Gold
und dann das Pfauenblau der frühen Nacht…
Und jene Stille wie ein Geigenklang.

Christina Egan © 2013

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2013/2014/2016


These lines portray plants as living creatures and active participants in this universe.

The non-descript pot-plant stays in its place, yet it gives and takes, grows and procreates — and presumably enjoys life, particularly in spring.

Around summer solstice, the humble cactus suddenly pushes out an unlikely flower, shaped like a trumpet and dazzling like a star: it has revealed itself as a Queen of the Night!

The everyday tree turns the inanimate elements into living matter; and it brings forth beauty even while that life turns towards death again in autumn.

Around winter solstice, the bare tree perceives the beauty of this earth — sunset and dusk, birdsong and silence — or at least, it forms part of this array for us.