Early July (The vast transparent vessel)

Early July

I.

The vast transparent vessel of the sky
is filled at last with light up to the rim.
The twigs and leaves and petals wave and cry:
“The feast of heat and harvest can begin!”

II.

The days are still long, the sky is still light
and already strong the glorious heat,
the grass is still lush, the flowers still bright
and already ripe the sweet golden wheat!

Christina Egan © 2015


Those magical weeks just after summer
solstice are also captured in the German
poems Erster Juli / Eimerrand.

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kairos (eben im zenith)

kairos

eben im zenith des tages
tret ich in ein helles haus
und ich folge seinen stufen
und ich find nie mehr hinaus

eben im zenith des jahres
fällt dein flammendes gesicht
in den brunnen meines auges
mit dem hohen sonnenlicht

eben im zenith des lebens
flutet sanft mein goldnes haar
in die schale deiner hände
und die liebe wird uns wahr

denn du findest meinen namen
den geheimen dachtürknauf
und im purpurroten buche
deines schicksals scheint er auf

Christina Egan © 2015


Noble townhouse with rich stucco ornaments and rose-tree.In Greek philosophy, the kairos is the moment — the right moment or the destined moment. The incident takes place at a triple zenith: at twelve noon, around midsummer solstice, and at the highest point of life. The latter, if it exists, will be different for everyone…

Possibly, the story happens only in the narrator’s mind: she imagines that one day in June, she steps into an unknown building and “never leaves again”, because her name was written in someone else’s book of destiny — so they fall in love at first sight.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.

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!