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.

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.

Hollow Oak / feuerrad

Hollow Oak

Two round brooches with circular ornaments in gold and garnet, also glass and shell.Under the circle of branches,
under the tent of the tree,
inside the ring of the brambles,
sit on the roots with me!

Sit on the roots emerging
under the perfect round,
crouch by the tree-trunk surging
hollow from hallowed ground.

Under the circle of oak-leaves,
under the tent of the sky,
blue like the lakes in the valley,
come and sit closer by.

Very bright painting of the earth and universe in concentric circles on a golden background.Sheltered by tangled brambles,
held by the hollow oak,
tingled by ancient prayers,
kiss me and kindle hope!

Christina Egan © 2018

(Epping Forest, Essex)

 

feuerrad

das eichenlaub vergeht in goldesglanz
als sich das feuerrad der sonne senkt
die eiche hebt die wurzeln wie zum tanz
indes sie ihre hundert äste schwenkt

der eichenstamm rotiert als starke nabe
in jenem reigen zwischen tag und nacht
sein hohlraum bildet eine honigwabe
vom drachenzahn des brombeerstrauchs bewacht

die eiche streckt sich stolz am waldessaum
der sich zum wasserreichen tale neigt
wie gold und kupfer loht der alte baum
der tagstern sinkt das mondrund aber steigt

Christina Egan © 2018

(Epping Forest, Essex)


Illustrations: Anglo-Saxon disc brooches. Author: BabelStone [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons. — 12th century depiction of the world, illustrating a work by 11th century author Hildegard of Bingen.

septemberbeschwörung

septemberbeschwörung

I.

die sonne lacht zum letztenmal
ein unbedingtes warmes lachen
als wollte sie den lebenssaft
noch eilends hundertfach entfachen

bevor die wolken sich verdichten
der wind sich sammelt wie zur schlacht
die blätter sich am boden schichten
ihr eisenzepter reckt die nacht

II.

inmitten unsrer blassen straßen
dreht sich ein buntes karussell:
der platz wie eine wagennabe
bald langsam und bald wieder schnell

ich sehe hundert menschen schlendern
und hasten und zuzeiten stehn
als würden alle sechzehn winde
uns häufen mischen und verwehn

Christina Egan © 2011


‘September Spell’  is my impression of the autumnal equinox for this year… For another square like a merry-go-round, go to the previous poems, which describe Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, one in English and one in German.

The Mooness Grows / Die Mondin rollt

The Mooness Grows

The Mooness grows: she’s almost round.
She steps out of a wooded mound.
She knows:
The sea will swell, the sap will well,
a thousand creatures will give birth.
The earth
is restless, waiting for Queen Moon
and for King Sun to round her girth,
her life.
The fruit is red, the fruit is ripe.
The Mooness strews her silent spell:
She glows.

Christina Egan © 2016


Die Mondin rollt

Die Mondin rollt, ein Bronzegong,
vom vielgezackten Horizont
das königsblaue Rund empor.
Ihr hoheitsvoller Ruf erschallt,
bis alles bebend widerhallt
in Stein und Blatt, in Bein und Ohr.

Noch einmal steigt, noch einmal loht
nach Mittagsglut und Abendrot
des vollen Sommers Vollmondschein.
Der Bronzegong um Mitternacht
hat neues Leben angefacht
in Ohr und Bein, in Blatt und Stein.

Christina Egan © 2016


These two poems about the ‘Mooness’ are very similar (and written at the same time) but not translations of each other.

In Greek and Latin, the moon is linguistically and mythologically female, and we should have such a word in English and German.

As a woman, I feel instinctively related to the powerful moon and all life cycles — irrespective of reproductive capacity or activity.

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

psalm für dich / The Charm

psalm für dich

ein schwebender lebender planet
ist dein auge
ein schimmernder sternennebel
dein haar

manche menschen drehen sich nach dir um
und auch manche engel
Gott hat dich erfunden
um sich zu erfreuen

Christina Egan © 2012


This poem has just been published in the Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2017.

The person described may be someone the speaker is in love with or someone else, like a young child. Ultimately, it could be each one of us. I imagine that God feels as passionately about each human being as we feel only about very few others… and of course, still never as passionately.


The Charm

I want to rest my stormy eyes
in yours to find a moment’s calm;
I want to rest my wounded hands
in yours to find their strongest balm.

I need to lay my heart by yours,
which cast this fast and forceful charm,
I need to hear your heart tune in
to sing a brief and burning psalm.

Christina Egan © 2003