Cimmerian Summer

Cimmerian Summer

This lifeless gloom: is it the dusk?
This pale white disc: is it the moon?
Is this a mild day in November?
No: in the land of ceaseless mist
this is the sun; the afternoon;
the lightless first day of September.

Christina Egan © 2015


“ἔνθα δὲ Κιμμερίων ἀνδρῶν δῆμός τε πόλις τε,
ἠέρι καὶ νεφέλῃ κεκαλυμμένοι.”

There are the land and city of the Cimmerians,
wrapped in mist and cloud.”  

Homer, Odyssey, 11:14-15


“Britain is set in the Sea of Darkness.
It is a considerable island. This country is most fertile,
its inhabitants brave, active and enterprising….
but all is in the grip of perpetual winter.”

Muhammad al-Idrisi of Sicily, ca. 1154


Homer never ceases to inspire us. Incidentally, I saw a retelling of the Odyssey  last night, at a London playhouse, or rather, amphitheatre! (On this first day of September, the weather is in fact glorious.)

The memory of four clearly marked seasons, full of bright leaves and fruits, and the sorrow about the apparent confusion of the climate are depicted in My Pack of Cards.

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Sunface

Sunface

Orange clouds on blue sky, mirrored in windows of terraced houses to the left, with silhouettes of large trees to the right.

I smile at the sunface
and soak up the rain
I gather a garland
and wait for the grain

I forage the forest
and furrow the earth
I gaze at the sunset
and wait for the bird

I follow the swallow
its call and its course
it cries and it circles
it sinks and it soars

Christina Egan © 2016

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014.

This was the tree the bird sang from so sweetly… It has since been felled, so that my garden gets much more light and thrives; so the tree behind it, the bird’s new home! 

 

 

Tausend blaue Sterne

Tausend blaue Sterne

“Tausend blaue Blumen –
eine Galaxie!”
Liest du es und lächelst:
“Welche Phantasie…”?

“Bläulichweiße Sterne
himmelfarbne gar,
lila strahlt die Sonne,
alabasterklar…”Rhododendron (pink blossom), lady's mantle (yellow blossom), nigella (blue blossom) in front of old shed and fence.

Meinst du nicht, ich sehe
was, was du nicht siehst,
der du in der Ferne
diese Verse liest?

Federfeine Blüten
aus der Kümmelsaat,
erste Passiflora
wie ein Wagenrad!

Und die runde Blume
lächelt in das Licht
wie ein schattenloses
Kinderangesicht…

Christina Egan © 2014

Large flat flower in white and purple, with long purple stem, small orange fruit, shiny green leaves.

 

The sky-blue galaxy and purple and alabaster sun of the verse!

Photographs:
Christina Egan © 2013/2016.

Mitte Februar / Schnee über Nacht

Mitte Februar

Die Welt hat allen Glanz verloren
wie eine ganz verwelkte Frau.
Am Himmel Wolken, Schnee am Boden –
ein Leichentuch von blassem Grau.

Dahinter kämpft mit langem Atem
das fern verbannte Feuerrund:
Unmerklich schmelzen schon die Schatten,
und Farbe braut im Untergrund.

Die schwarzen Zweige sind lebendig,
das nasse Moos voll neuem Saft,
und das ermattete Gelände
wird auferstehn mit satter Kraft.

Christina Egan © 2012


 

Schnee über Nacht

Der Schnee hat wie ein Federbett
die kahle Erde zugedeckt,
begräbt die Schuld,
begräbt den Schmerz
in Gottes gnädiger Geduld,
in Gottes unbegrenztem Herz.

Christina Egan © 2012


Mitte Februar was published in the Rhönkalender 2015 (entitled Ende Februar). The 2017 calendar includes three poems by me and is still available.

Get Up and Follow Me

Get Up and Follow Me

Love sometimes does  pass our little lives
and stops and speaks: Get up and follow me.
We look, look up, into each other’s eyes,
get up, leave all and follow hand in hand.
There is a love that’s larger than the sun,
it knows the shade, the night, it knows no end,
it’s definite and infinite, it flows
through our hearts, till two are truly one.

Christina Egan © 2000


These lines were inspired by the biblical stories of Jesus calling his followers, who literally got up, left everything behind and — followed him. Just imagine you are getting up from your desk this minute to walk out of your life!

I wrote this poem for my own wedding and recommend it also for anniversaries; a long time together is not eternity yet, but a great achievement and a great gift. Perhaps you could even use it for Valentine’s Day.

Ich behaupte das Dach über Dächern

Ich behaupte das Dach über Dächern

I.

Ich behaupte das Dach über Dächern
und Wipfeln und Kuppeln der Stadt,
im sonnengeladenen Himmel
ein lebensgeladenes Blatt!

Eine Fahne in sattesten Farben,
ein Winken: „Ich bin! Ich bin hier!“
Mein Herz reißt sich los aus dem Leibe
und fliegt über Meere zu dir.

View from high up along building of concrete, steel and glass to the right, with lawn and trees to the left and clouds in blue sky above.

II.

Ich betrachte die Bäume von oben:
erst leuchtend, dann dürr und dann kahl.
Ich zeichne die Großstadt, gewoben
aus Backstein und Kalkstein und Stahl.

Mein Auge drängt aber hinüber
zum Rande der Stadt und des Lands,–
mein Herz glaubt noch immer, es fliege
zu dir mit dem Goldwolkenglanz!

Christina Egan © 2016

 

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016


The person who ‘holds the position on the
roof above roofs’ gets the bigger picture:
observing the city, the sky, the seasons;  
aware of being a part of the fabric of life.

But really, she or he just wants to fly beyond
the horizon, to be united with a beloved one…
who might turn out to be an illusion of desire.
These lines evoke immanent transcendence.

These poems may work in a translation software.