Children of the sun and moon

Children of the sun and moon

When we drift through ink-blue dusk
under the twigs of moon-white blossom,
under the crystal orbs of street-lamps,
under the shadeless signals of neon,

when we slide across concrete squares
and sail around sharp and rounded corners,
restless and vigorous, at home in the dark,
at home in the city, nocturnal birds,

we know deep down that we are still
children of the sun and moon:
the sun must rise in our eyes,
the moon must rise in our brain;

we must admit that we are still
children of the earth and sky:
the spring must rise in our bones,
the stars must rise in our veins.

Christina Egan © 2016

Curling Up

Curling Up

I’m curling up
against the cold
against the world

its random roar
its lazy contempt
its glacial loneliness

Buds and fresh leaves on top of shoots above a parkI’m curling up
with the sky in my mind
and the sun in my heart

around a seed
already unfurling
and then: uncurling

Christina Egan © 2014

 

I am at Home in the Darkness

I.

I am at home in the darkness.
At least, dreams shine more brightly here,
lanterns among phantoms,
gold grains in the drifting sand.

Only my dreams
are real,
are true.

II.Passionflower with bee, colours inverted to create psychedelic purple structure.

All those who wish to die
crave for life, life, lost
in this cavern of wandering shades,
crazed by the thirst for a garden.

Only those who wish to die
are aware,
are alive.

Christina Egan © 2014

Photographs: Christina Egan © 2014 / 2016.


I assume that very, very often when someone feels they want to die or are about to die, they are simply physically unwell — or simply overtired — or simply literally in the dark. If this insight informed our science and our society, we could manage our lives so much better.

The date these three poems were written is significant: it was mid-February, which is when I (like everyone in the northern hemisphere) feels the dark and cold most bitterly, because halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox, the various reserves of our bodies are dangerously low. From late February on, things get better, and this is not a mental phenomenon (little flowers can, after all, not cure leaden fatigue) but a physical fact.

Solstice Scroll

Solstice Scroll

I break some rare and short-lived flowers,
I sacrifice some sunshine hours
for Melpomene’s altar steps.
Since Phaeton’s horses thunder higher
with ever more abundant fire,
I’ll finish ere the day-star sets.

I’ll call upon Apollo’s powers,
I’ll stand amongst the cypress towers
around my children’s hidden tomb.
I’ll write my elegy and sing it,
I’ll scroll it up, stand up and fling it
into the bright barge of the moon.

Christina Egan © 2018

Straight Roman road with ruins and trees to the left and right, in the dusk

Roman road in Carthage, Tunisia.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2014

Obituary (I Think I Died Last Night)

Obituary

Deep-pink rose over, bent in the snow, with pond in background.I think I died last night,
but none of you noticed.

You talk to me as if
you were talking to me!

The clocks are ticking,
the coffee is dripping…

Even the sun is smiling
while I pretend to carry on.

I was a fount of life,
never looked at, never listened to.

I was an orphan on earth.
I have to write my own obituary.

Christina Egan © 2012

Tottenham Cemetery, London.
Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

Mondfische

Mondfische
(Museum moderner Kunst)

Der weiße Dämmer:
von Regenbogenfängern
mit Blüten bestückt.

*

Bunte Mondfische…?
Wirklicher als Wirklichkeit
hier im Tagtraumteich.

*

Praller Löwenzahn,
tausendfach, singt der Sonne
aus voller Kehle!

Christina Egan © 2014

Very bright painting of mainly blue and red shapes on yellow.

Illustration: Max Ernst:  Fish fight. Oil on canvas, 1917.
© Max Ernst. Digital image distributed under FairUse at
  WikiArt.

These poems were inspired by an exhibition of modernist art at the Max Ernst Museum Brühl. Germany. The bizarre and very colourful ‘moonfish’ make an appearance in the painting Mondfische (1917); I show a similar work here.

In a way, visual art is more real than reality. In Quest / Suche, I claim the same for music.

Cascades of Light

Cascades of Light

Cascades of light,
of mild, corn-coloured fire:
the sun pours itself out, down,
down across the black gulf
of space and time,
a flame, a smile,
onto the open rose,
the waiting face of the earth.

Christina Egan © 2004

Two large orange roses in the sunshine, yellow in the middle, with large healthy leaves.

Psalm

As warming as the sun’s first touch
after an age of ice.

The last love tastes like the first one:
radical, innocent.

No need to confirm with fire,
no need to confirm with words.

The world suspended in your eyes –
then life rolling out like a yellow-green valley.

Christina Egan © 2004

Vast lush meadow, with blue creek in the middle, under blue sky.

Photographs: Roses on the small island of Föhr, meadows on the tiny island of Hooge, both in the North Sea. Christina Egan © 2014.

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.

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.

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!