Die Hängenden Gärten / Palmyra Perennis

Die Hängenden Gärten

Schwarz liegt der Strom, von Gestirnen benetzt,
blendend erhebt sich der Herrscher der Nacht
über die Hängenden Gärten,
über den künstlichen Gipfel,
welcher den Hügel ins Flachland versetzt,
welcher den Wald in die Großstadt gebracht,
über die plätschernden Gärten,
über die flüsternden Wipfel…
Flimmernd erhebt sich die Harfe zuletzt,
warm liegt die Stadt in versilberter Pracht.

Christina Egan © 2015

Basalt stone with carved images of trees, with a building, an animal and a man

The city of Babylon. Assyrian, 7th c. BC. —
© The Trustees of the British Museum
(Ref. no. 00032445001)

These musical lines evoke Babylon by night:
the moon and stars reflected in the Euphrates,
the Hanging Gardens rising above the big city,
murmuring fountains and a sparkling harp…
It could be the instrument which rises
sparkling like a star — or its voice.

Palmyra Perennis

Sank auch der stolze Bogen dahin mit dreifachem Seufzer,
ragt uns sein Bildnis im Geist schwerelos über dem Sand.
Sind auch zum Staube gekehrt der Ahnen goldene Hallen,
tragen das Erbe wir fort: sanften Triumph der Vernunft.

Christina Egan © 2015

For a picture of the ruins of Palmyra and a comment on
this poem on enlightenment, please look at my
MOTTO.

The view that cultural vandalism should be recognised as
a war crime akin to genocide has been discussed recently.

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Ashen Land (For Syria)

Ashen Land
(For Syria)

The only offspring left calls from the eaves.
Some houses have a hundred hollow wounds,
and hamlets of a dozen centuries
surrender to contending winds their rooms.

The olive-trees stretch out their silver leaves
like angels’ feathers in a cry for peace.
Where is the comfort for a bird that grieves,
the peace for ashen land? Is it beneath?

It is beneath the nettles and the shards,
beneath the venom seeped into the field;
it is above the silver heaps of stars,
seed of unimaginable yield.

Christina Egan © 2016

Olive grove, trunks and tree-tops silvery grey, like ashes.Photograph: ‘Olivenbäume in Umbrien’ by Adrian Michael.

I found this marvellous illustration on Wikimedia Commons long after I wrote the poem. I had not even thought of the silver bark and leaves resembling ashes…

In the past few years, millions of Syrians have lost their homes and possessions, or their jobs or studies, or their health or their limbs, or their loved ones or their own lives. The national liberation movement has turned into an apparently bottomless civil war, a literally insane religious war, and a vicarious war of outside powers. This conflict will change the face of the Near East and the face of Europe. Meanwhile, the suffering continues.

Let us pray for peace in Syria. All together.