As Limpid as the Moon / Alabasterschale

As Limpid as the Moon

Some people are as luminous,
as limpid as the moon:
with truthfulness amidst the lies
or happiness in gloom.

They float and glow across the road
or mesmerise a room;
they never fade, and when they’ve died,
they leave a shining tomb.

Christina Egan © 2016


Alabasterschale

Überm schwarzen Heer der Bäume,
überm grauen Heer der Gräber
ruft durch dunkelblaue Räume
eine Glocke unbeirrt.
Balanciert auf spitzem Pfahle,
schimmert ferne feingeädert
eine Alabasterschale:
fremdes riesiges Gestirn.

Überm schwarzen Heer der Bäume,
blätterlos und blütenträchtig,
überm grauen Heer der Steine
lädt die Glocke zum Gebet.
Überm hingestreckten Tale
steigt gemessen, schlicht und prächtig,
jene Alabasterschale,
bis sich uns das Herz erhebt.

Christina Egan © 2017


As Limpid as the Moon remembers my radiant parents-in-law.

Alabasterschale compares the full moon to a bowl of alabaster; the scene is the vast old Tottenham Cemetery in London. The poem integrates awe before Nature and faith in God (as worshipped in church etc.).

This text will be printed in the Münsterschwarzacher Bildkalender 2019.

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weiße borke / Roof-Top Sculpture

weiße borke

rasch zogen weiße wolken hin
im tanz von sonne regen schnee
und weiße wolken hingen tief
mit zarten düften im geäst
als ich noch beinah winterschlief

ich gähnte und ich dehnte mich
und rührte plötzlich wie im traum
an einen kleinen toten baum
der hinter mir im winde stand
mit einer borke weiß wie schnee

ein birkenschößling manneshoch
den man einst pflanzte und vergaß
in einem kübel ohne raum
um seine füße wogte gras
und unkraut voller übermut

die blanken zweige ohne grün
die weiße borke ohne schrift
minutenlang im rampenlicht
blendende botschaft ohne wort
die ich alleine schweigend las

die tote birke tat mir weh
geschöpf das langsam nur verdorrt
dann nahm ich einen kleinen stift
und schrieb ihr diese elegie.
denn schönheit stirbt und schwindet nie.

Christina Egan © 2016

Slim dead tree trunks, brown and white, with thick weeds and a narcissus around the bottom, all in a large box.

Roof-Top Sculpture

Tall slender trunks with silver bark,
pale crinkled copper-gold the leaves:
it is a sculpture, spectral, stark,
the haunting beauty of dead trees,
of roof-top birches left to die
when no one heard their silent cry.

Christina Egan © 2015

 

Photograph: Dead trees with white narcissus flower. Christina Egan © 2015

Beetles on the Ark / Urban Copse

La Mer, enfin

La Mer, enfin
(Cimetière marin, Sète)

Ô vagues de vers sincères et idolâtres…
Ce vaste pan de verre d’un vert bleuâtre
Entre cieux et ombres suspendu,
Et cet essaim neigeux de tombes en marbre
Parmi les flammes géantes noires des arbres :
La Mer, enfin. J’ai vu et j’ai vécu.

Ces fleurs en bas, comme lèvres entrouvertes,
Impérissables certes, mais inertes,
Moulues de cet argile du Midi ;
Ces fleurs en haut, rosées et scintillantes,
Ces tressaillantes et minces, mais vivantes !
Le Cimetière. J’ai vu et j’ai écrit.

Christina Egan © 2016

Light-blue sky and light-green ocean in the background, white tombs in the foregrund; in the front, a flat marble slabs decorated with two large pink flowers, one in clay and one in plastic.

 

Paul Valéry’s tomb on the Cimetière marin, which has become famous through his poem. It is shown and played all day in the neighbouring art museum erected as a homage to him.

These lines are closely related to Valéry’s. The durable but lifeless flowers are of clay and plastic; the perishable but living ones blossom on the bushes around. My picture and poem were created in early January!

An automatic translation into English may convey the meaning of  my French homage to Valéry quite well — but not the music of the words!

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016

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

This is the Suburb

This is the Suburb

The houses lined up like birthday cakes:
brick cubes covered in cream-coloured paint,
brick cubes covered in brick-coloured paint,
giraffe-neck chimneys as quaint decorations.

The gardens stretching like flower-boxes,
each bush in blossom a witness to life,
the trees at the corners picked from a toy box,
perfectly round and perfectly green.

This is the suburb. If only you saw it
the very first time, descended from Mars,
flown in from the desert, arrived from abroad,
you’d clap your hands in wonder and joy!

Christina Egan © 2017

Front gardens with brick walls, flower pots, rose tree.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

England’s endless rows of terraced homes and front gardens, the brick walls and painted ledges and long chimneys — insignificant or actually invisible to their inhabitants beg to be photographed by the strolling visitor or newcomer.

The all-year-round greenery and the abundant flowers in England — even around the giant capital city — will amaze those whose home countries are hotter and drier or else colder and harsher, or whose cities have less green and more stone.

I have read that an immigrant from Bangladesh asked herself if English people are poor because many did not paint their brick houses! I have heard of other Central Europeans who, like myself, took the spring flowers in front of public buildings for artificial ones!