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.

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Park in December

Park in December

Dead leaves everywhere,
thousands of them, outstretched hands,
discarded prayers…

*

The crystal goblet
of the winter sky, brimful
with frosty white wine.

*

On denuded twigs
millions of minute buds
hovering in limbo.

Christina Egan © 2012

Warten ist der Winter

Warten ist der Winter

Warten ist der Winter, Warten
auf den endlich wieder starken
Glanz, der sanft ins Leben küßt,
was vor Gram verblichen ist.

Einsam ist der kleine Garten,
während Garben aller Farben
unter altem Laub und Moos
schlummern im verdorrten Schoß.

Hilflos ist das lange Darben
für den unbemerkten Garten:
hilflos, doch nicht hoffnungslos,
denn der Himmel ist sein Trost.

Christina Egan © 2012

My City Calls (Grey Roofs Grey Walls)

My City Calls

Grey roofs grey walls
Make up this place
A rough and kind
Familiar face

The spires chimneys
Market stalls
Suspended bridges
Station halls

Oh face of walls
So great so mild
My city calls
Come here my child

My city calls
With golden chime:
While winter falls
Stay here some time

The sky is full
Of rain and snow
Of miracles
To fall and grow

So many faces
In the street
Yet far away
The one I need

Far is my dear
So far away
But I am here
Just day to day

My city calls
Me with her charms
My heartbeat falls
into her arms

Christina Egan © 1995 / 2012


 

Like in Heimkehr nach Köln, the big city is seen as a mother. There are other poems or songs where I describe it as a person — man or woman, although I feel that a city is female. It is a personal relationship: my heart beats for the city, as I claim in Geflecht / Geflechte.

Winter Sunrise in Morocco / in England

Winter Sunrise in Morocco

Orange tree full of fruit and rose tree with large roses in front of high pink wallsthe rainbow scarf of the sky
stretched out above the battlements

awesome and unnoticed
by the markets which never sleep

and millions of golden roses
rolled out along the highways

in the carved and inlaid caskets
of the powdery-pink courtyards

strings of peach-coloured roses
clusters of orange-blossom and fruit

Christina Egan © 2012

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012

You can read a German poem about a Moroccan city at In Marrakesch. The buildings and walls of Marrakesh are pink by law!

Around the turn of the year, I found it warm and sunny by day and pleasantly mild by night. In fact, people were hoping for some rain…

Winter sunrise in England

at the edge of the orb of the earth
a mighty web of finest twigs

painted onto leaf gold
by a master’s hand

and then the blob of molten gold
so bright that it seems to melt them too

like a favour from the heavens
like the face of a god

as if life were possible
one more day one more winter

Christina Egan © 2012

In northern Europe, the winter is so hard that by the beginning of spring, you may feel, even if you are not at all old, that it was the last one you reached.

In Germany, it is cold by day and by night for many months, there is snow and ice, and above all, the nights are long and the days often dull so that you may not see the face of the sun for days; in England, the cold is less bitter, but — which is worse it reaches indoors…

In Praise of Darkness / Lob des Dunkels

In Praise of Darkness

This winter, when the day shrinks
like a lake swallowed by desert,
my lyre shall not praise the light
but the darkness.

When I rise before the sun
and a candle dazzles the eyes,
I will give it space,
watch it dance, entranced.

We have switched on the bright light
and the non-stop stereo sound:
we have switched off the darkness,
the silence, the peace.

Christina Egan © 2015

Lob des Dunkels

Diesen Winter, wenn der Tag schrumpft
wie ein See, von Wüste verschlungen,
lobe meine Leier nicht das Licht,
sondern das Dunkel.

Wenn ich mich vor der Sonne erhebe
und eine Kerze das Auge blendet,
werde ich ihr Raum gewähren,
wie sie tanzt, entzückt betrachten.

Eingeschaltet hat man das helle Licht
und den unablässigen Stereoton;
ausgeschaltet hat man das Dunkel,
die Stille, den Frieden.

Christina Egan © 2015

Much of my work  praises light: sunshine,
summer, solstice; sunrise, noon, sunset…

Yet we need darkness, too: to make the light
shine brighter, to make other sources of light
visible, to gain inner peace.

My previous post, Januarsonne, rejoices in
sunshine in midwinter!

Spätherbst (Feuer der Erde)

Spätherbst

Feuer der Erde
trieft aus den Früchten,
fließt aus dem Efeu,
sprüht aus den Dahlien,
fächert in Blättern,
schießt in Raketen,
fällt in Gestirnen,
tropft in Laternen.

Dann wandert die Sonne
nach innen,
in kerzenverzauberte Kirchen,
in wundererwartende Mienen,
in goldbestickte Musik.

Christina Egan © 2010

These lines refer to German winter customs,
which actually go far beyond Christmas:
after the fiery glow of autumn leaves, berries,
and flowers has gone, at certain times between
November and February
paper lanterns, real
candles, fireworks,
and bonfires are summoned
to dispel the gloom and cold!