Toys / Baskets / Bowls

Toys

I
scanned
the
scattered shapes
heaped around me and picked out
the flowers and fresh fruits and fleeting clouds filled
with sun and added some slanted squares of marble and slate and
trunks of birch-trees and fashioned my finds into this
spinning-top. Just don’t ask what
it means. It’s a toy
I made for
you !

***

Baskets

The most delicately plaited words
still awkward, thick like things.
Bent over pads of paper,
the poet labours, late,
dexterous, impotent
to convey music,
silence…
peace.

Christina Egan © 2012


Roman_bowl_01_MusLon

Bowls

Like bowls of ordinary wood,
robust, adept, like workers’ tools,
these hands seem empty. Yet they are
filled to the brim, invisibly:
with jewel-like ideas the one,
the other with tranquillity.

Christina Egan © 2012

Roman bowl. Photograph from the
website of the
Museum of London.

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Tâter pour une langue

Tâter pour une langue

Il me manque les mots…
Ils flottent sur les flots :
turquoise… îlots…
glaciers et glaçons…
le bateau, le ballon –
ardoise… sillage…
nuit et naufrage –
sans peindre une scène,
sans rendre une chaîne,
parure, ceinture,
magie d’écriture !
Ô langue étrangère,
étrange, passagère,
je te cherche, te chasse,
je regarde dans ma tasse –
il me manque les mots !

Christina Egan © 2016


These lines describe the struggle to write literature in a foreign language. The poet has to look into her coffee-cup for inspiration…

The sequence of words appears to be disconnected but does produce the outline of a scene or story — a vague turquoise and grey image of a dangerous voyage — which also scans and rhymes. So there is the poem!

Ursprung

Ursprung

Narrow gorge with stream skipping around boulders and some vegetation on the rocks.Aus dem Felsen springt die Quelle:
So die Schöpfung aus dem Nichts.
Und sie strömet Well’ auf Welle
aufs Geheiß des Herrn des Lichts.

Und sie funkelt, und sie dunkelt,
und sie sprudelt fort und fort;
und sie murmelt, und sie rufet,
da geschaffen durch das Wort.

Und sie schäumet, und sie strebet,
spiegelt, springt empor zum Licht;
denn sie sucht den Herrn des Lebens
Angesicht zu Angesicht.

Christina Egan © 2016


This poem or hymn may work quite well in a translation software.

The text is based on the Jewish-Christian myth of creation: Out of nothingness (or chaos), God called everything into being (and order). Light was the first thing made, and it was all done through the word.

There is also a concept in Christian philosophy that God continues creating the world every moment; if he ever ceased, everything would tumble back into nothing. These ideas are really the opposite of nihilism.

Other thoughts from the Letters of the Apostles (at the end of the Christian part of the Bible) are that the whole of creation is striving and struggling towards God as if in labour; and that at the end of time, we shall emerge from darkness to see God ‘face to face’.

The title, ‘Origin’, means ‘first source’ in German; you can see the word ‘spring’ in it. Yet, I added the title in the end; the image and first lines stood clearly in my mind on waking up: the source springing from the rock, like the world out of nothingness, or life out of lifelessness.

A thought about a person stepping out from a building into the sunshine as if liberating himself or herself from a rockface can be found at Gelbes Licht, with a statue by Michelangelo that must have inspired it.

Photograph: Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Christina Egan © 2012.

Augustfest

Augustfest

August.
Klangvolles,
sattgoldnes Wort,
beinah orangerot.

Abend.
Wort voll blauer Ruhe,
verborgener Kraft
und süßer Verheißung.

Norden.
Ein weites graues Feld
im Winter… im Sommer aber
ein ganz grüner Horizont.

Augustabend im Norden.
Ein Fest ist uns bereitet,
herrlich wie ein Hochzeitstag.
Schau dich doch um.

Christina Egan © 2016


Some more thoughts on the north of the planet… In winter all is grey, sky and land and water alike; but in summer, the world shines in blue and green and golden. This is before you look at the flowers and fruits, and the places and things whose colours show again, and the people who have come outdoors again. Winter lasts six months in Southern Europe, like in the myth of Persephone, but seven months in Central Europe and perhaps nine in Northern Europe… All the more do we enjoy the glories of summer!

This is one of many poems I wrote for my wedding anniversaries in August; I hope plenty of other people will be able to use it for their engagements, weddings, and anniversaries! The little poem I read at my wedding is simply called I Love You.