Yellow Fire (April Haiku)

Yellow Fire
(April Haiku)

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Little rust-red leaves,
no, blood-red in the sunlight,
there, throbbing with life!

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White stars are floating,
above the ancient tombstones,
on the slanting tree.

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Little lime-green leaves
running along the hedges,
look, like yellow fire!

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Christina Egan © 2017

Drawing of three old-fashioned spinning tops.Illustration from
‘Children’s games throughout the year’ 
(1949) by Leslie Daiken.

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The Aqueduct of Summer

The Aqueduct of Summer

A mighty bridge delivers, arch on arch,
the elixir of life: the light, the sun.
More yellow blossom blinks beneath each arch.
A milestone stands before arch twenty-one:
Hic aequinoctium, hinc lucis pars.
From equal night and day, the light has won.
This is the aqueduct of summer: March.
Proserpina returns with Phaeton’s run!

Christina Egan © 2016

Tiny bundle of yellow crocusses between massive tree roots, with sparse grass around.

Phaeton is an ancient sun god and Proserpina (or Persephone) a spring goddess who returns from the underworld for the duration of summer.

You will find German poems on the spring equinox at Westminster Bridge, Mitte März  and on the autumn equinox at Der letzte Tag des Sommers ist gekommen  and Hält die Waage Nacht dem Tage.

The Latin quotation is made up…!

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2017.

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.

Tiefgelb / Tieftürkis

Colour wheel with 18th century labels: clockwise from yellow over red to blue and green; one purple field has paled to pink.Tiefgelb

Die tiefgelbe Blume vor wollweißer Wand,
die frohrosa Büschel vor lehmbraunem Zaun,
der vollblaue Tag über kraftgrünem Land –
der rundbunte Sommer, ein tiefgelber Traum!

Christina Egan © 2016


Tieftürkis

Tieftürkis und lässig prächtig,
sonnensatt und sonnenträchtig
steht der Horizont noch spät.
Schwarze Flammen, schwanken Bäume,
stumm gestaltgewordne Träume,
wenn der wirre Nachtwind weht.

Liegt die Erde endlich nächtig,
scheint der Himmel übermächtig,
unerschöpfter Helle Quell.
Alle Sehnsucht kann noch fruchten
in verborgnen Gartenfluchten
oder einer höhern Welt.

Christina Egan © 2017


Colour adjectives develop only very slowly in languages all over the world. There are still not nearly enough! I don’t see why in German, we have the words ‘deep red’ and ‘deep blue’ — written as one word, even — but no ‘deep yellow’ or ‘deep turquoise’; so I am introducing them. I also made up a number of unusual descriptors for the first poem, leading up to the internally rhyming ‘rundbunt’ for multi-coloured in all colours of the earth or of the colour wheel.

Colour wheel with 18th century labels: clockwise from yellow over red to blue and green; one purple field has paled to pink.

 

Image: Arnoldus Lobedanius, Utrecht, 1744. (One purple field must have paled to pink.)

Reproduced with kind permission of the Library of Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule Köln).

traurige ernte / Funkenschlag

traurige ernte

purpurn häufen sich die trauben
äpfel rollen dick und gelb
unter meinen müden augen
neben meinem armen feld

unerwidert bleibt mein lächeln
meine tränen ungezählt
unbedeutend rinnt mein leben
und ich sterbe unvermählt

Christina Egan © 2011


Funkenschlag

Ich habe spät beim Wein gesessen
und in die Nacht hinausgedacht:
Ich werde ohne Erben sterben;
was hat mein Leben ausgemacht?

Ich habe nicht umsonst gelitten,
ich habe nicht umsonst gelacht:
Der Funkenschlag geschliff’ner Worte
hat oft schon Flammensprung entfacht.

Christina Egan © 2009


The first person is dejected in the belief that his or her life has not been fruitful; they feel lonely and poor, not necessarily in material terms. The second person is convinced that he or she has not  lived and suffered in vain: they made a difference through their words.

That successful person could be a politician or a novelist, for instance; but it does not matter, because everyone has made a difference to the world and has been irreplaceable. Our heirs are those who inherit our lives, whether in  money, property, things or in achievements, inventions, ideas.

My Pack of Cards

            My Pack of Cards

My pack of cards, when it was new,
was green and yellow, red and blue:
            from grass and leaves
            to golden sheaves,
            from glowing grapes
            to frosty flakes!
The leaves peeked out, unfurled, and grew,
flared up, fell off, when they were due.
            The fruits were round,
            the ice was sound.
            My year was clear,
            my joy was sheer.
My pack of cards is worn and torn –
my world is pale, and I’m forlorn.

            Christina Egan © 2016

Buds and fresh leaves on top of shoots above a parkIn children’s picture books, the four seasons are sometimes painted in four basic colours; everything is in its place, everything is perfect. Of course, it has never been like this: the weather is always unpredictable, particularly north of the Alps.

However, at the place where I grew up — Central Europe — the seasons were more clearly marked and more stable than on the British Isles. I also believe they were more regular: they seem confused and shifted just now. It is disorientating and worrying…

You can find an impression of undefinable weather at Cimmerian Summer whether it is due to the British climate or to global changes, I do not know.

The poem also expresses nostalgia for childhood, when everything on earth seems in its place. It was inspired by children’s picture books, which often allocate four basic colours to the four seasons.

Photograph: Schloßpark Fulda. Christina Egan © 2014.