Poems and garden images
Garden images in word and photo
Where I live in Pretoria, South Africa, we have a small garden which is mostly lawn (thank goodness the staff of the complex we live in keep it cut!) with rather narow beds around the lawn and these beds are full of mostly rather large plants and trees.
The beds are also south facing and what with all the trees and shrubs they don't get much sun, especially in winter, the season we are in now.
But I still find daily things to delight me in the garden and I take photos of everything that catches my eye.
I also love the written word and so in this Hub I want to share some of the images I have captured with my trusty Canon EOS400D linked to some poems and other writings about gardens that I have come across and found interesting over the years.
The images are not meant to represent the words nor the words the images - they are independent but perhaps related. I leave that to your imagination, dear reader!
The Rose is not fair
THE rose is not
fair without the beloved's face,
Nor merry the Spring without the sweet laughter of wine;
The path through the fields, and winds from a flower strewn place,
Without her bright check, which glows like a tulip fine,
Nor winds softly blowing, fields deep in corn, are fair.
And lips like to
sugar, grace like a flower that sways,
Are nought without kisses many and dalliance sweet;
If thousands of voices sang not the rose's praise,
The joy of the cypress her opening bud to greet,
Nor dancing of boughs nor blossoming rose were fair.
Though limned by
most skilful fingers, no pictures please
Unless the beloved's image is drawn therein;
The garden and flowers, and hair flowing loose on the breeze,
Unless to my Lady's side I may strive and win,
Nor garden, nor flowers, nor loose flying curls are fair.
Hast seen at a
marriage-feast, when the mirth runs high,
The revellers scatter gold with a careless hand?
The gold of thy heart, oh Hafiz, despised doth lie,
Not worthy thy love to be cast by a drunken band
At the feet of her who is fairer than all that's fair.
From: Teachings of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Bell 1897
The garden is mystical
Bad gardens copy, good gardens create, great gardens transcend. What all great gardens have in common are their ability to pull the sensitive viewer out of him or herself and into the garden, so completely that the separate self-sense disappears entirely, and at least for a brief moment one is ushered into a nondual and timeless awareness. A great garden, in other words, is mystical no matter what its actual content.
- Ken Wilbur, Grace and Grit, 1991, p. 109.
To the Moon
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?
Thou chosen sister of the Spirit,
That gazes on thee till in thee it pities ...
Percy Bysshe Shelley
the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green glade ...
Such was that happy garden-state, ...
- Andrew Marvell
who love this world, people who pay attention, are gardeners. People
who are invested, people who are aware. They are
gardeners regardless of whether or not they have ever picked up a
trowel. Because gardening is not just about digging.
Or planting, for that
matter. Gardening is about cherishing.
- Terry Hershey
Arcady brought home
be delights that will fetch the day about from sun to sun and rock
the tedious year as in a delightful dream ... For a garden is
Arcady brought home. It is man's bit of gaudy make-believe
- his well-disguised fiction of an unvexed Paradise ... a
world where gayety knows no eclipse and winter and rough weather
are held at bay.
- John D. Sedding, Garden-Craft, 1893
The state of grace called gardening.
the biocentric view suggests, the garden prospers when control is
balanced by equal measures of humility and benevolence. A balance
is struck. Control, servitude, respect, imagination, pragmatism,
an ecological conscience, compliance, and a certain measure of
mysticism and altruism all meld together to provide nurturance.
Try to separate the various aspects into their constituent parts -
grant any one of them the status of fundamental gardening
definition and one soon skews the entire process. Put them back
together again in the service of the two-way street called
nurturance, and we express the state of grace called gardening.
- Jim Nollman, Why We Garden: Cultivating a Sense of Place, 1994, p. 106.
How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the Palm, the Oak, or Bays;
And their uncessant Labours see
Crown'd from some single Herb or Tree,
Whose short and narrow-verged Shade
Does prudently their Toils upbraid;
While all Flow'rs and all Trees do close
To weave the Garlands of repose.
- Andrew Marvell
Nothing gold can stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Trudging gravel back from a graveside
I notice ants, vigorous and blind,
knitting a net over the ground.
Hungry for us
as we are, not yet done,
they erupt from beneath
the pious stones and young mounds
How fast they would fish us each in,
off our bones, out of our clothes,
if we stood still for them.
Let's wash our hands
and get away from this
- Lionel Abrahams, from the collection Journal of a New Man 1984
A Prayer for Rogation Days
Let us pray for God's blessing on the fruits of the earthand the labours of men.
Almighty God, who hast blessed the earth that it should be fruitful and bring forth abundantly whatsoever is needful for the life of man: Prosper, we beseech thee, the labour of the husbandman, and grant such seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruits of the earth, and ever rejoice in thy goodness, to the praise of thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
From A Book of Common Prayer OUP 1954. (This was the prayerbook of the Anglican Church in South Africa when I was a boy.)
A Flower for the Night
Where I lived for a childhood
the night grass was as magical as the moon;
coolly white and soft, like new snow beautiful,
and deeply piled by the monsoons.
There was a flower (I never learnt its name)
that bloomed one night a year,
following, with its delicate bluish face,
the arc that the full moon steered.
There was a garden of small temples,
a shrine to the wind and other deities,
where tea was served to guests in porcelain shells
carried over bridges of red-painted filigree.
On the low, carved tables scattered about
black pots stood etched with cloud-shaped trees;
each pot held a bud, each had its silent know
from the waiting throng of, mostly, Chinese.
And then the moon rose, fat-faced and yellow.
The few lanterns appeared to fade in the silver air.
In minutes, as in a spell, all the buds opened.
There were so many quiet people there.
- Douglas Livingstone Selected Poems 1984
Down by the Salley Gardens
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed by the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
- William Butler Yeats
Flowers and Men
Flowers achieve their own floweriness and it is a miracle.
Men don't achieve their own manhood, alas, oh alas! alas!
All I want of you, men and women,
All I want of you
is that you shall achieve your own beauty
as the flowers do.
Oh leave off saying I want you to be savages.
Tell me, is the gentian savage, at the top of its coarse stem?
Oh what in you can answer to this blueness?
- D.H. Lawrence
The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.
© Tony McGregor 2009