Poem of the Week

The Leafless Garden

by Mehdi Akhavan Sales

The cloud with its cold and damp skin
Has embraced the heaven tightly;

The leafless orchard
Is alone day and night
With his pure and sad silence.

His lyre is rain and his song is wind,
His garment is of nudity cloak,
And if another garment it must wear,
Let his Warf and woof be woven by golden ray.

It can grow or not grow, wherever he wants or doesn’t want;
There is neither a gardener nor a passerby.
The depressed orchard
Expects no spring.

If his eye sheds no warm luster
And on his face no leaf of smile grows,
Who says the leafless orchard is not beautiful?
It relates the tale of fruits raising their heads to the heaven, and now lying in the base coffin in earth.

The leafless orchard,
His laughter is tearful blood,
Mounted for ever on his wild yellow stallion,
It roams in autumn, the king of seasons.

Poem of the Week

Andrew Marvell, English poet.

 Thoughts in a Garden

 

by Andrew Marvell
What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

 

Meanwhile 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 shade.

 

Travel Theme: Gardens

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Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack chose gardens as this week’s theme. I visited Suzhou in December and despite the winter cold, the well designed garden still offers repose and remains place for a stroll. Suzhou’s an hour or so from Shanghai and is home to many gardens including this one, the Humble Administrator’s Garden. Many take the “humble” with a grain of salt.

There are dozens more interpretations of the garden theme linked to Where’s My Backpack. Enjoy!

Humble Administer’s Garden, Suzhou

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On of the jewels in Suzhou’s crown is the Humble Administrator’s Garden. Suzhou has many, many terrific Chinese gardens which were first designed in the 11th – 16th centuries and maintained (with varying care) to this day.

Visiting in December, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy a classical garden all that much. However, because the design is so harmonious, I found I immensely enjoyed strolling through the gardens. The underlying structure is ingenious so there’s beauty whether they’re seen in full bloom or with the stark beauty I saw in December. In fact, since the crowds don’t flock in the winter, I think my experience surpassed what I’d feel jostling with summer tourists by the busload.

From mid-April through October entrance fee is 70 rmb. From November 1 to April 15th, it’s 50 rmb.