April 1, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day

Poetry in the Garden

In Chinese and Korean gardens there are 5 important elements :  Water , which equals life, plants and trees which are nature's clothing, rocks and stones, earth's strength , architecture, the foundation and poetry that reflects the joys of nature.

Traditional Chinese poems, called couplets, consists of two lines .  For example :

10,000 flowers
dare to blossom in the snow

Spring. A single tree leads the world in greeting

In the beautiful Huwon Garden of Cheongduk Palace, home to 13 Korean Kings, a boulder in the Ongnyucheon  ( Jade ) stream is inscribed with the following poem written by one of them in the 16th century  :

The stream flows away endlessly
  the waterfall plummets down from the sky
these remind me of a white rainbow, thunder and light flooding the valley.

Sijo, an ancient form of Korean poetry which uses three lines, was styled after the Chinese and is similar to the Japanese Haiku, but much older.

It is said that the King and his cohorts would float cups of wine down the Jade stream and the recepient had to compose a poem or song before it reached them.  No easy task.

April is national poetry month.  Gardens have made poets hearts sing since the beginning of time. Mine is no different.  I only wish I had a big,beautiful boulder upon which to write so that generations of gardeners to come could read it and be inspired.


Welcome, April
 come right in.
I've been waiting  for you.

Here in the garden you will find
Purple crocus
golden buttercups
velvet pansies
red tulips
and me.

Robins and Cardinals
too busy to sing
follow my hoe
seeking worms

Now that you are here
there is much to be done

Beans will go here and tomatoes there
 I draw an imaginary plot in the air
Cabbages and onions all in a row.
And of course  flowers,
flowers everywhere !

Dear April
I'm so glad you came.
But surely you've noticed
what a stir you've made.

You arrive so splendidly
in garments of green and gold
with Spring in your pocket
you touch the gardener's soul.


Written by Carolyngail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago All rights reserved


  1. Edith Holden, some guy named Shakespeare, and I join you in musing today.

  2. Truly lovely, Carolyn. April has arrived :) I'm so ready for spring and up with a song/slideshow for Garden Bloggers' Muse Day.

  3. Very impressive Carolyn, especially like your drawing an imaginary plot in the air. April fills us with so many schemes and dreams for the forthcoming year but I've been content to wander in the woods with Longfellow.

  4. I love your poem Carolyn especially the idea of April arriving with spring in her pocket. It makes me want to pick up my paintbrush. My muse is up now. May the sweet month of April treat you kindly.

  5. Carolyn, this is my first time visit here on your blog and I need to say I am really impressed.
    The image collage in the header of your blog is just awesome.
    I love your poem. It reminds me of the time when I still was living in KS and the April was the begin of the season for gardening.
    I can imagine moving from the warm and humid Alabama to the rather cooler Chicago, especially at this time of the year, meant some big changes in your life. Gardening in the northern part of the Us is quite a bit different than the gardening here in the deep southern part with all the humidity and big heat.
    Paula Jo (near Houston, TX)

  6. Lovely, Carolyn! You've expressed so eloquently what so many of us feel as April begins. I was lucky enough to visit an authentic Chinese garden in Portland, Oregon last year and was in awe of how all these elements come together in one beautiful display.

    I'm a little late tonight, but I've joined Muse Day with a poem of my own--not as good as yours, though:)

  7. Beautiful beginning to April, good thoughts will bring a good month!


  8. Hi Carolyn, I must warn you that because I missed our beloved Muse Day on April 1 (we were out of town and now my computer is visiting the computer-doctor - I'm at the public library), I may just post a very late post at some indeterminate date in the future! (Hopefully still within the month of April!) ha.

    Your post echoed the sentiments of so many of us... We've been waiting... :-)

  9. Thanks for posting this. i really had good time reading this.

  10. Hi Carolyn, Pithy? lol At any rate, my post is finally up! :-)

    The word verification was "pidshorly" ha!

  11. Pidshorly? Love it. Sounds like a Southern word. Thanks, Shady.

  12. Hey Carolyn ;)..shouting at you from just down the road!


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