The German poet, scientist, botanist and philosopher, dedicated the poem below to his former lover Marianne von Willemer. The Ginkgo leaf symbolizes Goethe's theme, one and double. The Ginkgo tree that was Goethe's inspiration to write the poem in 1815, grew in Heidelberg, Germany. On the picture below you see the poem in Goethe's original handwriting.
This poem was published in Goethe's work 'West-östlichen Divan' (book Suleika) of 1819, titled 'Gingo biloba' for literally reasons.
Meinem Garten anvertraut,
Gibt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,
Wie's den Wissenden erbaut.
Ist es ein
Goethe sent Marianne von Willemer a Ginkgo-leaf
and on September 15, 1815 on the Gerbermühle in Frankfurt (Germany)
he read his draft of the poem to her and friends.
On September 23, 1815 he saw Marianna for the last time. Then he showed her the Ginkgo tree in the garden of the castle in Heidelberg from which tree he took the two leaves pasted by him on the poem. The tree no longer exists. After that he wrote the poem shown above and sent it to Marianne on September 27, 1815.
So the date '15.9.1815' only refers to his evening on the Gerbermühle.
The poem was published in his work 'West-östlichen Divan' (Book 'Suleika'), first published in 1819. Suleika is Marianne von Willemer. In his work Goethe changed Ginkgo into Gingo for literary reasons (East ->West?).
from a tree in the East,
represent One living creature
to such a Question,
de este árbol, que del Oriente
este árbol extraño algún ser vivo
de este enigma tan inquietante
de cet arbre
là un être unique
à cette question
di quest'albero dall'Oriente venuto a ornare il mio giardino
in esso una creatura
kleinood in mijn gaarde:
als een enkel wezen,
other poems about the Ginkgo:
by Howard Nemerov, Poet Laureate of the U.S.A.: click here.
by the Spanish poet Elena Martín Vivaldi: click here.
by Eve Merriam: click here.
© Cor Kwant