Motivation Monday: A Moment of Poetry

Inspiration station: where mantras and affirmations fail you as too pompous or too exotic, a classic poem, wise and beautiful, can be your starting point for a brief, invigorating meditation break.

Ginko Biloba, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1815

Leaf of eastern tree transplanted
Here into my gardens field
Hast me secret meaning granted
Which adepts delight will yield

Art thou one – one living being
Now divided into two?
Art thou two, who joined agreeing
and in one united grew?

To the question, pondered duly,
Have I found the right reply:
In my poems you see truly
Twofold and yet one am I.

(Beautifully accurate translation by Paul Carus, 1915)


Original : Gingo Biloba,
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1815

Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten
Meinem Garten anvertraut,
Giebt geheimen Sinn zu kosten
Wie’s den Wissenden erbaut.

Ist es Ein lebendig Wesen,
Das sich in sich selbst getrennt,
Sind es zwey die sich erlesen,
Dass man sie als Eines kennt.

Solche Frage zu erwiedern,
Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn;
Fühlst du nicht an meinen Liedern,
Dass ich eins und doppelt bin

(Original orthography)

Have a spare ten minutes?
Head over to Lost in Arles and read White bird in the snow – my friend Heather’s thoughts about being your authentic self.

Have a great day, Adventurers!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

8 Responses

          1. Sorry my comment was a bit confusing. I meant that when I was investigating the story behind the poem, I found music pieces based on Goethe’s West-East Diwan, which contains the Gingo Biloba, in the Buch Suleika ( I think I have that right). So I listened to various Suleika songs but they were not particularly soothing. . However this Suleika by Kathleen Battle is pretty good.

  1. Heather in Arles

    Thank you for the mention and link! And the warning…for that is one looong post.
    This one however was short but oh the power of poetry to inspire so much in such a short amount of time.
    What a lovely start to my Monday, merci.

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