Ginkgo biloba is a poem written by the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and published in his West-östlicher Diwan or West-Eastern Divan, which is a collection of lyrical poems. The work can be seen as a symbol for a stimulating exchange and mixture between Orient and Occident while the expression west- eastern does not only refer to German- Middle-eastern, but also Latin-Persian, Christian-Muslim stimulus. The twelve books consist of poetry of all different kinds: parables, historical allusions, pieces of invective, politically or religiously inclined poetry mirroring the attempt to bring together Orient and Occident.
Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten
Meinem Garten anvertraut,
Gibt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,
Wie's den Wissenden erbaut
Ist es ein lebendig Wesen,
Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?
Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,
Daß man sie als eines kennt?
Solche Fragen zu erwidern,
Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn:
Fühlst du nicht an meinen Liedern,
Daß ich eins und doppelt bin?
|This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people.
Is it a living being,
Which has separated in itself?
Or are these two, who chose
To be recognized as one?
Answering this kind of question,
Haven't I found the proper meaning,
Don't you feel in my songs,
That I'm one and double?
The poem is taken from the Gutenberg Projekt
, its translation and information on it from Wikipedia