Tuesday, 30 August 2011

of butterflies and orchids (in the Balinese Garden)



I stopped at a teashop. A woman named Cho, or Butterfly, asked me to compose a verse alluding to her name and brought out a piece of white silk. I wrote the following hokku on it:

fragrant orchid -
into a butterfly's wings
it breathes its incense.

Matsuo Bashō, Journal of Bleached Bones in a Field (1685, travelogue)
tr. Makoto Ueda



This the first post dedicated to the amazing Gardens of the World, which i visited in the Recreational Park Marzahn, in Berlin. You can read more here.



  1. What a wonderful little verse you wrote for Cho. The orchid gives life to the butterfly, the butterfly gives the orchid a future. Why do people not understand this interdependence that makes a whole bigger than its parts? There is a certain self reliance I do work toward. But it is an illusion really, at another level. Independence can be an admirable goal, or it can be the pursuit of a futile loneliness. I had a professor once who told me: "If you think too much, soon you will have no one to talk to." B.B. King also comes to mind, but I don't know if the quote originated with him: "When you get to the top, don't forget to send the elevator back down." And someone else said, "We all gotta hang together, or we'll all hang separately." Sorry for such a long comment, but this is how this post affects me. And the pictures are quite amazing.

  2. Everything you see, all that you touch, you turn to magical poetry. How can we not be enchanted ?

  3. oh,orhidee si fluturi in alb-negru,nu m-as fi gandit niciodata:)cu greu as putea sa gandesc matasea in ceva mai tactil,de acum incolo,si cred ca utimele fotografii implinesc,la modul absolut,dorul meu de matase imprimata cu motive tot mai pline de vis.intotdeauna m-am gandit ca,sub degetele noastre fine,matasea,materia infloreste in feluri la care nu ne gandim niciodata aprioric,si de aceea existenta noastra este o minune crascanda.
    acea gratie japoneaza pe un perete alb-ciudat ca,tocmai ieri,citeam o povestire despre sinuciderea lui mishima,era un dor de ei in mine-acea gratie,spuneam,atinsa,parca,in treacat de ciocul subtire al unei pasari negre,care zboara peste o diorama cu fluturi si orhidee,neatinsi de niciun tipat de groaza a inaltului.
    un kimono pe care il voi purta in toate ceremoniile din mine.

  4. wahouuu ! comme c'est beau roxana ! ces photos en noir et blanc sont du plus bel effet et pourtant dieu sait si j'aime la couleur (je ne met que cela pratiquement sur mon blog) mais là je suis conquise :-)
    je vais allée voir ton site sur ce fabuleux jardin, merci pour le partage roxana

  5. Tall, mysterious, thin-limbed, she sat in a darkened corner where, on her dulcet shoulders, she adjusted a tangerine-colored fichu.
    With a sense of serenity, she sipped her fragrant green tea and a vapor cloud nimbed her black-rimmed eyeglasses.

    But, don't we already have a Clo in our cast of characters? (Oh, it's Cho! He is so dyslexic) And, if it's not too combative to ask, is dulcet a Roxana-Approved (registered trademark) word?

  6. as i look at your beautiful pictures, the phrases comes into my head: sweet dreams are made of this.

  7. These images seem to exist on a cellular level which is pretty cool if you have a rudimentary understanding of cells, the building blocks of all plants and animals, (and which I believe are possessed of both consciousness and intelligence). Strong patterns and contrasts make a bold statement.

  8. the secret world of butterflies

  9. hello beautiful roxana how magnificent is the design of your post because it seems to unravel the cosmic design of the universe.I love the black and white thread weaving in and out of transcendent tracing butterflies and orchids as it is one thread-well colour would only have been a distraction in this garden of the mind and heart youve traced the single thread- how beautiful.
    and how beautiful to dedicate this post to the Park Marzahn in Berlin where the gardens are cultivated in diverse cultures but the thread of the earth traces transcendentally.
    thankyou for this masterpeice.
    sending you butterfly kisses.

  10. What amazing and intricate pictures. Lovely.

  11. and actually the incense of the orchid becomes part of the sacred ritual in this sanctuary of the earthspirit...where all of creation takes on a transcending power--the orchid is breathing as opposed to the passive scent of the flower and as stickup artist pointed out every cell is awakened with consciousness...
    sending you perfumed kisses beautiful Roxana

  12. But when I kiss you
    your tongue tastes
    of a tenth planet...

    Your gait indeed is royal:
    frighteningly infallibility of breasts.
    You walk without motion.

  13. Love that verse! It makes me want to write something on a piece of white silk...

    Showing the butterfly in B&W is a wonderful treatment and a great treat for the imagination. We can think of the butterfly in any colors we want, and the same is with the flowers.

    I could not be more pleased to read that this is the first of your posts about the Gardens of the World. :)

  14. ... this transmutation of the world into a dream of the world ... into a poem about a dream of the world ... this naming of the beyond-speech that floats like incense above the little flames of butterfly and orchid, that mirror each other, that gaze into each other in perfect beauty and therefore create us ...

  15. Shouldn't that be 'frightening' not frighteningly? Anyway, call me old fashioned or obtuse, but I really don't see the connection between butterflies and breasts!

  16. this touch, if I might be allowed to say, this touch of the butterfly's wings on the flowers, so knowing, and yet so unknowing, wouldn't you say? a gentleness without a name, roxana?

  17. "the garden of the three harmonies", eine passender erhellender Titel... ich kann mich nur den Anderen anschliessen, so begeistert bin ich auch, erfüllt auch von dieser Schönheit, dieser wundervollen Fotografie.
    Es scheint, Du machst aus allem, was Dir begegnet, ein Werk der Nachdenklichkeit und der reinen Betrachtung, liebste Prinzessin...!

  18. Les papillons ne sont que des fleurs envolées...:)

    Un billet doux Roxana...ou l'on voit les orchidées s'envoler et les papillons devenir fleurs..
    J'aime beaucoup l'effet visuel qui amene ce leger trouble..qui est quoi?
    Douces pensées papillonantes ..:o)
    A bientot..

  19. Ces fleurs sont superbes ! Le papillon peut s'assimiler à une fleur avec ses ailes qui ressemblent étrangement à ces feuilles !

    La nature ne cesse de surprendre Roxana !
    Je parle de la nature autant que de la nature humaine !

    J'ai un papillon qui a décidé de n'en faire qu'à sa tête ! La nature est bien capricieuse :)

    Amitiés Roxana...

  20. Vai Roxana ce lucrări...

    Mai mult, nu am ce să spun. De obcei mă lași fără cuvinte, ceea ce e bine.

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  22. The title sounds too good to be true, and then there's the pictures...

  23. myth, what a new way of seeing things you bring here, interdependence, i hadn't seen it like this myself (and neither did Basho, who wrote this poem, though interdependence did function in old japanese poetry, but on a different level, that of associations and connotations on a symbolic level).

    Owen, this is so sweet of you to say that, thank you...

    ce frumos, ce frumos ai scris despre mătase, draga mea Cerasela, acum vreau să fac o postare numai despre asta, despre mătase. am şi varianta color a fluturilor, e drept că toată lumea vede fluturii în culori, ei sunt cumva arhetipal asociaţi cu ele, dar mi-a plăcut mai mult alb negru, parcă simţeam mătasea, cum spui...

  24. merci Karine, c'est vrai, les papillons semblent associes aux couleurs, de maniere presque archetypale, mais la j'ai aime le noir et blanc davantage, peut-etre parce que la texture, comme soie, devenait ainsi plus visible...

    ah manu, it's been a while since i haven't listened to that song, thanks for reminding me :-)

    Stickup, maybe not related, but i was just reading an article about how recent research on animal behaviour lead scientists believe that there were other ways of self-consciousness than the one normally defined by psychology, which is based on mirror recognition. very interesting, considering the fact that the notion of self and self-consciousness is still a mystery, despite being central to what we are.

    Lynne, and ever fascinating world...

  25. Madeleine, what you say about the design here unraveling the cosmic design of the universe echoes Stickup's thoughts (and you mention her comment yourself), she views it on the level of the microcosm and you on the level of the macrocosm - and it is one essential belief of the german Naturphilosophie, that the two mirror each other endlessly.
    and yes, exactly my thoughts as well: colour would have been a distraction here, i am happy you see it this way too.
    thank you for the lovely butterfly kisses, they are still floating around me now :-)

    thank you, Jenny, for your nice words of appreciation, i am glad you like them :-)

    anon, Cho would feel pleased with your reaction, i think, besides, even if this is not really apparent to us nowadays, Basho's lines are considered to be very erotic, since they bring into focus the full erotic beauty of the women (the dazzling butterfly united with the amazing scent combine to shape this image). i don't know whether billoo is convinced, if not i will send him to Basho's commenters for more details :-)

    Prospero, her eyeglasses are silver-nimbed, not black, i think i don't have enough courage to go for black in this respect :-)
    hmmm, no, i don't think dulcet is Roxana-approved, but i love the word which gave birth to it in Middle English, doucet, and of course doux in French - so you might consider change to middle english for your next comment :-P

    Lydia, my imagination was caught by that image too, writing on white silk, i am melting with delight just by picturing this in my head :-) yes, more Gardens here soon!

  26. James, how beautifully you put it, oh - this transmutation of the world into a dream of the world - if only my images could achieve this... i had pondered a text from Zhuangzi here, his famous butterfly dream, but then Basho's haiku was too striking a match :-)

    liebste Renée, ich danke Dir so sehr fuer Deine Begeisterung und einfuehlsame Worte, ich kann mir nur wuenschen, dass, wenn es so ist, wie Du sagst, ich nie diese Eigenschaft verliere - und jeden Tag bin ich dafuer dankbar, dass ich diese Zuflucht meiner Bilder "far from the madding crowd" habe...
    ich schicke Dir mein schoenstes Laecheln und bis bald :-)

    chere Clo, je m'en doutais que tu allais aimer le sujet de ces images, et quelle coincidence, tu as aussi montre de magnifiques papillons sur ton blog!!! de quel effet visuel parles-tu, j'ai peur que je n'ai pas bien compris...
    je t'embrasse de tout coeur...

    Jeff, oui, tout a fait d'accord sur la nature (et la nature humaine :-). tu connais le sens de l'expression anglaise: avoir des papillons a l'estomac? est-ce qu'un papillon dans la tete veut dire la meme chose en francais? :-)
    bises, Jeff le fidele...

  27. anon (the second or third one, i lost count): i should banish you from the Bridge for sending me to such bad music links chhhh (Akcent, where on earth did you dig up that???!)

    Michael T, i can't answer this, my subjective perception is not the same, i don't feel the two as being so different as you perceive them - only, perhaps, in terms of heaviness/darkness versus lightness... but it is also true that i like playing with different shapes and textures, with different colours, ranging from expressionistic ones to subtle pastels and also with black and white.

    Marion, that place was indeed too lovely to be true :-)

  28. Vladimir, ce mă bucur! de fiecare dată când postez flori mă gândesc la tine, să ştii :-)
    (more a bit later)