The fountain in the garden flows
Surrounded by green Fatsia,
An oriental plant that grows
In such abundance in Japan,
Provides as pretty panacea
As any water fountain can.
Its overflow delights the eye,
Where spillings dribble from the top.
They sally forth to trickle by,
And cool the nearly naked nymph,
Who watches each and every drop.
He catches some in his triumph.
The fountain in the garden flows.
Its overflow delights the eye.
I found this fountain along a path at the Minnesota Arboretrum. The playful nymph seems to be trying to catch some of the droplets in his mouth, that dribble over the edge of the plate he is holding up. I thought that was delightful! I was wondering what those huge leaves were that surround the fountain. I looked them up and couldn't decide if they are Polydendrons or Jananese Fatsia. I decided that they are Fatsia.
Fatsia Japonica is an evergreen shrub growing to 9.8 to 9.7 ft tall, with leaves that are spirally-arranged, with 7 - 9 broad lobes. The name "fatsia" is an approximation of the old Japanese word for "eight", referring to the eight lobes. In Japan it is known as yatsude, meaning "eight fingers". It looks wonderfully exotic and, as a native of Japan and South Korea, you would imagine that it would be a touch on the tender side. Well, in severe winters it may well be killed back a little - especially if heavy snowfall weighs down its branches - but it always seems to bounce back, and not just in milder counties. So it is no surprise to find it thriving here in Minnesota.
This poem is a Cornish Sonnet.
The Cornish Sonnet is said to be influenced by Arab traders to the Cornish coast. This verse form is a merging of Arabic meter and the Sonnet. Exactly when and how this came about is unknown. Early Cornish verse is fragmented and stringy at best. The earliest literature in the Cornish language were fragments of religious plays. The language became all but extinct by the 18th century but what was preserved in some verse in octaves using 7 syllable loose trochaic lines and alternating rhyme. Unlike verse from other Celtic origins, deliberate use of alliteration or other devices of "harmony of sound" are not present. This sonnet form doesn't fit with these early findings, so it can only be assumed that it arrived on the scene much later than originally presumed.
The defining features of the Cornish Sonnet are:
2 sestets made up of linked enclosed tercets, followed by
a refrain which is the repeat of the first line of each sestet,
metered at the discretion of the poet, lines should be similar length.
The rhyme scheme is:
Abacbc Dedfef AD
The capital letters show that the first line of each sestet are repeated in
refrain of the closing couplet.
This picture was taken by the author himself on October 16, 2014.