Ginkgo Biloba by Goethe

In 1815 German poet, philosopher, and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a poem with the title Ginkgo Biloba. This poem is shown herebelow facsimile in the original handwriting of Goethe. In this poem Goethe reflects on the shape of the leaf of the Ginkgo tree. He observes that the leaf is split (in Latin: bi-lobal) and he expresses the view that this represents the concept of two-in-one and one-in-two, similar to the Chinese Yin and Yang, symbol of harmony. With this poem, in Europe the Ginkgo leaf becomes a celebrated symbol of harmony and love.

Poeme Goethe 

[English translation]

Ginkgo biloba

The leaf of this tree that here the East
In my garden propagates
On its secret sense we feast
Such as the wise it elevates.

Is it but one being single
Which itself divides?
Are there two that choose to mingle
So that one the other hides?

As the answer to such question
I have found a sense that’s true:
Is it not my song’s suggestion
That I am one and also two?

1815

Facsimile of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem Ginkgo Biloba in his hand-writing, 1815. Published in West-Oestlicher Diwan.

The Ginkgo tree is native to East Asia and is the oldest living species of tree on Earth, over 300 million years old. In China the tree is seen as a symbol of longevity and endurance, and the Ginkgo’s fruit is renowned for its health benefits.

200 Years Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Poem Ginkgo Biloba – CADEAUX JEWELRY celebrates the coming together off a legendary tree with the work of one of Europe’s most renowned poets and the deep emotions of harmony and love his poem reflects.