In a tropical garden

I just realized I haven’t posted since early November. That’s no way to win friends and influence people. And in fact I’ve done very little mathematical thinking in that time. I have however, been on holiday, some of the pics of which you can see here. So in lieu of some mathematics, here’s a poem I wrote inspired by the superb tropical gardens of our house. It’s inspired by Andrew Marvell‘s great poem “The Garden” which if you don’t know, you should read.

In a Tropical Garden (after Marvell)

The warm air tells me to relax
Unreachable by mail or fax,
The vibrant sun with brilliant rays
Erases thoughts of care-filled days.
The water splashing in the pool
Appears and sounds both fresh and cool.
Upon my back I close my eyes
And rest with happy heartfelt sighs.

The spider weaves her busy snare,
Small insects quarrel in the air,
Bright parrots flash between the trees
Whose leaves are still for lack of breeze,
Beyond the pool I hear the frogs
Who croak and jump beside their logs:
To all these I’m an honoured guest
And all encourage me to rest.

Above my head the palm fronds sway
And whisper in my ear to stay,
To bide my time in dappled shade
And let my cares and worries fade –
The flowers and the waving ferns
To treat my eyes do take their turns;
Relaxed, at ease, in such surrounds –
No softer bed than these sweet grounds.

How wondrous are the garden’s fruits:
Bananas, lychees, bamboo shoots,
The mango trees above me drop
Into my lap their sumptuous crop;
The durian, and mangosteen,
Of all the fruits the king and queen:
Into my tastebuds they enmesh
The sweetness of their luscious flesh.

Why do I try so hard at work,
Harsh lighting keeping out the murk?
Commuting there by tedious miles
To push round papers, memos, files.
I do no harm, but little good,
And far less than I wish I could,
And always I’ve myself deceived
That some small good I have achieved.

But here I can, by gradual stages
Forget about time-sheets and wages,
Agendas, meetings, all such things
Just drift away as if on wings.
No more reminders or alarms
Just floral scents like magic charms.
No clock here strikes its busy hours;
I simply lie and smell the flowers.

This garden’s made with such success
Out of primeval wilderness,
The gardener and his sweaty team
Have worked for months to make this dream:
To keep the wilderness at bay
They need to battle every day;
Let down their guard but once and then:
The jungle claims its ground again.

This place is artificial, sure
And yet I love it even more,
The air is humid, hot and still,
I lie beneath a leafy frill,
There’s no place better for my brain
To loosen from a year’s strain;
With restful dozing, dawn ’til late,
I let my mind rejuvenate.

(December, 2011)

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