The French poet and diplomat Paul Claudel spent 20 years in China and Japan following World War 1. He was one of the first western poets to be inspired by haiku and the like. His Hundred Movements of the Fan, consists of very short poems "only one phrase, enough just to support a breath - a sound, feeling, words - or the beating of the wing of a fan". Here is one which this rose petal fallen on the grass in our garden prompts me to quote:
A rose so strongly red
it stains the soul
All the poems in the collection in the original French and in the translation by Andrew Harvey and Iain Watson, are arranged in patterns to this (which Blogger does not seem to want me to reproduce), and accompanied by two Japanese characters.
One thing in particular strikes me the other night about the TV interview with the American photographer William Eggleston (BBC 1 Imagine), whose idiosyncratic black and white and colour photographs of objects and places, I find profoundly inspiring and thought-provoking despite or perhaps because of their great simplicity. He says that he only photographs a subject once so as not to have the problem of making a choice about which one to print.
In the vegetable garden, I search among the plants for the first French beans, of which the small pods mimic the stems and leaves. Looking for zucchini among, their exuberant plants, whose spreading leaves are already beginning to overshadow rows of beans and lettuces, I find myself challenged by the same sort of disguise adopted by the fruit.