Travel Poetry: The Secret Gardens of Vaulx

20140830_154618An assault on the senses: so much to catch the eye.

We wander in a daze, through minarets of clay,

alabaster arches of thousand one more dreams.

We get lost in mazes, guided only by

children’s laughter and gasps of enchantment.

Round-mopped flowerheads beckon us to stroke them.

Birdsong fills the cool shade under the chestnut tree.

Water in every form bustles, trickles, dribbles, laps –

Each fountain a family member,

each square of cement path a pebble-enscribed love-letter.

20140830_154332It shouldn’t work: it’s madness,

disparate elements reclaimed from Morocco, Java, Spain,

brought together with nothing but bare hands and humour.

It started out as child’s play and became a family’s history,

hands in soil for decades, shared sighs, always a surprise,

glimmer of a pool around the corner, where

copper filigree meets bulbous earthen pumpkins.

Day after day they built one more terrace,

seeded another flowerbed,

unhurried, unforced,

mosaics of azure tinged with moss, gold shredded with scarlet.


20140830_154442We walked in smarting with petty quarrels.

Thirst quenched, a little silenced,

we leave here hand in hand.


These magnificent gardens that I discovered earlier this year  just outside Annecy in France – a source of inspiration and delight. For Gabriella’s brilliant initial hosting prompt about travel writing over at dVerse Poets Pub.

32 thoughts on “Travel Poetry: The Secret Gardens of Vaulx”

  1. Oh, that last bit really says it all, Marina Sofia! This is a lovely tribute to what I’m sure is a beautiful place.

  2. What a beautiful destination for travel! I’d love to see all the fountains and terraces. I especially enjoyed the last stanza. Indeed, who can quarrel amidst such loveliness. Really liked your photos also, Marina.

  3. Nothing that feels like ‘The Secret Garden’ can be wrong. I do not know Haute-Savoie as well as Savoie, although I skied near Megève when I was a child, but would certainly love to discover these gardens.Thank you for your encouraging words.

  4. Marina Sofia, besides describing the gardens so beautifully and lovingly, you demonstrated the healing power of nature and nature’s beauty, especially when conceived and executed with love.


    1. What a good idea – I usually meander through streets and discover strange alleyways or watch people go by from cafes- but whenever I discovered a park or garden (the Vigeland Park in Oslo, for instance), it brought so much peace and perspective.

  5. Arboretums are tranquil, moist, humid, sensual–gardens of every variety do offer a solace–but it is the call of nature, a quiet glen in a meadow of wildflowers next to a babbling brook beneath azure skies serenaded by a hawk’s scree for me. Loved your poem though.

    1. I’m a wild mountain pastures kind of girl myself – but really appreciate the time, patience, effort, love and thought that has gone into the planning and planting of gorgeous gardens, for the sheer joy of life and colour.

  6. I’m with Glenn Buttkus. I can enjoy a constructed garden, but nature’s garden is the one I enjoy most. Even so, your poem evoked beautiful feelings, and the last stanza tells us the “why”.

  7. It sounds so delightfully eclectic: “An assault on the senses…disparate elements reclaimed from Morocco, Java, Spain…copper filigree…bulbous earthen pumpkins….one more terrace…another flowerbed…water in every form…unhurried, unforced….” Just the way a garden should be: beautiful madness worthy of a lovely poem.

    1. It really flouts all conventional garden theories, it is an over-abundance of influences and styles, it really shouldn’t work, but you just can’t resist it. As one of the grandchildren said: “It’s not a ‘jardin secret’, it’s a ‘jardingue’ ” (dingue meaning mad, folly, in French).

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.