Poetic Quotations

WHS about which have been written short poetic, quotable statements which capture something worthwhile and insightful about what makes the site significant. The original may be in any language but an English translation should be provided. Show Poet, Title of larger poem where relevant with, if possible where relevant a link to the full poem, date written, any additional information. The quotation should be specifically and recognisably about features of the inscribed site rather than just a general comment on e.g an entire city.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Alcala de Henares Derek Wallcott about Alcalá de Henares: "Storks, ravens, cranes, what do these disparate auguries mean? The ski ripened then dulled, then across the chimneys the storks, their legs dangling as if broken, found their nests over the arches of Alcalá, the cobbled city of Cervantes"
Baekje Historic Areas Baekje’s Stone by Kim Je-hyun
Belfries Émile Verhaeren in "Bruges au loin" : « Bruges et ses clochers de pierre / Et Saint-Sauveur et Notre-Dame / Montent, tels des géants, dans l'air. / Mais le plus haut, mais le plus clair, / Celui dont le cadran de flamme, / Comme un soleil luit sur les toits / C'est le beffroi; / Il regarde jusqu'à la mer. »
Changdeokgung Palace Complex The Ongnyucheon (Stream) - located in the norternmost section of the secret garden. It was in 1636 that the curve waterway and the waterfall were made here. Just next to the Eojeong well, there is a large natural rock called "Soyoam" on which a curved waterway in the shape of "L" is carved and a poem inscribed. At the end of the rock, there is a manmade waterfall as well. The inscription on this rock was written by King Injo himself, the poem on it is assumed to have been engraved in 1690, in light of the note just beside the poem, which reads: "The stream flows away beyond the measurement, and the waterfall plummets down from the sky. These remind me of white rainbow, thunder, and light all over the valley." - King Injo (1690)
Donana National Park Antonio Machado, as part of his book Platero y yo: «There were the smiling marshes, girded with gold, with the sun in their broken mirrors, that doubled the closed mills. Between the hard round trot of the horses»
Giant's Causeway "Worth seeing, but not worth going to see". Said by Dr Samuel Johnson in 1779 of the Giants Causeway. Reported by James Boswell in "The Life of Samuel Johnson"
Great Wall On the Pattern of Qinyuanchun (February, 1936) - "Look at the landscape of northern China: The vast frozen land is covered with ice. And the snow flits far-flung in the sky. On both sides of the Great Wall. The empty wilderness survives; From upriver to downstream, The roaring currents disappear. The mountains dance like silver snake, The highlands slither like huge wax elephants. Vying with the sky for height." - wikipedia poetry of Mao Zedong
Hahoe and Yangdong 16 Beautiful Sceneries along the River by Ryu Won-ji written in the early 17th century.(Part eight) "The People Walking on the Lane along the Cliff. Outside the village there is a lane along the cliff. I see several passers-by. I do not know where they are heading. I often see them coming and going. Against the drizzle, they wear straw rain capes. In the sunset, they carry firewood on their backs. The trail is too dangerous for them to rest their shoulders. The river has mysterious depth. A few people ask to be ferried across. Sitting quietly, I compare busyness with leisure. Doing nothing will be comfortable." -
Kaesong Transition from Goryeo to Joseon "Even if I may die, die a hundred times, Even if my skeleton may become dust and dirt, And whether my spirit may be there or not, My single-hearted loyalty to my lord will not change." - Assassination of Jong Mong-ju at Sonjuk Bridge 1392, signaling the end of the Goryeo Dynasty
M'Zab Valley Simone de Beauvoir "C'était un tableau cubiste magnifiquement construit : des rectangles blancs et ocre, bleutés par la lumière, s'étageaient en pyramide; - la pointe de la colline était fichée de guingois une terre cuite jaune qu'on aurait crue sortie, géante, extravagante et superbe, des mains de Picasso.."
Mahabodhi Temple Complex Poem by the monk Hyecho of Silla, written approximately in 724 AD. "I expressed my humble wishes in a five-word poem." Untroubled by the long distance to Mahabohdi Unafraid that the deer park is far, Only the dangerous path worries me. Not caring how the evil wind blows. To visit the eight stupas is truly not easy. All places were burnt. How then could ones desire be fulfilled? With my eyes I saw it this very day. - From the diary of Hyecho
Mudejar Architecture of Aragon Al-Yazzar as-Saraqusti is considered the best exponent of muslim poetry in the taifa of Zaragoza. He's sometimes called the "alfajeria's poet" because of this poem: "It is enough for you as an honor and a source of pride that you were considered capable of building the Aljafería, alcázar in which joy fixed its camp and that dazzles the eye with its dazzling brilliance. Our feet tread on its ground raw silk instead of baked bricks and dust. We see (there) the rugs in an aligned form, embroidered in the center and on the sides. White on red, they resemble the boast of the lost and the blush of the maiden. Floor whose beauty of fine brocade spreads resplendent, like a pleasant orchard."
Namhansanseong Sijo on the Fortress (18th century): "The Fortress appears to be protected by dragons and tigers; its warriors who protect this large area are as strong as wild beasts. The great king's virtue is passed on and the general treats its subordinates with benevolence and righteousness. In this world, we take charge of both sericulture and defense, but in our free time, we also sing and play games. You might be ashamed of not defeating your enemy, but always keep this in mind and never forget this painful feeling." - Hannamnu Pillar inscription at the entrance of the Haenggung Palace of Namhansanseong (official website)
Olinda Olinda is all for the eyes it's not tangible, it's all desire. No one says, "That's where I live." They just say, "That's where I see." -- Celebrated Brazilian poet Carlos Pena Filho, in his poem Olinda (source: wikivoyage)
Petra "Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime, a rose-red city half as old as time". John William Burgon, "Petra" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_William_Burgon - part only of 350 line poem), 1845 (Won the Newdigate prize for poetry at Oxford University)
Ravenna There is a reference to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is Ezra Pound's Canto XXI: "And there was grass on the floor of the temple, / Or where the floor of it might have been; / Gold fades in the gloom, / Under the blue-black roof, Placidia's, / Of the exarchate; and we sit here / By the arena, les gradins ..."
Royal Joseon Tombs Pak Mogwol (1916 - 1978) The Royal Tomb, "Only one thread of road, To the royal tomb. Early dawn, no one on the road. Embroidered shoes from T'ang float up from the dark of dawn-moving among the oak trees, shaking dews down." - Selected Poems of Pak Mogwol (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, 1990)
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple Pak Mogwol (1916-1978) The Temple of the Buddha Land, "White Moonbeams, The Gate of Violet Mist, moon mist, the sound of water, The Grand Hall of Buddha, The Bridge of Blue Cloud, The sound of wind, the sound of pine trees, The Pavillion of Floating Shadows, shadows floating, mist, softly and around, suffusing, white moonbeams, The Gate of Violet Mist, the sound of wind, the sound of water." - Selected Poems of Pak Mogwol (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, 1990)
Seville About the Giralda by Gerardo Diego: "Giralda in pure prism of Seville, leveled from lead and star, mold in blue setting, tower without dent, seedless architecture palm."
Southern Öland - "Prominent among the 20 or more runestones of Southern Öland is the Karlevi stone, with a unique skalde poem in the dróttkvaett verse foot, commemorating a man called “Sibbe the wise”. - nomination file
Statue of Liberty "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she/ with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!". Emma Lazarus "The New Colossus", 1883, The sonnet was written to raise money for the base and is written on a bronze plaque inside the statue.
Stone Town of Zanzibar "It is not worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar". Henry David Thoreau in the Conclusion of "Walden" 1854.
Syracuse John Milton about the Fountain of Arethusa in "Lycidas" (l. 85): "(...) O Fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood, / Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocall reeds, / That strain I heard was of a higher mood: / But now my Oate proceeds, (...)" (see link for source)
Taj Mahal "An aspiration fixed. A sigh made stone" H G Keene "The Taj" 1879
Toledo A quote about Toledo from Miguel Cervantes: «Oh, peñascosa pesadumbre, gloria de España y luz de sus ciudades». "Oh, craggy grief, glory of Spain and light of its cities"
West Lake Many, but here's a poem written by Bai Juyi in the Tang Dynasty. The lake in spring looks like a painting, the haphazard peaks surround the flat water. The pines stack on the peaks like multi-layered emeralds, the moon a pearl on the water. The padi like threads on a green carpet, the sweet flags like ribbons on a green dress. I cannot leave Hangzhou because of this lake.


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Poetic Quotations?

Send it to me!

A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source