Johann Wolfgang (von) Goethe  was an influential  German poet, scientist and philosopher. In 1790 he wrote The Metamorphosis of Plants which he described in a letter to a friend as the ‘truth about the how of an organism’. Goethe went on to write the long poem version where he likens the spirit of a plant to that of human love  as he talks of

‘Gather’d in countless array, there where the altar is raised.

Hymen hovereth o’er them , and scents delicious and mighty. 


Extracts from Goethe’s poem were selected and combined with extracts from An Ode to Nature written by Georg Christoph Tobler in  1782. It seems that Tobler wrote his poem after spending time with Goethe discussing the Metamorphosis of Plants together


The resulting  poem (see below) entitled Rhapsody with Nature is a unique mixture of both Goethe’s and Tobler’s poetry to support the Plants as ink ACE project  Making & Understanding the  Colour of Plants and their Impact. 

The words from this poem  interweave  the Fine art short film called  Rhapsody with Nature created by the artist Susan Brisco.


Film: Rhapsody with Nature

Film duration 5 mins

Film stills





Rhapsody with nature

She brings forth ever new forms

All is new yet forever old

We live within her and yet are strangers to her

yet does not betray her secret

We work on her constantly,

and yet have no power over her

She is the sole artist

creating extreme contrast out of the simple hues

The greatest perfection seemingly without effort

Each of her works has her own being

and yet all create a single whole

never a moments pause

no name for respite

Each of her phenomena its separate idea

Presently parcell’d

Clarity always veiled with a touch of softness

Gather’d in countless array

We may force no explanation from her

Scents delicious and mighty

Stream forth their fragrance

She transforms herself constantly

The chain prolonged forever thro’ all generations

Turn thy gaze on the many hued thousands





Rose yellow


She is whole and yet always unfinished …


Extracts from

The Metamorphosis of Plants, J.W. von Goethe, 1790

An Ode to Nature, G.C. Tobler, 1782