San Francisco
San Francisco
San Francisco Art@Site Seyed Alavi Speaking Stones

Seyed Alavi


Speaking Stones

Richmond Recreation Center
Happy is the moment,
When we sit together,
With two forms,
Two faces,
Yet one soul.
You and I
The flowers will bloom forever
The birds will sing their eternal song,
The moment we enter the garden You and I.
Poem carved into the sidewalk by the entrance at 18th Avenue.

Yesterday they were crimson on the branch,
So fresh
That they stained my fingers at a touch.
This morning I searched for them in vain.
For they had already vanished
And lay
At the bottom of the pool.
You and I; Jalal-Ud-Din Rumi, 1207-1273, Persian
Poem cast into the seat wall.

Hours are leaves of life and I am their gardener ...
Each hour falls down slow.
Fleeting Blossoms; Hsu Fu, 11th Century, Chinese
Poem carved onto a boulder.

Sunshine feels like wishes for hopes,
that promise and dance to the music that comes,
to hopes that hear the sound of whispers.
Poetry is like imagination. Like music to your heart.
Susan Morrison, Age 11
Poem in the lobby.

All hopes - all distance and nearness
Enclosed in one big circle.
Tanisha Miller, 1995 Lafayette Elementrary School, S.F.
Poem carved into the sidewalk by the entrance at 19th Avenue.

A leaf crashes gently to the ground
A cricket lands lightly on it
And tunes itself for a song.
Zinaida Gippius, 1869-1945, Russian
Poem carved onto a boulder.
Throughout the park is poetry cast into concrete benches and carved into stones.
The artist, Seyed Alavi titled this piece Speaking Stones. It was to be a poetry garden with metaphors for health, contentment and community.
Seyed Alavi received a Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University and a Masters of Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. Alavi’s work is often engaged with the poetics of language and space and their power to shape reality.
The various concrete benches read from left to right:
They stained my fingers at a touch. They were crimson yesterday on the branch. So fresh that this morning I searched for them in vain. For they had already vanished and fell to the bottom of the pool.
Seyed Alavi, 'Speaking Stones'; A garden for the Richmond Community Center, San Francisco, CA; Stones, Pavers, Cast concrete, Text, Cast bronze plaque, and other landscaping materials; 30' x 150'
This project consisted of selecting specific landscaping materials such as trees, herbs and tree grates as well as designing the overall plan of the garden, the path and individual areas in order to create a meaningful environment for the local community. Meandering along the path, through the garden and in the lobby of the Community Center, one encounters lines of poetry carved into rocks, seat walls, walkways and floors. In the center of the lobby is a bronze medallion containing the single word "Hope". From this central disk, a series of concentric circles radiate out into the garden. The seat walls outside, curve along the same radius. On either side of the street entrances to the courtyard are two 10 foot diameter colored octagons that are inspired by the Bagwa mirror used in Fung Shui. In the center of each octagon is a 3-ft circle of blue pavers laid in concentric rings.