Bashō's Road

to the small poem and the quiet voice within

john bennett | a japanese gardener

There’s this
Japanese gardener
who looks 40
but is
probably 60.

He’s less than
five feet tall &
looks so
Japanese he’s like
the essence of
Japanese.

He drives a
rusted 50s pickup
loaded with
tools &
garden trimmings.

I clean windows
for a customer who
last time
I was out there
asked
if I knew a
good gardener.
Then yesterday
I saw the
Japanese gardener
in my
rear-view mirror,
loading his
tools on the
far side of a
grass divide.
I got out of
my van &
walked over,
told him about
the people
in need of
a gardener.

“I don’t take
new customers,”
he said in a
soft refined voice.
“I have
regular customers,
and if I were to
take on more,
it would
detract from
the quality of
my work.
But thanks
for asking.”

He smiled.
“You’re the
window cleaner,”
he said.

“Yes,” I said.

“The window
cleaner & the
gardener,”
he said, &
still smiling,
climbed into
his truck &
drove away.

1 Comment

  1. andrew campbell

    October 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    lovely poem.
    always a treat to meet contented, self-contained folks who are there.
    your suzuki story, also a treat.
    nine bows!

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