A Monk In The Garden



Upon rising
& pulling away
curtains of slumber
to the finer points of morning,
in the garden below

I can’t be sure,
but there appears
to be a Buddhist monk
curtsying to flowers
beckoning from their beds…

Gathering the ruby folds
of an oversized gown,
the monk waves
to gypsy moths
with the flash of a golden cuff,

before carefully collecting
fresh compost
to cover the stench
of nocturnal beasts,
who occasionally live alongside…

Lest they return,
the black box of decay
is always re-sealed,
protected by the instrument
of calm and controlled routine.

And when the afternoon jay
comes to feed on berries
ripened by the sparkle of dew,
it will be okay,
for here, there is enough for everyone.

Yellow nodes on stems
mean more are coming,
patience will be rewarded
and for the promise of fruit
penance will be pressed

for tannins of knowledge
and seeds that may have fallen,
in far away countries
where forests have grown
from secrets long since departed…

And though they have yet to find a use,
mulberries, near a female pine
have blackened with age
and the monk muses and readies
to learn what might be offered at this later stage of life.

While the silent matriarch is picked
of needles and buds,
that will not become cones,
they are instead brought inside
as instructed by Elders,

her parts to be boiled,
and left to stand until cool
and the house is overcome by evergreen
while feet are placed to soak,
in the resinous broth of Ancients.

For these are tired limbs
of both pine and monk.
She will soothe swelling
while the other prunes,
uttering symbiotic stanzas by sunlight,

bringing back feeling
to nerves damaged
long ago by Man
and by the treatment
of the white Man’s disease…

It is only when I venture
down from my lair,
and my lungs are opened
by an antiseptic aroma
and my senses overcome by iodine,

that I realize
the bright linen robe
adorning the bald figure before me
belongs to no monk, but to the Matriarch,
Margaret, my Mother,

…cancer survivor…

Click play to listen.
1. Monk In The Garden audio     

Peter GW Sumadh

August – 2011 to August 2012