No-one’s lived here for more than a yearthe garden’s gone wild and overgrown
so I tell the gardener to trim it clear
I want the shrubs tidied, the grasses mown.
He brings his step ladder and pruning shearsand gets to work on the plants and the lawn;
the trim takes him a couple hours or near
and then it’s done - the wilderness’s gone.
He calls me at the last and I’m aghast,“My god! my brother, what have you done?”
“But this madame is what you yourself asked!
How else can I tidy up a garden?”
“This is not what I want, in two hours pastyou’ve trimmed off the plumes, the flowers, not one
remains on the plants, it’s just leaves and grass
just bare branches, only green and barren.”
The birds too are hushed, he stands there non-plussedtill my ire’s spent, says in an even tone,
“don’t worry, they grow back, but you must
decide how green you want your garden grown.”
He stands there and smiles, “leave it a bit wildand there’ll be flowers in all colours and tones;
but if you want it neat, then get reconciled
to the idea of shades of green alone.
“Pruned neat and square, it will always be bareyou see, madame, the buds are often borne
at the tip of shoots and they must bloom there,
and the grass loses its plumes if it’s mown.”
I look at his wise face, and the spruced up placeand though I have been slow, it at last dawns -
the lesson he has taught with such careless grace
with a pair of pruning shears, and a wordless lawn.