What the Gardener Knows, by Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith

The gardener snips the border hedge
Even, precise
As the owner has instructed
The frame of green now uniform
As he stands and stares
At the geometric path
Behind him

He is not a lover of precision
Still, he smiles to himself
For he knows that already
On yesterday’s path, blossoms,
A profusion of pink and draping blue
Escape over the flat top
Of the border hedge

He leaves the formal paths
Descends the hill on ancient
Stone steps
Each footfall echoing tradition
Approaches the wilder beds
Whose borders are only
The taller, unruly flowering stalks

Here he pauses for a think
A stalk of hollyhock blossoms
The pale pink of an eggshell
Arrests his gaze
The thick stem leans out
At an angle that would never be allowed
In the formal garden
The flower begs to be noticed
A rebel among its obedient sisters
And he smiles broadly now
As he passes by without trimming

The gardener knows
He is the shaper of order from chaos
That he takes his instructions from the owner
But his spirit feels the deeper truth
That no matter how diligent his shears
The plants take their instructions
From nature herself
And the natural will always
Win over the geometric.

And the natural order
Will always outrank
The instructions of man.

The gardener knows
That no matter how powerful
Is the owner of the garden
His hedges and flowers
Will do as nature bids them
Once he and his clippers move on
The gardener saves his admiration
For the power of nature
Over the power of any man.

2 thoughts on “What the Gardener Knows, by Brenda Smith

    • Again, Brenda, thank you. It was inspired by a visit to a formal and less formal (on down the hill) castle garden in Ireland.

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