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The old man and his stone

an old man
seated alone
on his stone bench
invited me
almost invisible
gesticulating with his hand
sit down beside me

we did not say a word
together we just heard
nothing but our silence

he invited me
to take a look in his garden
he took me by my hand
guiding me
through the open gate

he gave me a grand tour
in his Japanese paradise

and wanted to know
if I would be able
to show him
that spot
he was searching for
all his life
so he could also see
all the larger stones
at once

I'll wait
and watch you

I stood
I sat down
I climbed a tree
while being up there
I could see
a smile on his face
expressing understanding grace

I walked around
accompanied
by the sound
of crackling shelves

I can count endlessly
maybe even further

In that serene garden
I could not find the spot
that place where I could see
all his stones
although I learned
during that search
there were fifteen different larger stones

that unknown space
where I see and count
the old man's 15th stone

there I was on my own
still searching

it was late
at last I returned
sat down beside the old man
on the other stone bench

he offered me his silence
and told me with his eyes
that a man or a woman
is wise
when admitting
accepting
a simple fact

you can see
you can count
all the stones
not at once
not on your own


©Ellie Daphne van Stralen 2012

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