Rock Hunting with Bashō, Dallas Road, February

by Terry Ann Carter

We start at Mile Zero, a good place

to begin. Park the car and walk down

the few steps to water’s edge.

I’m worried about his sandals

and thatched hat, perhaps

the mendicant monk needs

galoshes and ear muffs

bright-coloured mitts.

There will be tales from his island

and a begging bowl, I tell him

not to worry: we’ve got Barb’s

Fish and Chips, the Empress Hotel.

In Beacon Hill Park, Bashō points

to leaf-scatter, the lone crow

on a bare branch. Soon we are gazing

at the horizon, waiting for a haiku

to come. From somewhere.


I watch the master throw his gaze

to the mountains across the Strait.

Is he longing for sacred Fuji?

Is he homesick?

I decide on some beach yoga

to calm ourselves. We stretch

legs into sand, raise arms up

over our heads. Look, he says,

the white underbellies of gulls.

The world around us one colour.

The great teacher looks down.

Finds a peach pit, embedded

in driftwood. A constellation

imprinted here. Yes, he winks

I love to write about rocks.

He faces the darkening sky:

loneliness, he says, with a changed

expression, when the cicada’s cry

pierces stone. Wax on, wax off, I think.

It’s time to warm up, stop

for green tea. Silk Roads

is right up the street.

Previously unpublished. Shared here with the poet’s permission.