Rock Hunting with Bashō on Dallas Road

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, begin to think

of a book I might make to capture

this auspicious occasion. We stretch

our legs into the 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.

And it’s time to warm up, stop

for green tea. Silk Roads is right

up the street. An imaginary tunnel

book unfolds in front of me: sky,

to driftwood, to cicada, to peach pit.

From First I Fold the Mountain: A Love Letter to Books, Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 2022, pages 26–27.