Gardeners at work in walled garden. Engraving from Thomas Mawe and John Abercrombie, The complete gardener Date: 1776

To a dedicated groundsman


Up each day before six.

A stick insect with a fag in his face.

Taking coffee on his balcony

under spring sunrises 

when weather permits.

A lighthouse in reverse

soaking up the light on his domain.

Not one blade of grass overlooked.


With a face like Herman Munster

on a good day, he descends stairs

with a regular meter.

Like an ancient grandfather clock.


Striding across fresh cut grass

his matchstick legs look ready to crack.

He is Ox-strong – fragility unseen.

The outside world his saviour.

Flowers and trees his universe.


A daytime workshop revealed

behind an open garage door.

King of someone else’s castle.

Down in the flowerbeds dirty-rascals.

Weeds ripped and hoed to oblivion

never stand a chance.

But Brer Rabbits are always welcome.


The sun goes down after a day

always the same

because it’s always different.

The cave is closed.

A thousand jobs completed

the cats are called.  

© Guaj 2023
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Alex… from Alexander (a name that is Greek 100 percent, and means alex-andros he who keeps men away, like the other greek word alexikeravno what you know as lightning rod – an invincible name it’s always considered by some and by me a rather unfortunate name for girl alexandra)

this a very well constructed poem, had to google the rabbits and the name,

always the same
because it’s always different.

could work as always different although it’s always the same which is more tragic, as if Alex keeps new days away.

publishable work, well done!


This poem is excellent Guaj; your use of language is sublime: ‘A stick insect with a fag in his face’ – perfect evocation. Definitely worthy of a nib in my humble opinion.


I loved this poem. It caught that type of dying breed. The work ethic running through his bones and the total dedication and love for his tasks. The line that did it for me was “King of someone else’s castle’ That moved me deeply. A very insightful and bitter-sweet poem with some humour thrown in for good measure. I feel a better title would give the poem more oomph. To me a title is almost as important as the body of work. You want it to be unforgettable and although I shall remember so many bits of this I would… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by stormwolf

This is really a well thought out and constructed piece in my opinion. Well penned, my friend. It inspires nostalgic thought inside my mind – remembering dedicated people who crossed my path in passed times: Skilled craftspeople who plied their tasks for a completely different kind of remuneration than is the norm today.


Last edited 1 year ago by griffonner

Absolutely no problem!

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