Incident in a Rose Garden
A Persian Nobleman:
This morning, my gardener, deathly pale,
Rushed in for a moment to tell me his tale.
“While tending your rosebed and pruning with care,
I glanced o’er my shoulder and saw Death standing there.
Shaking with fear, to the woods I did flee,
But Death’s hand still beckoned, threatening me.
Master, O Master, pray lend me your steed.
To old Isfahan I must ride at full speed!”
His wish long since granted, ‘neath my cedars I strolled.
I too met the Reaper and my blood ran cold.
He stood there in silence, so I asked him to say
Why he’d threatened my gardener earlier that day.
Smiling he answered: “Your gardener took fright,
But it wasn’t my threat that prompted his flight.
It amazed me to meet in your garden the man
Whom I planned to fetch later in old Isfahan!”
Translation by Sheila McNab, 2007