What is the conflict in the Poem "Incident in a Rose Garden"?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conflict in the poem "Incident in the Garden" by David Justice is between Death and the gardener. The gardener runs out of the garden telling his master that he has seen Death within the garden walls. The gardener is quite frightened by the meeting with the tall, thin apparition dressed in black holding his scythe. The gardener explains that he must leave his job because he still has living to do, he wants to see his sons, and travel to California before his time on Earth is over. After explaining all of this to his master, the master enters the garden to confront Death. Death explains to the master that it was not the gardener he came to see. The conflict is resolved when Death explains it was the master he was seeking. The poem highlights the fact that death can come at to anyone at any time.


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