I didn't pull up the broadbeans this year. Hurray for disorganisation, for, thanks to it, we now have a second crop:
|"On the side Bayonne ham, with the best celeriac remoulade, crunchy, sleek and as potent with the sting of mustard as a Wilfred Owen lament"|
Anyway, as I was saying: broad beans - I am a fan. I am also a fan of Les Murray. Therefore, I cannot help but love this poem of his, which was published in his collection called Lunch & Counter Lunch (a title with a particular resonance for Australian readers as the lunch you can buy at a pub is usually described as a 'counter lunch':
The Broad Bean Sermon
Beanstalks, in any breeze, are a slack church parade
without belief, saying trespass against us in unison,
recruits in mint Air Force dacron, with unbuttoned leaves.
Upright with water like men, square in stem-section
they grow to great lengths, drink rain, keel over all ways,
kink down and grow up afresh, with proffered new greenstuff.
Above the cat-and-mouse floor of a thin bean forest
snails hang rapt in their food, ants hurry through Escher's three worlds,
spiders tense and sag like little black flags in their cordage.
Going out to pick beans with the sun high as fence-tops, you find
plenty, and fetch them. An hour or a cloud later
you find shirfulls more. At every hour of daylight
appear more that you missed: ripe, knobbly ones, fleshy-sided,
thin-straight, thin-crescent, frown-shaped, bird-shouldered, boat-keeled ones,
beans knuckled and single-bulged, minute green dolphins at suck,
beans upright like lecturing, outstretched like blessing fingers
in the incident light, and more still, oblique to your notice
that the noon glare or cloud-light or afternoon slants will uncover
till you ask yourself Could I have overlooked so many, or
do they form in an hour? unfolding into reality
like templates for subtly broad grins, like unique caught expressions,
like edible meanings, each sealed around with a string
and affixed to its moment, an unceasing colloquial assembly,
the portly, the stiff, and those lolling in pointed green slippers ...
Wondering who'll take the spare bagfulls, you grin with happiness
- it is your health - you vow to pick them all
even the last few, weeks off yet, misshapen as toes.