Broad bean fever


Next season I’m going to grow twenty times more broad beans. Beaker303 has hay fever and is limiting about a zillion foods. This morning I made him smashed broad beans with olive oil, lemon juice and parsley on sourdough… yum. I sat and shelled an armful in the sunshine… 30 degrees today! …. and had enough to freeze a few bags but I’m still unhappy as I wanted a freezer full for winter. I’m so obsessed I even dreamt about a zombie invasion … we barricaded the house but I was quite pleased I had a sunny courtyard in my dream apartment for growing dream broad beans.

I leave you with this poem by Les Murray. Go have a cold wine in the bean patch while the sun goes down and you’ll see what I mean.

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 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 shirtfulls 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.


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