Alongside Beans

by Alice Oswald

weeding alongside beans in the same rush as them

6 a.m. scrabbling at the earth

beans synchronised in rows
soft fanatical irresponsible beans
behind my back
breaking out of their mass grave

at first, just a rolled up flag
then a bayonet a pair of clapping hands

then a shocked corpse hurrying up in prayer
and then another

and then (as if a lock had gone and the Spring had broken loose)
a hoverfly

not looking up but lost in pause
landing its full-stop
on a bean leaf

(and what a stomach bursting from its clips
what a nervous readiness attached to its lament and
using the sound as a guard rail over the drop)

and then another

and after a while a flower
turning its head to the side like a bored emperor

and after a while a flower

singing out a faint line of scent
and spinning around the same obsession with its task
and working with the same bewitched slightly off-hand look as the sea

covering first one place
and then another

and after a while another

and then another

and then another place

and then another

Last updated October 27, 2022