Jennifer Compton

Jennifer Compton lives in Melbourne and is a poet and playwright who also writes prose. Her 11th book of poetry, the moment, taken was published by Recent Work Press in 2021.


An Abandonment

I had done everything I could do within reason
­  ­   ­  ­   for the ragged rows of broad beans,
their juices were often thick on my fingers

­  ­   ­  ­   from their first unfurling in mid winter
to the pinching out of the growing tips,
­  ­   ­  ­   their binding to a stake in late spring.

And then the harvest, soon the harvest done,
­  ­   ­  ­   and I had brushed through their ranks,
turned hands of leaves upside down,

­  ­   ­  ­   bent for a better view of their private quarters,
against the sun, the way it is when picking,
­  ­   ­  ­   nobody likes the low sun full in their eyes.

Their business at an end, I wrenched them from the earth,
­  ­   ­  ­   laid their lanky stems one upon another,
did not regret their wilting sigh, their quick dying breath.

­  ­   ­  ­   And clouds and clouds and clouds of ladybirds
crept out from the interstices, showed themselves, and flew.
­  ­   ­  ­   It was the very opposite of a plague,

because ladybirds do good work, no doubt about it,
­  ­   ­  ­   but it was very like that sort of thing.
And more and more and more, and then more, a wonder.

­  ­   ­  ­   They had kept themselves to themselves until
an acrid scent, or an orientation to the sun, or a sudden
­  ­   ­  ­   knowledge underfoot of sap not rising,

lifted them into an urgency of leaving.