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.
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.