As I left his old house
He said ‘Go Well’
And handed me
Six white beans,
Each with a black patch,
From his garden.

Introduced by Afrikaner settlers,
It was planted and nurtured
By their African slaves.
It was called ‘Governor’s Beans’,
Because they had to surrender
A portion of each harvest
To their Lord and Master.

I tied my six beans
In a white handkerchief
To keep them dry and safe.
When I got home to my
Family and cottage in the
Mountains of North Wales,
I planted the ‘Governor’s Beans’
Each one in a clay pot
In good compost,
And placed them
On a warm window sill.

They sprouted in spring,
They grew well,
Their stems turning
Brown, their light
Green leaves uncurling,
Producing white flowers,
Promising to become
Dark green pods.

I planted them out
In my little garden
Amongst clumps of
Chiv, thyme and savoury.
They survived the summer storms
Sweeping in from the Irish Sea,
Shooting out more green leaves
In the warm Sun that followed.

Then after one dark
Night in summer,
With no moon
To guide the way,
I found them
Eaten by
A fat Welsh slug.

And that was the end of
My beans,
Given and grown with so
Much care and love
From the foothills of Table Mountain.

Soon after I learned that
The ancient philosopher
Had died at the same time
As his beans,
His body riddled with cancer.

But the slaves are now free
And bow to no Lord or Master.


Peter Marshall

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4 Responses to Beans

    1. Again I have tried to tick the like prompt but it only goes down to 4. Can you check the coding for it. Thanks

      Comment by Liz Ashton Hill on 31 August, 2018 at 4:22 pm
    2. Dear Editor, I am having the same trouble as I had before. When I activate the Like prompt it goes down and not up and then toggles between 4 and 5. It is not an inherent problem with other authors so please can you rectify the problem. At present Peter Marshall’s like prompt seems to be stuck at 5, when clearly others like myself may want to register our enjoyment at reading his poem. This is the second time I have drawn your attention to this.

      Comment by Elizabeth Marshall on 31 August, 2018 at 5:46 pm
    3. Dear Editor , Your interactive appreciation prompt is not working again!

      Comment by Elizabeth Marshall on 31 August, 2018 at 5:50 pm
    4. It may be because IT has been banned from Facebook for a week under their nudity clause (for posting the Delilah Jay – One Breath Away article) so the prompt is not working. Looking into it. Thanks for the heads up.

      Comment by Editor on 1 September, 2018 at 9:11 pm

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