My transplanted yank is just crazy ’bout haricots verts –
he mastered lingusitic transition from string bean with ease
[as soon as he’d swallowed the Franch names for luscious blue cheese]
but green beans require a labour I’m not keen to bear;
such work is as deadening to wits as is washing the dishes
I’m spoiled – I admit it – although I am nothing near wealthy
I haven’t a car; my apartment is small – but I’m healthy
so, when they’re sold ready to steam, I give in to his wishes…
* * *
In point of fact I couldn’t resist, expensive as they were
perfectly lined up pencil thin leaves of grass
swathed in cellophane – I felt rich just buying them !
But then, removing the wrapping I began to think
of where they’d come from –
somewhere in South America…
How exquisitely they were packaged –
how regal they looked in their shallow black styrofoam tub –
made me want to take special care how I laid them in the steamer …
and then, as I was gently tossing them, still warm, in their vinaigrette
I had a vision of some starvling
across the ocean
earning three cents a day –
the planters, the pickers, the packers ? Poor devils!
* * *
I know that one shouldn’t buy produce that’s shipped on a plane
and I know that the reasons for that have to do with pollution
[so eating stuff locally grown is the simple sollution]
when it comes to ethics, however, grave questions remain –
If the person who streamlined my beans had received fair return
then the price they’d command would be plainly beyond my small means
which is true for tomatoes and salads and much more than beans –
which are sold where the overstuffed priviledged have money to burn.
Is this divine order ? Please tell me what bastard arranged it?
I just can’t help thinking since lunch that fair’s fair and right’s right
Should the world be my oyster – my green bean – because I’m born white?
Whatever – whoever – it’s incumbent upon us to change it.