School Harvest Festival


I’d bought a tin of baked beans, Heinz, the good ones.
In later years when Mom went on an experimental cooking streak
they would be replaced with a bag of pasta shapes,
but this year as it was last year I’d bought baked beans.
I lined up in the assembly hall with the rest of my class
and when I got to the front avoided the Headmasters eye,
trying instead to shove my beans to the back of the harvest display.
Cag-handed I knocked over Jason Spruce’s harvest basket
– an immense donation, rumour had it his mom hand made the basket –
Anyway his home grown apples bounced wildly across the floor
and his packet of Alpen split wide open.
The harvest festival was briefly delayed as the caretaker
threw down some chemical sawdust,
– the kind he usually saved for when kids had been sick –
and set to work with his trusty mop and bucket.
As I sat shame faced I could feel Jason Spruce and his family’s eyes
burn into the back of my neck I noticed the harvest display
was full of tins of baked beans.
A proud green tinned army, some dented
victims of playground fights some with
faded labels where they had been found at the back of dark cupboards.
There were baked beans and plenty of them,
plus in support a scattering of spaghetti hoops.
When we filed out to go back to class an old lady
from the home the school supported whispered to me.
“We all hate Alpen and those apples are always sour.
We like the beans though, especially on toast.”
I wanted to smile but as inevitable as the dark nights
that were drawing in a fight was coming with Jason Spruce
and I needed to keep my wits about me.

3 thoughts on “School Harvest Festival

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s