The Salad Bag

I’m singing this rag for all of you –
you’ve got friends in a Salad Bag
come on by for the Salad Bag Rag.

We look fresh for up to 10 days
breathing CO2/O2/CO2/O2
shimmying in green, tempting green
fuelled by insecticides
herbicides, fungicides
washed in chlorinated water.

Hey you growers
gloating over your plantation
look and see the polytunnels
burrowing and wasteful
maggots in the dark earth,
your green gold mine.

Migrant workers with a rattling purse
back wrecked, worried about next year, next month
cutting, sorting, silently crying
finger prints shining on every leaf.

I’m singing this rag for all of you –
you’ve got friends in a Salad Bag
head on down for the Salad Bag Rag.

We’re a rag tag
know what’s in this bag?
this damp and wilting Salad Bag?

Spinach, rocket, watercress
iceberg, cos and endive
radiccio, chard, escarole,
and peashoots that wind
till our green blood spills.

There’s still a little pleasure,
with frilly frou frou lettuce
bright green rouched and ruffled
will Can-Can on the spot…

But Purslane, Purslane
these salad days
you trail around our stems
with your loosening sari
our veins still shudder
with the memory of nitrates…

Now here’s a thing
‘fresh and naked little leaves
grown outside – not washed – might bruise them’
only 3 to 5 days
before the wilt sets in

and a greeny-brown frog
bagged in California
cute and disturbing
became a household pet.

We’re a rag tag group
have a rag tag time
thrown out of Eden
crushed but laughing.