green beans
Seed Guardian
by Kim Whysall-Hammond

I joke that he is now a bean counter
as, indeed, he kneels to count his beans
small white capsules of DNA
strung up on life-giving proteins

He needs to send a minimum of two hundred
to a seed bank upcountry, for these beans are rare
a variety that may die out soon if not cherished
grown, saved, stored

A variety that may feed us when times are hard
but only if we keep it, saving for a rainy day

PAINTING: Green Beans by Claudia Bianchi. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My husband and I are both keen gardeners and grow much of our own vegetables and fruit. This year, my husband has become a Seed Guardian for the UK Heritage Seed Library, saving seed from a rare variety of French beans that will became part of their stock. Different crop varieties have different strengths. As our climate changes, the usual varieties are more likely to fail us. We need seed guardians, and I am proud of him.

Kim Whysall-Hammond 8

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kim Whysall-Hammond grew up in London but now lives where the skies are much darker. She has worked in Climate Research and in Telecommunications. Her literary poetry has appeared in Alchemy Spoon, North of Oxford, Allegro, Marble Poetry, Blue Nib, Total Eclipse, Snakeskin, Amaryllis, Amsterdam Quarterly, American Diversity Report, Littoral, Crannóg, and other publications. Her speculative poetry has been published by Kaleidotrope, On Spec, Star*Line, Andromeda Spaceways, The Future Fire, Utopia Science Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, Sciencefictionery, and Frozen Wavelets. Her poems have appeared in anthologies published by Wild Pressed Books, Milk and Cake Press, and Palewell Press. She also shares poems at