Penn Kemp | London, ON | LCP member since 1973

Fare Trade

I would eat local food only were it not for temptation.
A green invitation of open avocado in emerald halves.
An alluring variety of mango hot to eye, cool to tongue.

The seduction of dark chocolate.
The slurped fulfilment in oyster.
The simple necessity of rice.

Otherwise, I would be content with my yard’s fall produce.
But having tasted the world’s fare, how to return unjaded
to simple pleasures that this ground offers?  Beans.

Corn.  Squash.  Corn.  Beans.  The three sisters thrive.

Yes, I will eat local food mostly.  Except for.  Accept.  Except…

No one claims carrots for their own.  But banana.  Or chocolate.  No
chicory compares to café au lait.  ¡Ole!  Import coffee; import tea!

Import taunt!  On to political rant:  our food too cheap,
our farmers ruined.  Fair trade!  Fair tirade!

Our eyes closed, we rest easy, spoiled ripe fruit in the docks,
turning sleepy to sun-rotten.  Given so much, we reach for more

even when over full.  Poems break off as the lunch bell rings.

* * *
London’s first Poet Laureate, Penn Kemp, has published twenty-five books of poetry and drama, had six plays and ten CDs produced as well as several award-winning videopoems.  Last year, Penn was Writer-in-Residence at UWO.  Gathering Voices, her literary radio show is archived on  Muse/news is updated monthly on

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3 Responses to Penn Kemp | London, ON | LCP member since 1973

  1. I’m seduced by the avocado and that delectable chocolate, but consumed with a desire for fareness too. This dilemma haunts us in these haunting lines!

  2. Penn Kemp says:

    Thanks, Susan! May we all be consumed by fairness:) !

  3. Kim Goldberg says:

    Yum! Gotta go make a guacamole now. 😉

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