Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bees Beeing

Dean and I had a good time at the Bradner Plant sale yesterday. It was a cool and cloudy day, unseasonable even for Seattle. But it was good to see so many friends and neighbors there! We are so lucky to live next door to such a wonderful pea-patch garden. We picked out a few heirloom tomatoes -- Black Zebra, Green Zebra, Mr. Stripey -- and also a few perennials for the shade garden. Had coffee and snacks and chit chatted.

And today, the bees are coming! The bees are coming! There are several bee boxes being set up in the park, in their own little bee house, and I think today is when the queen arrives.

It makes me think of Sylvia Plath and her bee poems:

The Arrival of the Bee Box

I ordered this, clean wood box
Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget
Or a square baby
Were there not such a din in it.

The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight
And I can't keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.

I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark,
With the swarmy feeling of African hands
Minute and shrunk for export,
Black on black, angrily clambering.

How can I let them out?
It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob,
Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
And the petticoats of the cherry.

They might ignore me immediately
In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey
So why should they turn on me?
Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

The box is only temporary.



Joannie said...

Wow! What a poem.

And hooray for the bees. How exciting!

Jeannine Hall Gailey said...

Green zebras are the best heirloom tomatoes ever! Esp. with a little lemon olive oil...

Peter said...

Hi JK and JHG
The bees are pretty amazing. It sent me back to reading all of Plath's bee poems again. They hold up well.