Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another poem

I "did" the bees today. That meant a quick peek through two hives, to check that they were still queenright and to see if they needed more room for honey storage. Yes, and no, respectively. Then I visited my "special" hive. This one has had and not had queens all spring.

I didn't see a queen, nor did they begin a new one from a frame of eggs I'd given them, but they neatly capped that frame to rear the babies, and I found eggs, larvae, and pupae down in the lower portions of the hive. I mixed up the boxes a bit to consolidate brood, and figured I'd let them "bee."


I've seen bees all over the yard lately. The oregano and lavender out front are covered with blossoms and bees, and the squash plants seem to sport big blooms with bees rolling in and staggering drunkenly out of them, coated in pollen.

To celebrate, another poem, this one by Pablo Neruda, about whom I need to learn more, obviously! To all of us who dirty our hands to create what we do.

Sweetness, Always

"Why such harsh machinery?
Why, to write down the stuff and people of everyday,
must poems be dressed up in gold,
or in old and fearful stone?

I want verses of felt or feather which scarcely weigh,
mild verses
with the intimacy of beds
where people have loved and dreamed.
I want poems stained
by hands and everydayness.

Verses of pastry which melt
into milk and sugar in the mouth,
air and water to drink,
the bites and kisses of love.
I long for eatable sonnets,
poems of honey and flour.

Vanity keeps prodding us
to lift ourselves skyward
or to make deep and useless
tunnels underground.
So we forget the joyous
love-needs of our bodies.
We forget about pastries.
We are not feeding the world.

In Madras a long time since,
I saw a sugary pyramid,
a tower of confectionery -
one level after another,
and in the construction, rubies,
and other blushing delights,
medieval and yellow.

Someone dirtied his hands
to cook up so much sweetness.

Brother poets from here
and there, from earth and sky,
from Medellin, from Veracruz,
Abyssinia, Antofagasta,
do you know the recipe for honeycombs?

Let's forget about all that stone.

Let your poetry fill up
the equinoctial pastry shop
our mouths long to devour -
all the children's mouths
and the poor adults' also.
Don't go on without seeing,
relishing, understanding
all these hearts of sugar.

Don't be afraid of sweetness.

With or without us,
sweetness will go on living
and is infinitely alive,
forever being revived,
for it's in a man's mouth,
whether he's eating or singing,
that sweetness has its place.


Ribbit said...

Bees are everywhere in literature! They can symbolize advancement, progress, or like the fly for Emily Dickinson, impending death. They carry a dual personae because where there are strong willed, they are physically weak. Keats mentions them in "To Autum" when Autum has fooled the bees into believing it's still summer and I think Shelley used them somewhere in "Prometheus Unbound," but I can't remember where or if I'm just making it up.

Now that I've lost you your entire readership, I'll stop. :)

Bay Area Tendrils said...

Neruda... a brilliant, inspirational (romantic) poet, and one of my favorites! Cheers, Alice

Michelle said...

What a wonderful poem. I wish I had the patience to read more poetry... But I don't, so I'll enjoy such treats as this that come my way. Thanks!

Stefaneener said...

Ribbit, you slay me. Now of course I'm going to have to go poking around. I'm trying very hard not to post a poem every time I do a garden update. Maybe Denise will post soon and save me? Funny, because I don't generally like poetry. . .

Alice, welcome. I'm just starting to discover his poetry. Maybe after I'm done with the hardscape makeover I'll sit out in the garden and read his work!

Michelle, I'll happily provide whatever catches my eye. I don't think poetry is best read -- it's better if you can hear someone read it aloud, which is why I like Writer's Almanac so much.

Now I really have to go do some work!

Susan said...

Scrumptious. I just love "eatable" instead of edible. It is so much more tangible or should I say touchable. We've got to pull out some frames, and check up on our bees as well.

Kim said...

That's a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it.

Heather said...

I am so fascinated by the beekeeping hobby that it intimidates me to no end. I must read up on it this winter.

Kristin said...

You sure have been monitoring your bees more closely than I have this year. I'm overdue in peeking in the hive. Congrats on keeping up all that you do and more.