Invited by the Colorado Poets Center folks (if you publish poetry, register yourself here http://coloradopoetscenter.org and meet the welcoming Beth Franklin among many others) to join other poets presenting poems involving bees at Art Bar and Gallery, I thought about many bee cliches as in the 18th century poem “How Doth the Busy Little Bee” (Wyatt) and chose to resist those tropes. Ever noticed how we think all members of a species look alike until we finally pay attention? Ever notice how we sometimes project our own values onto non-humans (in that case, untiring industriousness)? One result of that projection is the current practice of forcing the labor of bee colonies. This isn’t a great poem, but a poem for the occasion. coloradopoetscenter.org
Against Wyatt’s How doth the little busy Bee 1715
We have seen in the bee ourselves unresting,
our busy buzzing with business. We proclaim
hurrah workers! what helpers! what devoted underlings
to the Queen! And: poor drones, so strictly directed.
If we have a day of rest we watch you unresting,
clones, droids, tools. Stop. See now your trade in sweet beauty,
your stripey variations from wobbly to wide,
from black to brown and golden, or green;
how each wing’s gossamer net spreads, arresting in
your singular beauty, and how each of you is beautiful
in humming, beautiful in interpetive dances,
beautiful with your semaphores of fluorescence,
each bee sky writing beautiful important arresting
poetry while your hive watches with their blazing dark eyes.