Bees, why bees, Dr. B? You’ve given us shows of moles and bats and hats and coots, roosters, birds, foxes, bears, butterflies, and even worms! How low can you go? You’ve had us walking, on our knees, falling from the sky and down stairs, lying in a hammock, slowed down to and swinging with revelation.What can be said about the plain old butter-knife bee? We’re into lyric, epic, ode, the quirky manic Bernstein, Stern, Williams, and Gregg, remember? I know you are!
Well, I’ll tell you, and thank you for asking. Because one of you, our evolved listeners, in this airspace hive of ours, wrote to me on Facebook to support a petition drive on behalf of bees, who are in peril—and so for earth alerts, all of us in this together, I’m like the elephant hearing a cry across the plains, and I’m on my thumping way; the way I see it, in the alphabet of ecology we are losing our b, and where would we be without B, not only Plan B and b-eer, and existential ontological philosophical be-ing, but as bees go, so go we, and I immediately volunteered our worldwide cadre of poets for the cause, to rouse our attention to the flight of the bumblebee, the plight of the bumblebee, to wax poetic and wave the flag for bee preservation. We’ll hear what all the buzz is about, so bee ready. Emily Dickinson (you knew that), John Muir (you knew that too!), I was thinking of Sylvia Plath, her father a professor on bees, her midwife teaching her to keep bees, and her breakthrough poems on bees the last week of her life, which she felt finally demonstrated her genius, and empowered her for her last great Ariel poems—what did bees mean to her as a woman poet? And W.B. Yeats, his “bee loud glade,” from The Lake Isle of Innisfree, “Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee . . . And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow” –of course Plath had to live in Yeats’ house… then Antonio Machado, Pablo Neruda, and Shakespeare and Victor Hugo and then a symphony of poets in the recent Cider Press Review Volume 13, that has a . . . are you ready: I “happened” to take this with me on the train last week, perhaps the orange on the cover grabbed my ever pumpkin lovin eye, and what is in the center? A bee. Opening the book I see bee poem, one after another.
And E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, A.A. Milne, author of Winnie thePooh, Lewis Carroll’s zany mathetical romp in Alice in Wonderland, Leonardo da Vinci, really all your faves–Maybe, just may-bee, poetry once more into the fray can save the day, and help preserve bees (and us). Poetry has saved trees, so why not bees?! So! we’ll probe the life that bees and poets share, from stings to honey to mating in the air, to locator dancing, the poem a dance by which we can find our way home, or to the nearest nectar, so let’s get flying! We’ll begin with vibrationous, kissy-face bee poem history (what can be shared on air) and a theory that honey may have been the first metaphor for love exciting the imaginations of our brains into analogic thinking. We’ll hear about bee behavior and speculate what it may be about bees that makes poets identify with them in the creative process. We’ll discuss in depth the ways Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson conceive the bee in their own creativity, and recite in full E.B. White cheering on Queen Bee in-air behavior with drones (“whatever drone I encounter”). Hopefully our bee poetry will be a dance by which you can find your way home to your own hive, or at least to other nectar, and may-bee you will be inspired to help save bees from neonics —we’ll hear what’s at stake. Thank you for joining me in our hive hood humming. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or see our Facebook, and know that you are the bees knees.
© Barbara Mossberg 2012