Pollinators and poems


“. . . some have said

that a share of divine intelligence is in bees,

and a draught of aether: since there is a god in everything,

earth and the expanse of sea and the sky’s depths:

from this source the flocks and herds, men, and every species

of creature, each derive their little life, at birth:

to it surely all then return, and dissolved, are remade,

and there is no room for death, but still living

they fly to the ranks of the stars, and climb the high heavens.”

Virgil was right. From Mantua, where he was born, to Dawyck where I write, bees are celebrated in poetry. They might be said to pollinate poems which are like plants awaiting fertilisation.

Sadly in decline, wild bees’ names make a lament for things half perceived, half remembered:

mountain humblebee

carder bee

leaf cutter bee

red mason bee

tawny miner bee

bryony bee

hairy footed flower bee

red horned nomad

like poems, they come in season and depart.




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