Leslie Monsour reads
The Burrowing Bees
in RealAudio format.
I prize the wild and solitary charm
Of their being. They serve no queen and thrive
Without conforming to the ritual and swarm
Of the noisy, honey-brewing hive.
Two weeks ago, the patio gave birth
To mounds of dirt where pavement cracked and lent
A gritty opportunity to sound the earth.
They took a sunny corner of cement
Where heat starts early, lasting all the day.
First five or six, now several dozen zip
Around in admirable disorder; drones relay
In restless idleness, while females slip
Like raindrops in their rocky subdivision,
Encrusted with the bullion of their toil,
And, crouched among them, I rejoice in the precision
With which they hang midair, dissolve in soil.
They growl like dainty bullets, whipping, shooting
Round my feet. I shift to find a spot
Less near the sandy funnels of their brooding cells,
Riddled beneath the fragrant bergamot.
At last, the males, converging, take the floor,
And, ravishing their mates in silvery blazes,
Like frenzied tumbleweeds, they rollick, three and four,
With heads and abdomens in teeming mazes.
Their progeny is their preoccupation;
And time exists to see that life occurs
In sequence: The crucial splicing of a generation,
The fertile spring each larvaed heir ensures.
At dusk, the cooling stones grow still again.
The world depends upon the sleeping bees —
Their chambered hymn, the last clear thought inside God's brain —
Accompanied by distant piano keys.