We are bees, and our body is a honeycomb.
We made the body, cell by cell we made it.
– Rumi (1207-1273)
Today is World Bee Day. On this day in 1734, Anton Janša was born in Carniola (now part of Slovenia). He was a painter, author, and a pioneer in beekeeping, who wrote A Full guide to Beekeeping and Discussion on Beekeeping
There is an ongoing global decline in honeybees. I was going to begin with a round-up of the facts and statistics on this crisis, but they depressed me so much, I decided no one should have to start their Monday morning reading them.
So let’s just celebrate all 20,000 species of bees, even though most of them don’t make honey, or dance. In the U.S. alone, there are over 4,000 species of native bees, but the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is an immigrant from Europe.
To read the bee poems. click
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” from The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats – Scribner Revised Edition 1996
The Bee Carol
by Carol Ann Duffy (1955- )
Silently on Christmas Eve,
the turn of midnight’s key;
all the garden locked in ice —
a silver frieze —
except the winter cluster of the bees.
Flightless now and shivering,
around their Queen they cling;
every bee a gift of heat;
she will not freeze
within the winter cluster of the bees.
Bring me for my Christmas gift
a single golden jar;
let me taste the sweetness there,
but honey leave
to feed the winter cluster of the bees.
“The Bee Carol” from The Bees, © 2011 by Carol Ann Duffy – Picador, a division of Macmillan Publishers