Stories of the Bees: Bee Poems

For our Twitter poetry party, poet Anne Overstreet, author of Delicate Machinery Suspended: Poems, joined us. The prompts all came from her collection. And we got into bees and moons and ants and rosaries and all manner of things. (It was great fun.) The first five poems are below.

Stories of the Bees

Honey-braided shadows

The sun braided shadows in my hair;
the shadows braided memories,
memories of slivered light and
honey-baked hair, honey-combed
highlights in my hair, baking
shadows into nets, catching my heart.

The bumbles braid a choir with honey bees.
It is a silly thing, my fear of bees. So small,
couldn’t really hurt me, right? But the bright
yellow buzz scares. They enter, they leave;
I can never keep track of their unlined path,
this unlined path stretching before my feet.

I’m eager yet afraid to follow the hum
of the bees to the braided sunlight.
The bees rise to braided rows of roses
that for the shivering had not even opened
their eyes. The path I left behind me is lined
with broken pieces, where I jumped too soon.

Bees and yellow jackets

Yellow jackets like nets cast
marked each step. The vibration
of the hive enfolded his hand;
the energy, transferred, traced
red lines in his palm, enfolding
his face, hive-warm, light-combed.
The vibration of the bees enfolded
his heart, the lines in his hands
between heaven and hive.
The lines of bees enter the heart
of the flowers, carrying away
the sweetness. These days are
my hive. This man, with his tongue
heavy with honey, wipes a drop
at the corner of his mouth.
He can never love another.
She will smell my scent on his skin,
where the honey-love stained his flesh.

The song of the bees

The song taken up,
his heart fills, keeping
to the beat of wings,
sending messages
of hope they speak
with dance of wings.
The struck strings
of bee hum the path
of nectar to my mouth.
Honey, I strum.

The Queen arrives

The Queen arrives, her throne embellished
with sticky sweetness of love. In the winter
the Queen sleeps; in Spring she wakes
to blossoms, and swans. The workers rush
to serve; she answers with beating wing.
The hive’s a frenzy in the seasons of blossoms,
the Queen’s guard on watch.
If this is my hive am I the Queen Bee or
just a drone mindlessly working?
I choose to be Queen Bee. I will woo
the worker and feed him my honey soft words.
My love will cling to him like syrup.

Is it so bad to be the mindless drone
gathering nectar from flowers braided
with spun sunlight?

Tiny weavers

Tiny weavers of petaled cloth,
The bees’ rhythms are heard only
by petaled ears. My mind touches
the memory of bees at work.
Mindlessly I trace my memories,
shadows silking an amber past.

Photo by Omer Unlu, Creative Commons, via Flickr. By @mmerubies, @llbarkat, @AnneDOvers, @Jeff_Overstreet, @Doallas, @SandraheskaKing, @lindachontos, @gyoung9751, @poetryinabottle, @rosanneosborne, @togetherforgood, @LoveLifeLitGod, @strangejkp, @quietlybananas, @mrsmetaphor and @dthaase. Edited by @gyoung9751.


  1. L. L. Barkat says

    “The path I left behind me is lined
    with broken pieces, where I jumped too soon.”

    I liked that.

    And also the part about him never being able to love another because her scent would be detectable.

    I love the crazy-wonderful stuff that comes out of these :)

  2. Marcy says

    I’ve always loved the bees, especially the large bumble bee. You can touch them you know, softly, stroke their backs, they won’t sting you. I’ll share below what happened last year.

    An early spring,
    Icy was the day.
    Bumble Bee lay frozen,
    Outside the window it did lay.
    Placed it in my warm gloved hands,
    I begin to pray.
    Softly I stroked it’s tiny body,
    Over and over like music being played.
    Blowing warm breath beside it,
    Soon bee came out of it’s frozen state.
    Placed the bee on warm red bricks,
    That ran the length of the house.
    Bee slowly moved,
    Begin to climb,
    Finally came around.
    With a smile on my lips,
    Walked inside
    Gave myself a thumb’s up.

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