Stories of the Bees 2: Swan Poems

From bees, our recent Twitter poetry party began to transition to swans (that’s how these things can go). Here are next five poems. All of the prompts were taken from Anne Overstreet’s Delicate Machinery Suspended: Poems.

Stories of the Bees 2


The swans, serene, glide across the water, glass.
The swans, their necks of silk fingered softly,
shimmer their wings frosted by spun sunlight;
drift, leaving a trail of memories;
hiss thundering their wings like horses.

Swans in love

The slick of her neck in the bee-fingered sun
sang of summer, summer sweet as honey,
summer soft as a swan’s neck.
Her hand touched his cygnet ring.

The swan girl picked bees from the air,
rescued the ale boy from a sure gold drowning.
The seventh swan-boy, she loved him best.
Spin me a honey tree; kiss my signet ring,

Ring around a tree, golden dance of honeyed autumn;
ring around a stone thrown in.
The swan grays; the temper of that muscle
in the neck the back a ridge of brokenness.

The leaves turn into the gold of honey;
the afternoons cool with the flutter
of swans’ wings. We are past the season
of milk and honey: the swans sleep.

Forgotten are the swans of summer,
the bees floating through the heat.

A story told

A story told in a tracing of palm against palm,
she combed the nettles from her silken hair;
he combed the honey from the hive, he said
wipe the sting of nettles from my hand.

Wipe the memories too and the shadows
and the sour trace of raveled silk. I try to leave
the rind of summer fermenting into harder months
and dreams that begin on soon-dark afternoons.

Let me trace your palm in silver sunlight,
in golden moonlight; let me trace the lines
that lead to hope and leave behind
the memories trailing paths of grief.

The black cat

There is a black cat at my door,
jingling his collar, telling me
summer is gone, and he’d like
to come inside. The black cat
is not the only thing that tells
of winter’s coming.

And the black swan sang and
the black cat wound her tail
around the silver birch.
The cat is made of black silk,
cut from one special bolt
of cloth, lightening bolt, snap!

Snap! went the birch and
the lines and Snap! went
the taut silk. Winter comes
but first, autumn spills
honeyed sunlight upon
the trees, upon the ground.

Eat my rind

Eat my rinds, too,
there is still some
sweetness left in me.
Even the core has
value. Taste it, spit it
out if you must.

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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *