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
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,
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 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.
- “Making Darkness Light: The Lives and Times of John Milton” by Joe Moshenska - June 21, 2022
- Poets and Poems: Paul Mariani and “All That Will Be New” - June 14, 2022
- Discovered in the Bodleian: “The Lost Tales of Sir Galahad” - June 7, 2022