By Ashlee

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of poems by Sylvia Plath, who was the daughter of an expert on bees.  She wrote a few poems on the topic (one of which is included here), and I too have been fascinated by these amazing creatures, which led me to write this poem. 

“For the Bees”bee

I walk into the swarm
Of bees, whirring
Their entire bodies
Give the air electricity

My skin holds tremors
Yellow blinds while
Black bites
Faint and pinching

While the space between
My stomach and my throat
Fills with itching and sudden
White panic

I won’t let it escape
Or I will create a commotion
That will end with wounds
Red and full

So I remain stormless
As the syrupy wax
Lures my taste
Jar in hand

The queen bee feeds me
Fills me with her work
And I bow to her
And live like her
Demanding respect
For my golden honey

Companion Poem:  “The Beekeeper’s Daughter” by Sylvia Plath

A garden of mouthings. Purple, scarlet-speckled, black
The great corollas dilate, peeling back their silks.
Their musk encroaches, circle after circle,
A well of scents almost too dense to breathe in.
Hieratical in your frock coat, maestro of the bees,
You move among the many-breasted hives,

My heart under your foot, sister of a stone.

Trumpet-throats open to the beaks of birds.
The Golden Rain Tree drips its powders down.
In these little boudoirs streaked with orange and red
The anthers nod their heads, potent as kings
To father dynasties. The air is rich.
Here is a queenship no mother can contest —

A fruit that’s death to taste: dark flesh, dark parings.

In burrows narrow as a finger, solitary bees
Keep house among the grasses. Kneeling down
I set my eyes to a hole-mouth and meet an eye
Round, green, disconsolate as a tear.
Father, bridegroom, in this Easter egg
Under the coronal of sugar roses

The queen bee marries the winter of your year.